STAGS CLOSE TO AN UPSET AS CHANCES GO BEGGING
Murray refusing to slam strikers
MANSFIELD boss Adam Murray came within a whisker of masterminding a Cup upset against League One draw specialists Oldham in an entertaining goalless tie.
Both sides squandered chances in difficult, blustery conditions, but Mansfield played the better football.
Mansfield striker Matt Green, without a goal in six matches, was twice denied just after half-time by first goalkeeper Joel Coleman and then full-back Cameron Dummigan from the follow-up, while Reggie Lamb also went close.
Murray said: “It should have gone in. Reggie should have scored and nine times out of ten he would have done.
“We have been working all week on our final third play and again we’ve seen a lot of crosses going into the box and into the final third, but we just need something to go in off someone’s backside.
“We were excellent and we dominated the game. We played at the right tempo and intensity.
“Some of our play at times was top drawer and we did everything but score.
“If we play that week in week out, in our bread and butter, we will win a lot more than we lose.
“I was chuffed with the perform ance , even though we missed that end product. It will come.
“Our keeper has had one save to make and that says it all. We just need that cutting edge and that rub of the green.”
Former Stoke City striker Ricardo Fuller wasted injury-hit Oldham’s best chance, side-footing wide from 12 yards after being left unmarked in front of goal in the 29th minute. It was the visitors’ best chance as they carved out the clearer opportuni- ties in a tight opening dominated by a congested midfield.
Mark Yeates’ early shot was deflected over and then an outstretched boot from Mansfield central defender Ryan Tafazolli blocked Daniel Philliskirk’s goalbound drive.
Disappointed Oldham boss David Dunn admitted his side had not played well, saying: “We weren’t good enough with the ball.We have be better when we are in possession.
“Ricardo is disappointed he didn’t hit the target, but we are in the hat for the next round, so that is not too bad. The lads worked really hard. “Mansfield are a tough side and work hard for each other and we will have to show the same desire and commitment in the replay. With the injuries and suspensions we have picked up
recently we had to shuffle the pack, which wasn’t ideal.
“Without making excuses we are probably short of four, five or six players who would be starting.”
Green was denied a shooting opportunity by last-ditch defending from Joseph Mills as Mansfield fought back later in the first half.
Then in first half injury-time Rose’s quick break and astute pass freed Craig Westcarr, whose teasing cross was volleyed over from four yards by the unmarked Lambe. Lambe’s striking partner Green was twice denied a breakthrough in the 57th minute after a fine pass by Nicky Hunt and dummy by Lambe. Green raced clear and after his shot was saved by keeper Coleman, fullback Dummigan cleared the follow-up off the line.
Home keeper Brian Jensen dived full length to tip away substitute Lee Croft’s curling drive as play quickly switched from end-to-end in the second half as the fixture somewhat came alive.
As Mansfield piled on the pressure for a late winner, Lambe, Westcarr and Thomas all had shots blocked in a frenetic finish.
LAMBE UNDERCOOKED: Mansfield’s Reggie Lambe holds his head in his hands as Oldham Athletic goalkeeper Joel Coleman tips over his volley
NO JOY: Stags boss Adam Murray