Craig Priest writes...
Fixture: Wrexham AFC Vs Mansfield Town FC
Competition: Blue Square Bet Premier – Game #31 [Re-Arranged]
Venue: The Racecourse Ground
Date & Time: Thursday 4th April 2013 – 7.45pm
Match Referee: Darren Handley (Bolton)
Attendance: 4,378 (593)
Let’s be honest, that sensational run wasn’t going to last forever was it? It would have been nice but do you know what I’m realising after last night, sometimes you need incidents and controversy like that to re-focus, on the spin of things last night’s 2-1 at Wrexham has done us no harm – we are still a point behind Kidderminster with games in hand, to those that say it’s over? Get a grip – it’s only just beginning!
To be fair its only a small minority saying we’ve lost it because we’ve lost to a rival side, Paul Cox has the know how to get us through and despite being thrown a few curve balls with the suspensions of John Dempster & Lee Beevers (providing my stats are accurate), will get us back to winning ways.
There was controversy and to be fair, I expected as much, should Luke Jones’ thumping header of stood? Should Wrexham have had a man sent off for the challenge on Lee Beevers? The list goes on – although it’s irrelevant now as the games over, it’s time to pick ourselves up and get back in the race.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall – let’s go and prove it at Barrow tomorrow, stayed tuned for a match preview later on today.
Paul Cox made two changes to the side which thumped Gateshead on Monday, in my opinion it was the wrong call to make however it’s opinion only and as above, we’ll move on. 4-4-1-1 became 4-5-1 to try and stop Wrexham’s 4-3-3 from getting space, although Chapman and Howell did alternate in supporting Green when Stags had the ball. Adam Chapman and Lindon Meikle were handed a recall as Briscoe and Stevenson missed out respectively.
LINE UP [4-5-1]: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers, John Dempster, Luke Jones, Greg Taylor, Lindon Meikle, Adam Chapman, Adam Murray (C), Anthony Howell, Junior Daniel, Matt Green
Substitutes: Ritchie Sutton, Louis Briscoe, Matt Rhead, Ben Hutchinson, Lee Stevenson.
With both sides fighting for the points it was always going to be a nervy yet entertaining fixture, Stags coming close of four minutes following a good break, started but shamefully not finished, by Adam Chapman. The returning midfielder collected the ball inside the centre circle and did well to skip the challenge of Jay Harris before picking Daniel out on the left hand side. Daniel then found space to drill in for Green but saw the ball deflected back into his path, cutting back a second time for the advancing Chapman who scuffed his effort wide.
A minute later it was the hosts turn to test the water as Dean Keates teed up Harris for a short free kick, the Wrexham midfielders effort clattered off the wall before Anthony Charge charged it away.
The pendulum swung between the two sides as they searched for the opener, a deep cross from Adrian Cieslewicz floated harmlessly away for a Stags throw before Chapman fired wide from 25 yards following Matt Green’s cushioned assist from Alan Marriott’s 13th minute goal kick.
Wrexham were then forced into a substitution on 21 minutes as Chris Westwood pulled up injured, seven minutes later a fluent move from right to left, started by substitute Declan Walker saw Johnny Hunt’s low pass thumped narrowly wide by Harris who again tried his luck from distance.
Two minutes later Stags should have netted the opener as Murray stretched the game with an excellent pass to Meikle on the right hand side, the wide man then picked out Chapman who had space inside the area for an acute touch and blast, unfortunately for Stags Chapman got this the wrong way round as he blasted his touch and could only get a tame shot away, which went out for a goal kick without rustling any feathers.
With five to go before the break Stags were close once again as Murray’s cross park ball picked out Daniel. Quick feet from the wide man saw him progress before stroking the ball into the path of Greg Taylor, his dangerous cross palmed onto the bar by Chris Maxwell before Meikle’s pass into the path of the advancing Beevers saw the right back flagged offside.
The final few minutes saw the hosts put on the pressure, however the half time whistle was soon blown and the sides went in level at the break.
HALF TIME: Wrexham 0-0 Stags
Mansfield began the second half terrifically and came close inside the opening two minutes as Adam Chapman fired into the side netting as his corner came back out to him on the right hand side, however it was on 50 minutes when the controversy began.
Adam Chapman hurled in a missile-esc long throw which saw Luke Jones rise above the crowd and nod into the back of the net, after a few seconds of celebration, frustration became evident as the lines-man ruled out Jones’ goal for a non-existent foul.
Three minutes later though the Stags did grab the break though this time from a corner, Chapman clipping in for the impressive Jones whose thunderous effort cannoned off the ball. Numerous boots swung at the ball and eventually it was Green who stabbed in his 20th goal of the season to put Stags into a vital lead.
Alan Marriott then kept Stags in the game with a fine save on 56 minutes as Walker’s deep cross sat perfectly for Danny Wright. The Wrexham leading marksman powerfully headed towards the top corner but was denied by Marriott, not that it mattered as it appeared Dempster had been felled by the big striker.
The much loved Stags keeper was then perhaps at fault for the Wrexham leveller on 68 minutes after Chapman had brought down Keates on the edge of the box. The Wrexham skipper stepped up to curl the free kick over the wall which Marriott held, before spilling over the line and gifting the hosts a leveller.
Wrexham were then in control as Stags threw on Briscoe and Rhead to no avail, the hosts also introduced Glenn Little on 78 minutes. Seconds after his introduction he drove forwards and split the defence with a low pass into the feet of Wright, one on one with Marriott the Wrexham hit man collected another goal as he blasted into the bottom corner to turn the game completely on its head.
It was ever so nearly 3-1 a minute later as Dale Adebola teed up Harris on the edge of the box, his thunderous effort crashed off the underside of the bar but didn’t cross the line, fortunately for Stags who were starting to look shattered.
With nine minutes remaining Matt Green put the ball into the net but was pulled back for fouling ex team mate Martin Riley as the striker danced his way through, Luke Jones also nodded wide from Adam Murray’s excellent corner.
In the final minutes of stoppage time, Wrexham missed a guilt edge chance to seal a third as Joe Clarke charge through the middle before setting up Keates, the midfielder blazing over from ten yards before the full time whistle brought the game to an end.
FULL TIME: Wrexham 2-1 Stags
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