Chester City 1 Mansfield Town 1

Last updated : 28 January 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Mansfield bravely held out for the share of the spoils having played the majority of their 1-1 draw at Chester with only ten men.

The visitors had been facing an uphill challenge having lost striker Barry Conlon inside ten minutes, but took the lead in the first half, and then had to face a barrage as Chester sought to make their numerical advantage count.

The game had started in an innocuous manner until Conlon's rush off blood. He had gone up for a header in the middle of the pitch with Chester defender Phil Bolland and delivered a blatant elbow in full view of referee Paul Melin, who had no option but to show him a straight red card.

The sending off instantly put the Stags on the back foot as Chester attempted to make their extra man count. Laurence Wilson rifled an effort just past the upright on 20 minutes and Jamie Hand shot over from 30 yards out.

On 28 minutes Lee Steele, given an opportunity up front after the sale of Jon Walters to Ipswich earlier this week, hit a great volley on the turn which was saved by keeper Jason White. Roberto Martinez then hit a long range effort over as Chester attempted to turn the screw.

Completely against the run off play, the ten men took the lead on 32 minutes through Jake Buxton. A free-kick from the right by Matt Hamshaw found Buxton who got across his man to direct a superb header past John Danby.

A minute later Buxton was in the action at the other end of the field as he produced a superb block to deny Steele an almost certain goal after he had been superbly set up by Gregg Blundell.

The home side had clearly had a few stern words from manager Mark Wright at the interval and put the stags under pressure.

Nine minutes into the second period, a header was flicked on by Bolland and Blundell arrived at the back post to head the ball goalwards, but keeper White was on hand to tip the ball aside.

Blundell then blazed an effort over from only eight yards out after Dean Bennett's initial effort had been cleared off the line.

The ten men were being put under tremendous pressure, and it seemed almost inevitable that their backline would be breached.

And so it proved on 62 minutes as a ball swung in by Sean Hessey was well taken down by Steele, who rounded the keeper, before chipping into the net.

On a rare attack for the visitors, Simon Brown had a difficult chance as the ball dropped over his shoulder, and his first time effort flew well over the bar.

Fifteen minutes from time substitute Chris Holroyd held his head in his hands after his glancing header came back off the post with the keeper well beaten. Minutes later the same player tried a spectacular overhead kick which was easily gathered by White.

Stephen Dawson had a late chance to grab an unlikely winner but dragged his shot wide, and there was even time for Chester to have the ball in the net, but Graham Allen's header was ruled out for a foul.