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Pompey 1 Mansfield 1

18 January 2014

Taylor's goal rescues a point for Blues

Ryan Taylor scored on his home debut as Pompey came from behind to draw with Mansfield.

After a largely lifeless first half, the visitors broke the deadlock through Lee Stevenson’s over-head effort.

The Blues did not look like mounting a comeback, until David Connolly came off the bench and hit the post before teeing-up Taylor for the equaliser.

Richie Barker made one change from the side that drew at Oxford seven days earlier.

Wes Fogden was handed his debut in place of Thery Racon in midfield, while Jake Jervis had to make do with a spot on the bench.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of former Pompey stars Johnny Phillips and Albie McCann, who both passed away recently.

Both sides had an early set-piece opportunity once the game did get under way, with the visitors first to threaten.

Sonny Bradley was penalised for a foul on Ross Dyer and James Jennings stepped up to curl a shot narrowly wide.

And Taylor then went close at the other end, flicking Nicky Shorey’s dangerous free-kick inches past the post.

But Mansfield’s direct style, coupled with the pitch cutting up because of the recent wet weather, meant free-flowing football was at a premium.

Pompey created a good opening on 27 minutes, however, after Jed Wallace and Marcos Painter combined to tee-up Patrick Agyemang.

The striker controlled the ball and tried to fire it into the bottom corner, but Jennings made a great block to divert the shot wide.

Taylor then cut inside from the right and flashed an audacious long-range effort narrowly over the crossbar.

But, aside from a booking for Stags defender Ryan Tafazolli following a foul on Fogden, there was little else to excite the crowd in the remainder of the first half.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Mansfield 0

Barker was forced to make his first change four minutes into the second half when skipper Simon Ferry hobbled off to be replaced by Racon.

And the Blues found themselves behind moments later as a Darryl Westlake delivery was headed back across goal by Jennings and Stevenson acrobatically volleyed home.

They might have had another on 61 minutes after Wallace had gifted away possession, but Matt Rhead’s curling strike was diverted wide by Bradley.

And Chris Clements then sent an effort bouncing past Trevor Carson’s dive and narrowly wide of the post.

With Pompey struggling to create much at the other end, Barker made an attacking double switch on 68 minutes.

Jervis and Connolly replaced Fogden and Wallace, leaving the Blues with four strikers on the pitch.

And it was Connolly who almost pulled Pompey level on 77 minutes, with his drive just about tipped onto the post by Stags keeper Alan Marriott.

But the striker played a key role when the hosts did equalise seconds later, threading a pass through for TAYLOR to coolly stroke home.

Connolly’s arrival seemed to have totally reinvigorated the hosts, although he could not quite get a touch to convert Painter’s dangerous low cross on 81 minutes.

Pompey were now in control and would have gone in front had Agyemang not slipped as he tried to convert Shorey’s corner.

And there were desperate cries for a penalty when Tafazolli appeared to trip Jervis in the box, although the man who mattered – referee Darren Sheldrake – was uninterested.

The Blues went pouring forward in search of a late winner, but despite four minutes of stoppage-time, they had to settle for a point.

Pompey (4-4-2): Carson; Alfei, Devera, Bradley, Painter; Fogden (Jervis 68), Ferry (c) (Racon 49), Shorey, Wallace (Connolly 68); Taylor, Agyemang
Goals: Taylor 78
Subs not used: Smith, N’Gala, Ertl, Barcham

Mansfield (3-4-1-2): Marriott; Sutton, Dempster (c), Tafazolli; Westlake, Clements, Howell, Jennings; Stevenson (Daniel 75); Rhead (McGuire 87), Dyer (Meikle 75)
Goals: Stevenson 50
Booked: Tafazolli, Howell
Subs not used: Deakin, Riley, Beevers, Palmer

Referee: Darren Sheldrake

Attendance: 14,686 (607 away fans)

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