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Mansfield 2 Pompey 2

24 August 2013

Barcham and Connolly goals not quite enough for victory

Pompey drew 2-2 for a second away match in succession at Mansfield, but they might have been celebrating a victory.

The Blues fought back following Ben Hutchinson’s impressive opener, with goals from Andy Barcham and David Connolly turning the game on its head.

But Lindon Meikle came off the bench and capitalised on some hesitant defending to rescue a draw for the Stags.

Guy Whittingham made one change from the side that beat Morecambe seven days earlier.

Bondz N’Gala replaced Yassin Moutaouakil to make his first league start for Pompey, with Joe Devera moving to right-back.

It was the visitors who were first to threaten and Jed Wallace saw his ambitious 30-yard volley deflected behind after just two minutes.

Patrick Agyemang then sent a dangerous ball into the box, only for it to land just behind the onrushing Connolly.

Calvin Andrew was the first Mansfield player to try his luck and was not too far away with an effort from the edge of the area that was deflected narrowly wide.

At the other end, Connolly was again left frustrated as Wallace’s chipped pass drifted inches over the top of his head.

But the Blues then received a let-off when James Jennings was put off by Devera and could only hit a tame shot straight at Phil Smith.

Both sides looked capable of opening the scoring and it took a good block from Ritchie Sutton to deny Connolly following neat work by Wallace on 24 minutes.

Connolly went close again seconds later, cutting inside from the left and smashing a shot against the outside of the post.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on 33 minutes, courtesy of a stunning strike from Hutchinson.

There did not appear much on when the ball flew towards the midfielder, but he launched a superb 30-yard volley over the head of Smith and into the net.

Pompey were level thanks to a well-worked goal of their own six minutes later, however.

Wallace played a neat one-two with Agyemang down the right before pulling the ball back for BARCHAM to lash into the roof of the net.

And Barcham then played a pivotal role as the Blues took the lead a few moments later.

The winger surged half the length of the pitch and skipped a challenge before bursting into the box. His shot was saved by Alan Marriott, but the ball fell kindly for CONNOLLY to drive home.

Half Time: Mansfield 1 Pompey 2

Pompey had a decent opportunity to extend their advantage early in the second, but Connolly fired a free-kick high over the bar after Barcham had been felled on the edge of the box.

Former Havant & Waterlooville striker Ollie Palmer was then given a chance to impress, replacing Sam Clucas in the Stags attack on 53 minutes.

It was Jamie McGuire who had an opportunity to level soon after, though, but he could only drive straight at Smith.

The hosts thought they should have won a penalty on 60 minutes when Andrew went down under pressure from Marcos Painter, but referee Stephen Martin was not interested.

Pompey, meanwhile, were striving to make sure of victory and Connolly saw his shot blocked after a quick turn in the box.

Whittingham made a change on 67 minutes, with Johnny Ertl – available again after a three-match ban – replacing Romain Padovani in midfield.

But Mansfield took advantage of some uncertain defending to draw level moments later.

Smith tried to claim a cross, but was unable to hold on after running into N’Gala, allowing Stags substitute Meikle to steer home the loose ball.

It might have got worse for the Blues just second later, but Palmer volleyed wide from an acute angle.

Painter limped off injured and was replaced by Moutaouakil on 75 minutes, while Ryan Bird came on for Agyemang in the closing stages.

But Pompey were unable to find a late winner and had to contend with leaving the One Call Stadium with a point.

Mansfield (3-5-2): Marriott; Sutton, Dempster (c), Riley; Beevers (Meikle 67), Hutchinson, Clements, McGuire, Jennings; Andrew (Rhead 64), Clucas (Palmer 53)
Goals: Hutchinson 33, Meikle 71
Subs not used: Mitchell, Tafazolli, Murray, Stevenson

Pompey (4-4-2): Smith; Devera, N’Gala, Bradley, Painter (Moutaouakil 75); Wallace, Padovani (Ertl 67), Ferry, Barcham; Agyemang (Bird 81), Connolly (c)
Goals: Barcham 39, Connolly 43
Subs not used: Sullivan, Butler, East, Holmes

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 4,577 (1,005 Pompey fans)

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