Mansfield Town 0-0 Oldham Athletic – FA Cup 1st Round

MansfieldOldham1

Mansfield Town were held to a goalless draw by League 1 strugglers Oldham Athletic in my first ever match at Field Mill.

The Stags had the better chances of the FA Cup contest but couldn’t find a breakthrough and now face a midweek trip to Boundary Park for the replay.

Chesterfield’s trip to non-league FC United of Manchester being moved to Monday evening for BT Sport coverage allowed me to get another step closer to completing the 92 on the free Saturday.

Field Mill (or the One Call Stadium as it is currently known) has been the home of the Spireites’ arch-rivals, Mansfield Town, since 1919 and had been a glaring omission in my list of grounds visited for some time now. Despite a flying visit back in 2007, I had never seen a game at the home of the Stags and by now it was comfortably the nearest league ground left on my ‘to do’ list, so with the League 2 club hosting Oldham Athletic this afternoon in the FA Cup I decided to make it my 38th of the 92.

The journey was a simple one with me and my Dad (who visited the ground once before to watch Chesterfield in 1989) arriving at Field Mill in plenty of time. The stadium is certainly one of the best venues in the fourth tier and I was pleasantly surprised – the dominating Ian Greaves Stand, where we were located this afternoon, being easily the most impressive aspect of it.

One downside, however, is the fact that the capacity is more than three-times larger than the Stags’ average attendance of around 3,000, which has an obvious effect on the atmosphere. Not that the supporters were given a whole lot to shout about this afternoon, as the two sides battled out a goalless draw.

Despite being separated by a division, Oldham’s 19th place standing and a record of just one win in 15 meant their meeting with promotion-challenging Mansfield was a difficult one to call. And the closeness of the two sides was clear in a first half devoid of clear-cut chances until the 45th minute, when Reggie Lambe somehow volleyed over Craig Westcarr’s pinpoint cross from close range.

The Stags were firmly on top in the second period and looked the much more likely to find a winner. Matt Green broke through and thought he had given the hosts the lead, but was denied by some tremendous Latics defending – Cameron Dummigan blocking on the line after goalkeeper Joel Coleman had got a hand to the original effort.

In a rare Oldham attack at the other end, Lee Croft forced veteran ‘keeper Brian Jensen into a diving save but as the game headed into it’s final moments it was Mansfield who were pushing for the winner – forcing a number of corners and remaining firmly in the ascendancy as they searched desperately for an all-important goal.

However, the lack of end product meant they were unable to find a breakthrough and the game ultimately finished goalless – the two sides now forced to replay on 17th November to decide who will be among the 40 teams in the second round.

Despite the controversial decision for a Spireite to visit the home of Mansfield Town, I must say I enjoyed my day at Field Mill and am pleased to have finally ticked it off my list. I now look forward to visiting another new ground on Monday evening as Chesterfield travel to FC United’s brand-new Broadhurst Park.

Mansfield Town (0)

Line-up: Jensen, Hunt, Collins, Tafazolli, Adams, Rose (N Thomas ’64), Clements, Chapman, Lambe (Blair ’81), Westcarr, Green (Yussuf ’82)
Unused subs: Shearer, J Thomas, McGuire, Smith

Scorers: n/a

Oldham Athletic (0)

Line-up: Coleman, Dummigan, Dieng, B Wilson, Mills, Yeates, Winchester, Philliskirk, Poleon (Rasulo ’73), Fuller (Croft ’56 (Eckersley ’79)), Higdon
Unused subs: Dunn, Vassell, Byrnes, Renshaw

Scorers: n/a

Attendance: 2886
Date: 7th November 2015

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