Serious injury for George Maris as depleted Mansfield Town go an 11th game without victory

Depleted Mansfield Town's problems mounted as they lost George Maris with a serious head injury and went an 11th game without a win after being held 0-0 by fellow strugglers Oldham Athletic at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.
Mansfield Town midfielder George Maris receives treatment. Pihoto by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.mediaMansfield Town midfielder George Maris receives treatment. Pihoto by Chris Holloway/The Bigger
Mansfield Town midfielder George Maris receives treatment. Pihoto by Chris Holloway/The Bigger

The game was held up for 13 minutes after the Maris injury who joined a list of at least eight key players missing through injury and suspension.

But there was some cheer as youngsters James Clarke and sub Keaton Ward turned in fine displays.

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The Mansfield side showed two changes from the previous weekend with James Clarke coming in at right back for the suspended Farrend Rawson and Danny Johnson in up front for Rhys Oates, both Clarke and Johnson having impressed in the midweek Papa John's Trpohy game.

There was also a first time in the squad for Stoke City loanee defender Will Forrester, who has been injured since signing in the transfer window but was finally on the home bench.

Stags began well with some neat passing and McLaughlin was unlucky when he delivered a teasing low free kick right across the face of goal on four minutes.

On 11 minutes Maris sent a fine ball behind the full back to send McLaughlin to the left by-line from where he pulled a low pass back to Johnson who could only fire wide.

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A minute later both Clarke and Maris went in together for a high ball and Maris stayed down after their heads clashed.

A stretcher was brought on amid a long delay as treatment was administered and after a 13-minute delay he was finally carried off to huge applause and replaced by Oates.

Stobbs was booked on 37 minutes for a foul on Oates and, when the free kick was cleared and Oldham threatened to break, Clarke cynically halted Bahamboula for a booking.

Goalmouth action had been scarce, but on 40 minutes the visitors came desperately close.

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Bowden sent in the game's first corner from the left, Piergianni headed it back into the mix and McGahey turned the ball against the post from six yards.

On 43 minutes Oates did the hard bit as he turned his man in the box only to lash a low finish well wide.

A massive 14 minutes was added onto the half after the Maris injury.

Five minutes into that Stags failed to deal with a long Couto throw and the ball fell for Piergianni to force Bishop to parry his on-target effort.

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A minute later Stags were caught on the counter with Dearnley getting behind Clarke. But Bishop got a hand to his low finish and Keillor-Dunn hooked the loose call wide.

Johnson sent a tame shot straight at Leutwiler soon after, then Keillor-Dunn fired straight at Bishop on 45+10 as the Latics finished a goalless half looking by far the more likely to break through.

With Hawkins presumably injured, Stags sent on Burke at left back for the second half with McLaughlin dropping into the centre of defence.

Keillor-Dunn fired over on the turn three minutes after the restart.

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Ward took over from Clarke on 61 minutes and seconds later Oates sent a low cross-cum-shot across goal.

Then Charsley's low shot from Disley's pass forced Leutwiler down to block on 68 minutes as Stags finally began to get control of the game again.

On 76 minutes Lapslie went down in the box under Couto's challenge, but the referee decided it was a dive and booked the Stags man.

Oates then set up Charsley on 81 minutes but Leutwiler was again equal to it.

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Clarke was booked for Oldham for his foul on Ward on 86 minutes and Burke joined him on 90+2 for a late challenge as the game ended scoreless.

STAGS: Bishop, J. Clarke, Hawkins (Burke HT), Hewitt, McLaughlin, Maris (Oates 25), Charsley, O. Clarke (Ward 61), Lapslie, Johnson, Bowery. SUBS NOT USED: Shelvey, Forrester, Law, Gale.

OLDHAM: Leutwiler, J. Clarke, McGahey, Piergianni, Whelan, Keillor-Dunn, Dearnley (Bettache 85), Stobbs, Bowden, Bahamboula (Hope 85), Couto. SUBS NOT USED: Rogers, Fage Da Silva, Diarra, Sheehan.

REFEREE: Craig Hicks.

ATTENDANCE: 4,526 (496 away).