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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 13

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Hemel Hempstead Town (A)
Sat Apr 13 15:00
The Vanarama National League South

Rebels hold Mansfield to draw in FA Cup

Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town

Slough Town

Slough Town

FA Cup Attendance: 1686 Alex Brown
MANSFIELD Town will visit Holloways Park on Tuesday 13 November to replay this FA Cup First Round tie after Slough Town held the Nottinghamshire-based full-timers to a creditable 0-0 draw at the One Call Stadium.

The Stags will not relish the trip to Buckinghamshire after being frustrated time and time again by Slough, who play three levels below them in football's pyramid.

Ed Smith came closest to scoring for Slough in the 30th minute, forcing Stags goalkeeper Shane Redmond into a splendid save.

Slough, backed by over 250 vociferous supporters, defended for their lives in the second half, throwing bodies at everything Mansfield had to offer - and survived several goalmouth scares in which the hosts looked certain to score. Lindon Meikle headed against the Rebels’ crossbar, though James Warrington was not called into action as much as the frustrated home support would have liked.

Slough acquitted themselves well in the early stages of the game and threatened briefly when the ball was worked out wide on the right for Sean Fraser to run at the defence and play a low ball in to the middle, but Mansfield goalkeeper Redmond intercepted. At the other end, Fraser put in a superb block to deny Ben Hutchinson after he received a pass from the lively Meikle.

Japanese J-League referee Jumpei Lida, a FIFA-listed official, correctly waved away Mansfield appeals for handball against Alex Brown, and for large periods of the first half, whilst looking the more threatening, the hosts were denied time and space in the final third by a stubborn Slough rearguard, though the Rebels were often guilty of losing possession and inviting pressure on to them.

Mansfield’s best chance to open the scoring came when Rebels keeper Warrington misjudged a long pass from Louis Briscoe, rushing out of his penalty area to try and clear the danger, but Matt Green reached it first. Green’s ball in to the area dropped to Meikle, whose goalbound strike was cleared off the line by Nathan Bowden-Haase, and hacked away to safety.

Warrington made up for this rush of blood to the head soon after, blocking a shot from Stags striker Anthony Howell after a flicked header had evaded David Deeney and made its way through to him in the middle of the penalty area. The ball fell to Howell again, but this time he sliced his shot well wide.

A rare attack for Slough saw Bowden-Haase head across goal and wide from a set-piece, but soon after, Ed Smith found himself with a superb chance to give Slough a surprise lead. He took Dominic Rhone's pass, turned expertly away from the giant Exodus Geohaghon and John Dempster, and dribbled his way into the box, but his shot was saved superbly by Redmond as it looked destined for the top corner.

Before the break, Mansfield almost scored from an unlikely source. One of Geohaghon’s monster long throws caused a moment of hesitation in the Slough defence, and Bowden-Haase failed to clear, leaving the ball to bounce away off Warrington and to safety.

With the home support growing frustrated at their side’s inability to break Slough down, the Rebels spent the majority of the second half on the back foot as Mansfield launched wave after wave of attacks. Influential players Briscoe and Hutchinson combined for the latter to fire wide, before Meikle hit the bar with a header from Chris Clements’ cross on 55 minutes.

Rhone again cleared off the line from Green, and Bowden-Haase got his head to a fierce strike from Clements with twenty minutes remaining as Slough began to tire slightly. From the resulting corner, Green inexplicably put the ball over the bar from a matter of yards out after Dempster had made contact to divert the ball toward goal.

Slough were almost gifted the lead against the run of play when a mix-up in the Mansfield defence saw Redmond intervene and clear just before Smith could nip in to poke the ball goalward.

Mansfield continued to push forward with more than a hint of desperation, and Warrington watched a couple of long-range shots sail high and wide, and his defence dealt superbly with a series of corners and crosses.

At the death, Slough threatened a counter-attack with substitutes Adam Logie and Sean Sonner breaking away, but the former agonisingly lost possession with Smith and Dave Woozley also running forward to support.

But Warrington’s clean sheet remained intact, and the Slough players and management celebrated the result with their travelling support after the final whistle. Mansfield, meanwhile, will know that their progression through to a Second Round tie at either Lincoln City or Walsall is by no means a foregone conclusion with the replay to come at Holloways Park on 13 November.

Mansfield Town Lineup

Shane Redmond, Ritchie Sutton, John Dempster, Lee Beevers, Exodus Geohaghan, Anthony Howell, Chris Clements, Lindon Meikle, Matt Green, Louis Briscoe, Ben Hutchinson (Nick Wright 66). Subs not used: John Thompson, Gary Roberts, Andy Todd, Lee Stevenson, Colin Daniel, Matt Rhead.


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