Mansfield Town 0-0 Slough, FA Cup First Round

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MANSFIELD Town face the tricky task of an away FA Cup replay at minnows Slough Town after being held to a frustrating 0-0 home first round draw this afternoon.

Lindon Meikle did head against the Rebels’ crossbar after the break.

But, despite all the home possession, the Evo-Stick Southern League Central Division visitors defended magnificently to enjoy their day in the limelight as one of the two lowest-ranked clubs left in the competition.

Paul Cox’s men were inevitably booed from the pitch at the end as the Rebels celebrated with their 250-strong army of fans.

Stags made seven changes. In came Shane Redmond, Ritchie Sutton, Lindon Meikle, Louis Briscoe, Chris Clements, Lee Beevers, and Ben Hutchinson.

Out went Liam Mitchell, Gary Roberts, Andy Todd, Junior Daniel, Matt Rhead, Jake Speight and Ryan Tafazolli.

That left Stags in a 4-2-1-3 formation with Hutchinson playing just in front of Howell and Clements while wingers Meikle and Briscoe flanked Green up front.

Mansfield began the afternoon as massive favourites. Jumpei Iida took charge, one of two guest referees from Japan taking charge of FA Cup ties on the day.

Redmond had to leave his box to clear ahead of Smith in the opening minute.

But Stags soon began to settle and Meikle had a tame shot deflect to safety while Briscoe forced keeper Warrington to gather a dangerous cross as his near post which threatened to swerve under the bar.

There were calls for a penalty when Briscoe’s cross struck Brown’s hand, but it was deemed hand to ball.

Green made a good burst only to see his shot deflect wide for a corner which, taken by Clement, saw Warrington fail to catch it and the ball pass through everyone.

On 20 minutes Sutton sent Green away down the right, Warrington raced out his box but Green took the ball wide of him but into an impossible angle and, when he finally got the ball across with the keeper racing to get back, Brown blocked Meikle’s finish on the line.

Soon after Howell had a double chance as Warrington blocked his first shot and then saw the follow-up slotted wide as the home side began to warm to their task.

Bowden-Haase sent a header wide from a free kick in Slough’s best chance so far on 23 minutes.

But Stags roared back and Clements sent a free kick crashing into the Slough wall, Dempster wide with his ambitious overhead follow-up.

The Rebels defended two more home corners as momentum began to build and possession was being kept much better by the home side as we hit the half-hour mark.

However, Slough could have been ahead on 34 minutes but for a great save from Redmond.

Smith wriggled his way inside the box just left of centre and sent a dipping shot on target which the keeper did well to tip away at full stretch for a corner.

The visitors comfortably defended four long Geohaghon throws and another from Beevers as Slough stood firm.

Beevers was booked for halting a Slough break on 43 minutes.

Deeney threw himself into the path of a Briscoe blast in stoppage time as the half-time whistle inevitably brought a few boos from frustrated home fans.

Brown was booked for deliberate handball three minutes into the second half, but Hutchinson was too high with the free kick.

Hutchinson then swapped passes with Briscoe before the winger sliced a powerful finish wide.

Briscoe cut in from the right on the next raid but dragged a low shot at the keeper from 20 yards.

Stags came as close as they had all game on 57 minutes as Clements tricked his way past the Slough defence to reach the right by-line and then chip to the far post where Meikle’s header smashed against the bar.

Soon after Dempster got his head onto a Hutchinson corner but saw it deflect just wide as Mansfield chalked up four quickfire corners without profit.

On 67 minutes Stags sent on Wright for Hutchinson as the home fans’ frustration grew.

Wright put a ball right across the face of goal without anyone getting there, then Clements’ shot just wide for a corner.

From that, Dempster backheaded towards goal and Green headed up and over from a yard off the line.

Green beat Brown to the by-line and lashed another tantalising ball across the goalmouth with no one there to apply a finish.

Sutton ended a neat build-up with a poor attempt at glory from 25 yards, the ball flying over to the groans of the home fans.

Meikle was wide soon afterwards as the spectre of a replay began to loom large.

It was all Mansfield in the closing stages with Slough defending superbly and even threatening a breakaway at one stage.

Wright had a low shot deflect wide in stoppage time, but it was the underdogs’ day in the end.

STAGS: Redmond; Beevers, Dempster, Geohaghon, Sutton; Howell, Clements, Hutchinson (Wright 67), Green, Meikle. Subs: Thompson, Rhead, Roberts, Todd, Stevenson, Daniel.

SLOUGH TOWN: Warrington, Fraser, Rhone, Brown, Bowden-Haase, Woozley, Burgess, D. Deeney, Burnell (Sonner 79), Smith, Swift (Logie 84). Subs: Murphy, A. Deeney, Hawtree, Sinclair, Perkins.

REFEREE: Jumpei Iida of Japan.

ATTENDANCE: 1,686 (250 away).