No blame

Game as Stags miss spot-kick

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Tim Mor­riss

ADAM Mur­ray re­fused to pin the blame on Matt Green af­ter his missed penalty al­lowed Ox­ford to fight back and deny Mans­field a first home win of the sea­son.

Green squan­dered Mans­field’s first spot kick for 86 games in the eighth minute, three min­utes af­ter Craig West­carr blasted the home side in front on his full de­but.

And Ke­mar Roofe de­servedly lev­elled for Ox­ford from the penalty spot on the hour, stretch­ing their un­beaten run to 13 matches – their best in the league for 21 years.

Mur­ray said: “Matt has just apol­o­gised to me and said he let me down, which shows how hon­est he is. He is a big player for us.

“To to go toeto-toe with one of the favourites for this league and come out with a point has to be pleas­ing.

“It should have been all over in the first 20 min­utes when we might have been three up but some­times that’s the way these things go and you end up grind­ing out a point.

“When they got chances we re­lied on our shot-stop­per. That’s what he gets paid for and he pulled off a cou­ple of worldies.”

West­carr lashed in a 16yard half-volley af­ter Ox­ford failed to clear Adam Chap­man’s long throw to give the home side a dream start.

Five min­utes later Mitchell Rose’s de­ter­mi­na­tion forced Ox­ford keeper Sam Slo­combe into a rash trip, gift­ing Mans­field their first penalty since Oc­to­ber 2013.

How­ever, Green, against his old club, crashed the spot kick against the bar with Slo­combe beaten, be­fore the keeper de­nied the striker when one-onone mo­ments later.

As Ox­ford fought back from their slow start a fly­ing save by Brian Jensen kept out Roofe’s curl­ing free-kick and Alex Mac­Don­ald’s low drive struck the post.

The visi­tors con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate in the sec­ond half and were re­warded when Reg­gie Lambe fouled Cal­lum O’Dowda, al­low­ing Roofe to level from the penalty spot.

Roofe then mis­cued a Ge­orge Bal­dock cross at the far post be­fore Jensen de­nied Hyl­ton a late win­ner with a div­ing save.

Ox­ford boss Michael Ap­ple­ton said: “We were lucky in the first ten min­utes.We should have been 2-0 down and pos­si­bly 3-0. I have got to be happy with the char­ac­ter we showed to come back.

“For ten min­utes we were rub­bish but af­ter that we got back into it and set­tled down.

“The mes­sage at half­time was to make sure we start right.We did that and in the sec­ond half we were very good at times.

“A cou­ple of bet­ter de­ci­sions in the box and if a cou­ple of ric­o­chets had gone our way we might have won. It was a game we would have lost last sea­son.”

STAR MAN RYAN TAFAZO

LLI Mansfi

eld

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