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Match Report

 

Posted Sun 12 Aug 07 at 14:02 PM

BRENTFORD 1 MANSFIELD TOWN 1

A fine debut goal from Alan Connell was not enough to give Brentford an opening day victory as Mansfield Town held to The Bees to a 1-1 draw at Griffin Park.

Connell lashed home the opening goal on the first day of the 2007/08 season just before the quarter hour but Mansfield forward Michael Boulding produced an even better equaliser ten minutes later.

And although there were chances at either end during an entertaining afternoon neither team could find the winning goal.

The Bees started the brighter and Stags' goalkeeper Jason White had already smothered at the feet of Charlie Ide before Connell gave the home side a 14th minute advantage.

A corner was worked to Grant Basey, another debutant, and when his cross was half cleared Connell swivelled and placed a fierce shot past White and into the far corner from the right edge of the penalty area.

John Mousinho almost added a second but couldn't get enough height on a header from a Ben Starosta pass and Mansfield began to find a way back into the game.

Ben Hamer, making his league debut after signing on loan from Reading, blocked well from John McAliskey and produced an even better stop to deny Boulding after McAliskey's lay off.

And when Matthew Hamshaw tried to nod in the re-bound it spun away from him and left the wide man heading thin air.

Adrian Pettigrew, the powerful central defender on loan from Chelsea, kept The Bees lead in tact when he headed a McAliskey effort away from under his own crossbar but it only delayed the visitors' in drawing level.

Boulding found space 25 yards out and unleashed a curling left foot shot that arrowed into the top corner and gave Hamer no chance.

The Stags were growing in confidence and Martin McIntosh landed a header on top of the net from a Hamshaw cross while Alex John-Baptiste fired across the face of goal.

But Brentford ended the first half in the ascendancy with White saving well from Ide and Connell.

In scorching late afternoon heat the second half was a fine spectacle with end-to-end football and both teams going for the win, McAliskey should have given Mansfield the lead but shot against the angle of post and crossbar from a Boulding lay off.

And Dan Martin missed an even better chance to mark his first Mansfield appearance with a goal when he chipped over with only Hamer to beat while the Brentford stopper denied Boulding soon after.

The half time introduction of Paul Brooker and the switch to 4-4-2 midway through the half enabled Brentford to get a hold in the game with the influential Mousinho covering every blade of grass.

Brooker volleyed over, Pettigrew headed wide and Ide shot straight at White after nice interplay with Basey and Sammy Moore.

But Hamer was making the better saves as the more direct approach of the visitors was producing clearer openings.

He saved brilliantly twice from Boulding, once a volley after Lee Bell chipped the ball through and secondly when he powerfully headed a Stephen Dawson cross towards the top corner.

The Mansfield goal scorer did finally manage to beat Hamer moments later but his headed cannoned off a post.

Connell had a shot blocked for Brentford, after a quick break from Ide, and Brooker had an effort deflected away.

Mansfield substitute Nathan Arnold could have won it but for another low save by Hamer while Brentford thought they deserved a penalty when Pettigrew tumbled in the area with only White to beat.

But on a day with no bookings, despite a few ferocious challenges, nothing was given and the spoils were shared on the opening day.

Brentford: Hamer; Starosta, Mackie, Pettigrew, Basey; Mousinho (sub Smith 89 mins), O'Connor, Moore; Poole (sub Brooker h/t), Ide, Connell (sub Peters 79 mins)

Subs (not used): Heywood, Masters

Bookings:

Mansfield Town: White; John-Baptiste, McIntosh, Buxton, Jellyman; Hamshaw (sub Arnold 73 mins), Bell, Martin (sub Mullins 88 mins), Dawson; Boulding, McAliskey (sub Reet 80 mins)

Subs (not used): Muggleton, Sleath

Bookings:

Attendance: 4,909

Written by Chris Wickham

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