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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
10:19 24th August 2011

MANSFIELD TOWN 1-1 TOWN- REPORT & ANALYS

Captain Will Antwi's header 12 minutes from time kept up the Town's unbeaten start to the season. The defender summer signing rose majestically to nod home Jake Howells' right-wing free-kick to cancel out Matt Green's stunning 27th-minute opener for Mansfield. Both sides created chances, more so in an entertaining first half with the Hatters guilty of the best ones with Amari Morgan-Smith and Danny Crow going close. The Town were made to pay for their misses when Green struck but they stuck to their task and were rewarded with a deserved equaliser to ensure their first away game of the season ended with a point. The Town boss made three changes to the side that beat Southport 5-1 at Kenilworth Road. Alex Lawless, Keith Keane and Robbie Willmott were not even named as substitutes as Gary Brabin included Ed Asafu-Adjaye and two goalscorers from Saturday, Morgan-Smith and Crow in the starting line-up. Despite those changes the Hatters lined-up in their usual 4-3-3 formation but in the opening stages it was the defence who were impressing as the hosts forced a succession of early corners that were dealt with well by Dean Beckwith and captain Antwi. After those early scares the Town took a grip on proceedings leading to two great chances to take the lead in a 60-second spell. Firstly on 10 minutes a lovely touch from Crow around the corner sent Aaron O'Connor flying down the right. Running into the penalty area the former Stag went alone but saw two shots blocked. A minute later Adam Watkins fed Morgan-Smith with a sublime throughball into the left-hand channel. Clear with Alan Marriott to beat the pacey former Ilkeston man was through but with options to his right he went for goal and his shot was well saved by the home stopper. Mansfield slowly worked their way back into things, however, and Louis Briscoe came close to breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes when he surged into the box, got past Asafu-Adjaye and fired a low shot across goal that whistled just past the post. That woke the Town up again and they came close to scoring with a number of chances in a five-minute spell with James Dance, Morgan-Smith and Crow all having chances with the latter heading over well when placed from close range on 23 minutes. However, the Hatters were made to pay for those missed chances when the Stags took the lead on 27 minutes with a sublime strike.Mansfield shifted the ball inside from the left flank into the path of Matt Green who looked up and pinged a fantastic effort arching into the top right hand corner giving Mark Tyler no chance. Mansfield were definitely looking brighter going forward but the Hatters almost pulled level on 32 minutes when Morgan-Smith curled a free-kick 25 yards out inches the wrong side of Marriott's right-hand post. Both sides were guilty of giving the ball away in a scrappy period of play but Mansfield came close to doubling their lead with two chances in the space of a minute. Firstly a right-wing corner from Joe Kendrick found Martin Riley at the back post but the defender's was cleared off the line by Asafu-Adjaye. Then, after a second corner was half-cleared, a cross from the right found Ross Dyer six yards out but the striker could only sky a shot over the bar six yards. The second half was only 90 seconds old when Mansfield should have made it 2-0 when giant defender Ben Futcher nodded a right-wing free-kick wide of the post from close range with the goal gaping. Mansfield threatened further but in truth neither side threatened with the Town dominating possession but failed to test Marriott. On the hour Watkins smashed an effort goalwards that was tipped over by the home goalkeeper for a corner from which Dance saw a shot from the edge of the penalty area blocked. Both sides continue to trade the ball with the Town marginally on top and there was controversy on 69 minutes when goalscorer Green was booked for an off-the-ball incident on Beckwith who received treatment for a head injury. Watkins and Howells were the main orchestrators with the latter curling over a deft curling free-kick from the edge of the box after Watkins was fouled. But the Town's pressure eventually paid off when Howells' right-wing free-kick was headed home by skipper Antwi, rising above the Mansfield defence to net his second goal in as many games. Mansfield reacted well to being pegged back as they went in search of a winner with Tyler making a great sprawling save as Green drilled a low shot goalwards in the first minute of injury time but that was the final chance and the Town held on for a draw. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Live from Field Mill Mansfield Town 1 (Green 27) Luton Town 1 (Antwi 78) Live from Field Mill FULL-TIME It's all over here it's finished 1-1 at Field Mill. Reaction, full report and photographs to come. 90 mins + 1 - Everyone pauses and Mansfield go close, Green firing a shot into the palms of Tyler. 90 mins - Into the last minute. 89 mins - Half a sniff for Mansfield, set piece from Kendrick, comfortable save for Tyler. 88 mins - Two minutes left now. 86 mins - Attendance 2,592 including 437 shouting for the Town. 85 mins - We've got five minutes left, all Mansfield at the minute though. 84 mins - That's the first goal the Hatters have scored in 348 minutes of football at Field Mill. Drought over. 82 mins - Eight minutes left to find a winner but Mansfield on top. End-to-end now I suspect. 78 mins  GOAL! Mansfield 1-1 TOWN (Antwi) - Well they've deserved it. AMS is stopped in his tracks down the right and Kendrick is booked. From the resultant free-kick Howells' super pass is headed home by WILL ANTWI, rising above the Mansfield defence. Get in! 74 mins - Watkins goes down to earn the Town a free-kick 22-ish yards out that Howells curls goalwards with a curling effort that Marriott tips over for a corner. 70 mins - 20 minutes left, Green in the book the the Stags for an off-the-ball incident on Beckwith. The same player then goes close with a deft header, straight into the arms of Tyler. 68 mins - Back come the Town as Osano cuts inside from the left to shoot in the side netting. 67 mins - More pressure from the hosts as Green is played in well by Briscoe and the goalscorer's effort from a tight angle hits the post and away to safety. 64 mins - Chance for Mansfield direct from a free-kick just outside the box that Kendrick takes but a deflection off the Town wall concedes a corner which the Town clear. 61 mins Second change for the Town as Dan Walker replaces O'Connor. 60 mins - Then a real decent chance as Watkins, with nothing on fires a left-foot shot that Marriott has to tip over. From the resultant corner played to Dance on the edge of the area the midfielder's shot is blocked. 58 mins - Half a sniff for the Town as a quick throw from O'Connor found Dance in the area but his first time half-volley into the hands of Marriott. 57 mins First change of the evening as Asafu-Adjaye exits for Dan Gleeson. Osano swaps flanks to left-back. 55 mins - Almost a scare for the Town as Mansfield press but a last ditch header from Asafu-Adjaye denies Briscoe a header at goal. 53 mins - Lovely play from Osano, striding out from right-back, feeds Watkins who in turn shows nice skill to get past a couple of challenges. However his pass to Crow is to Town striker in an offside position. Frustration but all the Town at the minute. 50 mins - Plenty of pretty passing from the Hatters early in this second half but they're yet to get in behind the Stags' defence. 47 mins - Should be 2-0. Osano concedes a free-kick from the right which Connor swings in and Ben Futcher, the giant centre-back, nods wide with the goal gaping from five yards. 46 mins  And we're off again for the second as Mansfield get us underway. The Town are now shooting towards their 400-odd supporters behind the goal away to our left. No changes at the break. HALF-TIME The Town a goal down at the break. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates. 45 mins - Two added mintues to play. 44 mins - A minute to the break here. 38 mins - Almost half a sniff for Mansfield - Kendrick's set pieces have been threatening all evening so far - as his corner finds Riley whose goal-bound header is cleared on the line by Asafu-Adjaye. The Stags continue to press and after a second corner is half-cleared, Ross Dyer slices a shot from six yards over the top. 35 mins - 10 minutes to the break. That's the third time the Town have gone a goal down this season. 32 mins - Oh, almost, almost 1-1 as the Town press for an equaliser. Dance is fouled 25 yards out and Morgan-Smith steps up and curls the resultant free-kick inches the wrong side of the post. Great effort. That was close. 27 mins  GOAL! MANSFIELD 1-0 Town (Green) Well, the Town have had their chances and not taken them and the hosts have made them pay with a superb strike from distance. The ball is worked from the left into the path of MATT GREEN who looks up 20-yard out and pings an absolute pearler into the top right corner, leaving Tyler no chance. 23 mins - Still the Hatters keep coming as a quick throw from Asafu-Adjaye, releases Crow who in turn feeds AMS but his touch is poor and ball runs out. Then, a minute later another fine move almost catches out Mansfield as Osano's deep cross is kept in by AMS who controls well and lifts the ball into the danger zone for Crow to head over from five yards. 20 mins - Another half-chance for the Town as Dance digs out a cross from the left to Crow but his hooked shot goes wide. Nothing doing. 18 mins - Back come the Town - it's end-to-end now. Morgan-Smith does well down the left and passes inside to Dance who 25 yards out goes for goal but his well-hit effort is comfortable for Marriott. 17 mins - Oh. Close. With nothing on, Louis Briscoe surges into the box, gets the better of Asafu-Adjaye and sends a fierce low shot goalwards that skims inches wide of the post. 11 mins - Chances for the Hatters and they should be ahead. Firstly a lovely flick from Crow releases O'Connor to burst down the right. He gets into the box and sees two shots blocked. Then, a minute later, Watkins slides a lovely ball through for Morgan-Smith, who beats the offside trap. He's one-one-one with Marriott and has Crow square for a tap-in, but goes alone and draws a decent stop from the home goalkeeper. 5 mins - Little to report early doors, Mansfield have threatened from some corners from each flank which are dealt with while the Town were unlucky not to break with pace with Howells and Dance linking up well. Nothing for either keeper to deal with so far. 2 mins - Forget that 442 lark, it's 4-3-3, Watkins, Dance and Howells in central midfield, O'Connor on the right flank, Morgan-Smith on the left and Crow up top. 1 min Annnnnnnnnnd we're off as the Town kick off, shooting towards the Mansfield supporters. Enjoy the updates. COYH. 19:44 HERE THEY COME Two sides now out on the field. 19:40 TRIPLE ACT Your writer tonight will be reporting, tweeting and co-commentating tonight. Spelling mistakes worse than usual? Apologies in advance. 19:38 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 1-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 2-0 Luton, James Cunliffe: 1-1 draw. 19:34 FORMATION FOR THE NATION Deep discussion as to the Town's formation tonight. Could it be 442? Usual back four with Dance and AMS on the wing, Watkins and Howells in the middle with O'Connor (a former Mansfield man) and Crow in attack? 19:28 OUR HOSTS Are unchanged. 19:14 THREE CHANGES Out go Alex Lawless, Keith Keane and Robbie Willmott. Town: Tyler, Beckwith, Antwi, Osano, Asafu-Adjaye, Watkins, Dance, Howells, O'Connor, Morgan-Smith, Crow. Subs: K. Pilkington, Gleeson, Barnes-Homer, Poku, Walker. Mansfield: Marriott, Kendrick, Riley, Briscoe, Green, Murray, Dyer, O'Neill, Howell, Meikle, Futcher. Subs: Redmond, Worthington, Stevenson, Connor, Wood. 19:10 BREAKING NEWS Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Danny Crow and Amari Morgan-Smith IN for the Town tonight 19:10 WARM-UP Dan Walker and Godfrey Poku two of the players warming up. 19:00 ON THE AIRER Looks like the players will be sporting the away shirt tonight of course. Town players on their way out to warm up and they're in orange shorts and white socks. 18:45 INSIDE A nice sunny August evening in Mansfield. Goalkeepers already warming up. Alex Lawless, Keith Keane and Robbie Willmott look on in their tracksuits. 18:10 IN ADVANCE The ticket office sold exactly 400 tickets for tonight's game to Town fans. Remains to be seen how many more will make the journey up now it's pay on the night. 17:00 STAGS SO FAR Our hosts tonight currently lie in 18th place in the Blue Square Bet Premier having taken two points from their opening three fixtures. An opening day draw with Bath City and a defeat at Gateshead were followed by a 1-1 draw at Braintree Town on Saturday. 16:00 BOGEY GROUND Two home games and four points later the Town's season is up and running after their belated start in the Blue Square Bet Premier. Tonight the Hatters are on the road for the first time in their 2011/12 campaign with a trip to Mansfield Town, one of the fancied sides in the division this term. Fresh from Saturday's 5-1 win over Southport, Gary Brabin takes his side to Field Mill full of confidence. A goal down, five goals later - four in seven minutes, two scored by substitutes, including one by a player making his first league start. Things are looking up. The first win under their belt. You never know that draw with Forest Green Rovers might turn out to be a decent one. They hammered Alfreton Town 6-1. Interesting. As Brabs says, "it's still early doors". Back to tonight, though. Mansfield. At Field Mill. The stats aren't looking good in the Town's favour. 12 visits to the Nottinghamshire venue have yielded one victory - a league cup win back in 1989. Not a single victory of the Hatters in a league game there. 10 visits. Four draws and six defeats. Surely now it's time to change this record? Well the Town have tried their best in the last two league fixtures. Two dull 0-0 draws to be precise. But the Hatters haven't even scored on their past three visits. That's 270 minutes of football without a cheer. Regardless of the stats - which are there to be broken, of course - the Hatters are looking in good shape. Brabs will be hoping his side can continue from where they left off on Saturday following that barnstorming second half. A goal at Field Mill would be nice, though.   Well, whatever happens tonight, and throughout the season, your official website will have everything covered: every step of the way. If you can't make the match then we'll have all the goals and incidents as it happens live with the usual news in the run-up to kick-off with team line-ups and plenty of chat as your official website has, as ever, the usual updates keeping you bang up-to-date with all the action - and in a number of ways. There's none of those boring ball-by-ball "defensive thrown-in taken by Luton left-back" updates as we continue to and bring you an updated and detailed text commentary. This is a great way to keep in touch and has been popular to those supporters not able to get to a computer or a radio as the service is also available and is updated live on our WAP site. On Hatters Player you all have access to our live commentary. Remember, Player is available as ever which means you all have access to our live commentary. If you haven't heard it yet then where you have been? It's still brought to you by Simon "Statto" Pitts but he's got company this time! The DiverseFM team have collaborated with BBC Three Counties radio and the Club to bring you the Luton Town Show. Following the final whistle we'll have all the reaction from the men that matter this after, bringing you exclusive video content from Gary Brabin and from the dressing room. We'll have plenty of content to keep you interested as we'll have all of the post-match reaction from Brabs as well as match action from Gareth Owen to follow after the final whistle. Be sure to check out www.hatterspics.co.uk - our online image library. Like a picture you see and fancy having that on a mug? Well, fancy no more - with Hatters Pics it's a reality. Remember, we want you to get in touch. Join the updates and get in touch. Email andrew.barringer@lutontown.co.uk and we'll pick the best comments to go live on the site during our live updates. Don't forget we're also on twitter and Facebook so feel free to interact with your fellow fans online. Enjoy the game. COYH!  
    Data provided by Press Association

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