Mansfield Town played out a goalless draw this afternoon at the One Call Stadium, putting in a solid display against a strong Exeter City side as new signings Ollie Palmer and Calvin Andrew impressed there new supporters.
The two front men played together for the first time in a new 5-2-1-2 formation as boss Paul Cox made four changes to the side that lost at Tranmere in midweek. Defender John Dempster took the captains armband as Adam Murray missed out at the expense of Jamie McGuire. John McCombe, Louis Briscoe and Lindon Meikle also missed out as Calvin Andrew, Ritchie Sutton and Martin Riley came in.
Ritchie Sutton rightfully walked away with the man of the match award as several tough challenges helped Mansfield keep their first clean sheet of the new season, meanwhile in attack Andrew looked like the missing creative spark whilst Palmer caused numerous problems for the visiting defenders.
The Stags began brightly and came close in the opening five minutes as Calvin Andrew teed up wing back Lee Beevers on the right hand side, visiting keeper Artur Krysiak kept the Stags full back at bay with a strong claim. At the other end a slip by the returning Martin Riley allowed John O’Flynn to canter into the box, the advancing Grecian was met by a strong challenge from Sutton who put a prompt end to and danger.
Calvin Andrew then looked to make a his mark as he connected with Ollie Palmer’s left sided cross, Grecian gloves man Krysiak however was equal to the former Crystal Palace hit mans effort. Stags kept on the pressure as both Jennings and Howell whipped in crosses, the latter was met bravely by Andrew who could only hit the side netting with nine minutes played.
It was at this point the football took a back seat as the travelling support of 272 all stood and sang loudly in memory of the late Adam Stansfield, a large flag with his famous number nine shirt also sat proudly in the corner of the ground.
The visitors were then forced into a change as Moore-Taylor hobbled off injured, the change made no difference to the game as Mansfield remained in control, coming close through James Jennings and Ollie Palmer, the former Havent and Waterloovile man saw an effort cleared of the line as he connected with Jennings’ 23rd minute corner.
Five minutes later the visitors registered their first effort of the match as David Wheeler tested Marriott from distance, the Stags shot stopper though was untroubled by the long range driven effort.
Marriott again came to Stags rescue as he tipped over a free kick from Wheeler, the Stags ended the half on top – Ollie Palmer came close to breaking the deadlock moments before the half time whistle as he raced down the left hand side to latch onto Dempsters clearance, beaten the on rushing keeper but sending his dipping lob agonisingly into the side netting.
After the break the visitors began to get into the game more and it was a more even contest, Despite Calvin Andrew, Martin Riley and John Dempster sending headers wide it was Ritchie Sutton who had to come to the Stags rescue, getting down low to cut out a low right sided cross.
As the hour mark approach visiting keeper Krysiak pulled off a smart save to deny Clucas after the former Hereford man was slotted clean through by Ollie Palmer, the assist maker earned a corner on the follow up but Stags again failed to make it pay.
There was a let off for Stags on 62 minutes when a lack of concentration allowed Aaron Davies a free run into the area following a throw-in, fortunately for Cox’s Stags, Davies screwed his effort terribly wide.
With seven minutes remaining Krysiak pulled off an excellent save to deny a belter from McGuire, with seconds remaining Alan Marriott also produced the goods, holding on to a low free kick as both sides took a share of the spoils.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 0-0 Exeter City
STAGS: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers (Adam Murray 81), Ritchie Sutton, John Dempster ©, Martin Riley, James Jennings, Jamie McGuire, Anthony Howell, Sam Clucas, Ollie Palmer (Lee Stevenson 70), Calvin Andrew (Matt Rhead 81).
UNSUSED SUBS Ryan Tafazolli, Louis Briscoe, Jake Speight, Lindon Meikle.
Referee Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)
Attendance 3,284 (272)
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