MATCH REPORT: Oldham dig deep to deny Mansfield Town
Despite an excellent performance and a string of chances that had visiting Oldham Athletic on the ropes, Mansfield Town had to settle for a 0-0 draw this evening.
The Stags, who won so impressively on Saturday, again dominated the game, particularly in a magnificent first half.
But the dogged Latics, who rarely got out their own half in the first 45 minutes and only had a couple of half-chances all game, stuck to their task and came away with a point that looked unlikely at times as Mansfield piled the pressure on.
Not surprisingly the Stags were unchanged from the side that beat Northampton 4-0 at the weekend.
Midfielder Jacob Mellis, back from a three week suspension, was on the home bench.
Oldham skipper Clarke almost put Mansfield ahead on four minutes when he got a head onto Khan’s free kick into the box that forced his own keeper to turn it round for a corner.
Khan then missed a sitter on eight minutes. Rose’s perfect pas into the path of Hamilton down the right saw him cross to Khan who, from six yards out and with the goal at his mercy, hit the crossbar.
It was all Mansfield in the early stage and another great chance went begging on 19 minutes when Rose headed on to put Walker away only for the striker to fire his low finish inches wide.
Rose was then too high after controlling a long Preston ball forward and making space.
Then Rose was wide at the far post from a Benning cross as Stags continued to pile on the pressure in impressive fashion.
Iversen made a superb save on 28 minutes to claw away a powerful drive from Hamilton after he had cut in from the right as the breakthrough continued to elude them.
On 34 minutes Rose won a loose ball and laid a pass to Walker to his right who forced another save from Iversen with his vicious drive.
Bishop halted an attempted break from that with a foul and was booked.
Play continued after a foul on Rose and Hamilton forced Iversen to turn round his near post a minute from the break as the chances continued to come the home side’s way.
Walker was withdrawn for the second half with Atkinson coming on at right wing back and Hamilton pushed forward.
The Latics made a double change throwing on Baxter and Graham in place of Lang and Dummigan.
Stags fashioned the first opportunity of the half on 53 minutes as Atkinson floated the ball deep to the far post where Benning fired into the sidenetting.
Baxter then volleyed a Pearce header back over the back on 54 minutes – the first real shy at goal all night for the Latics.
Two minutes later Stags defence was opened up and Hunt was only inches over as the visitors began to step up a gear.
On the hour Khan saw a deflected shot loop goalwards but drop narrowly wide.
Then Sweeney and Elsnik set up Rose, but he was too high from 25 yards as the frustration continued.
Taylor’s trip on Rose on 69 minutes earned him a yellow card and, before the free kick was taken, Davies replaced Khan to face his old club.
On 77 minutes Stags made a final change as they sent on Mellis for Elsnik.
Two minutes from time Davies crossed hard from the right and Atkinson somehow sent a diving header wide from four yards, which proved to be their final chance to snatch victory.
MANSFIELD: Olejnik; Preston, Pearce, Sweeney; Hamilton, Bishop, Khan (Davies 70), Elsnik (Mellis 77), Benning; Rose, Walker (Atkinson HT). Subs not used: Logan, Butcher, Sterling-James, Gibbens.
NORTHAMPTON: Iversen, Dummigan (Graham HT), Taylor, Edmundson, Gardner, O’Grady, Miller (Maouche 79), Missilou, Lang (Baxter HT), Hunt, Clarke. Subs not used: De La Paz, Benteke, Branger-Engone, Nepomuceno.
REFEREE: Thomas Bramall of Sheffield.
ATTENDANCE: 3,829 (411 away). CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Neal Bishop.