HALF TIME: Braintree 0 Mansfield Town 0

STAGS are being held 0-0 after a tight first-half in their Blue Square Premier outing against promoted Braintree Town, reports Stephen Thirkill.

Despite decent spells of possession Paul Cox’s men have failed to create any clear cut chances, with Matt Green and Anthony Howell coming closest with half-chances.

At the other end Stags, who are looking to pick up their first victory of the new season, have looked safe with a long distance shot from Sean Marks the closest Braintree have come to beating Alan Marriott.

Fuull-back Joe Kendrick can count himself rather fortunate to still be on the pitch after he hacked down hacking Yiadom down with a late lunge despite already been booked for a similar foul on the 7th minute.

Stags went into the game with a point to prove following their 3-0 beating at Gateshead in midweek and furious boss Paul Cox rang the changes.

The towering Ben Futcher replaced Tom Naylor at the heart of the Mansfield defence following his one-month loan signing from Richie Barker’s Bury.

While midfielder Jon Worthington and striker Paul Connor were dropped to the bench against the Blue Square South champions.

Anthony Howell also stepped into the central midfield berth to offer Stags an extra attacking dimension.

The Iron came into the game hoping to steamroll Mansfield in similar fashion to their 5-0 thumping of Grimsby on Tuesday night.

Stags had their first sniff on goal after four minutes when a fierce shot from Matt Green was deflected out for a corner by Jai Reason.

At the other end Sean Marks caused Stags bother moments later after he drifted away from Riley, before his powerful shot from distance was smartly saved low to his right by Alan Marriott.

Green registered Stags’ first strike on goal after 13 minutes when he latched on to a knock down by Howell, before he spun in the box and directed a tame shot into McDonald’s palms.

Howell then nodded a header wide from a deep Kendrick free-kick as Mansfield began to get on top of the game.

As the first-half progessed Stags gained dominance of the midfield area, with Briscoe and Meikle looking threatening down their respective flanks.

Kendrick breathed a huge sigh of relief on 27 minutes after he chopped down Yiadom with a late tackle on the left touchline.

But referee Graham Hardwood gave the left-back one final warning before an early bath.

The home side came back into game with the pacey Yiadom looking the most likely man to break the deadlock as both sides continued to enjoy spells of possession without creating any clear-cut openings.

Green came close to opening the scoring on 39 minutes as Braintree once again failed to clear a deep-inswinging Kendrick free-kick.

But the striker failed to get the necessary power on his header to beat McDonald as the half ended goal-less.

BRAINTREE: McDonald, Thomas, Bailey-Dennis, Paine. Reason, Symons, Davis, Marks, Wright, O’Connor, Yiadom. Subs: Quinton, Constantine, Chilaka, Jones. James-Lewis.

STAGS: Marriott, O Neil, Futcher, Riley, Kendrick, Briscoe, Howell, Murray, Meikle, Dyer, Green. Subs not used: Redmond, Connor, Wood, Worthington, Stevenson.

REFEREE: Graham Harwood:

BOOKINGS: Kendrick (7 mins - foul on Yiadom); O’Neill (29 mins – foul on Reason)