05:30 Thursday 02 January 2014

SLIDESHOW: Mansfield Town 0, Burton Albion 0

Written byTOM SLOAN

BURTON Albion had to settle for a point from their trip to struggling Mansfield Town as they recorded a first 0-0 draw of the season.

The Brewers bossed long stages of yesterday’s match at Field Mill, but in difficult conditions found it tough to create many chances.

It was a far from entertaining encounter for the 729 Albion fans who made the trip up the A38 – but with driving, swirling winds whipping heavy rain into the ground, that was no real surprise.

The closest Burton came to a goal was when second-half substitute Chris Hussey hit the outside of a post with a header.

While a draw against a side with one win in the league since September might seem something of a disappointment on the face of it, it is another point and clean sheet for the Brewers.

They are now 10 matches unbeaten and sitting in the heady heights of second place in League Two.

Albion have avoided defeat over the Christmas fixtures, with eight points from a possible 12.

It has been a productive couple of weeks for them and they are showing real consistency, determination and a desire to not lose games.

It is 59 games since they last drew 0-0, at Morecambe in October, 2012.

But with their home form now looking solid, the odd goalless draw away from home will do them no harm.

Manager Gary Rowett named an unchanged side from the 1-0 win over Newport County after his players showed few signs of fatigue over the festive programme.

Michael Symes (knee) was the only absentee, while Jack Dyer was loaned to Conference side Kidderminster Harriers on the morning of the match.

For Mansfield, striker Matt Rhead passed a late fitness test on an ankle problem, but midfielder Jamie McGuire was ruled out with a groin injury.

Playing football of any quality was almost impossible as the wind whipped sheets of rain into Field Mill.

Both sides struggled with the conditions, with Mansfield failing to use their wind advantage in the opening 45 minutes.

Albion had a chance after three minutes when Billy Kee, their best player on the day, robbed a napping Ritchie Sutton near the by-line before firing a powerful shot at goal which Alan Marriott tipped away.

On 13 minutes, Adam McGurk came close with a shot from the edge of the box after he won possession and beat Martin Riley with a neat turn.

Phil Edwards went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when he hit a low volley at goal from Ian Sharps’ knock-down on 21 minutes.

But Ryan Tafazolli deflected the ball a yard wide.

Dean Lyness went untested in the first half, with the Stags failing to muster a single effort on goal.

On 51 minutes, Mansfield finally had their first shot as Rhead turned and fired well wide.

Kee then headed an Alex MacDonald cross at goal on 64 minutes as the Brewers looked to turn the screw, but Marriott was down to push it away for a corner.

Sharps was then pushed off it as he looked to get a head on a dangerous Shane Cansdell-Sherriff cross seconds later.

Rowett threw on Rene Howe and Hussey for McGurk and MacDonald as he looked to maintain the pressure on the hosts.

Mansfield finally came to life on 66 minutes when Ollie Palmer blasted a shot just wide on 66 minutes after Albion failed to deal with a free kick from James Jennings.

It was a bit of a let-off after they had dominated so much of the game.

With quarter of an hour left Anthony Howell got above Edwards at the far post and met a cross from Adam Murray, but the ball flew just wide.

Seconds later, Hussey hit the post for Albion.

Jimmy Phillips went one way and the other before crossing from the right for Hussey, getting above Darryl Westlake, to head at goal, but the ball thumped off the outside of the post and away for a goal kick.

Kee then got a shot away through a crowded box but it was parried by Marriott and picked up at the second attempt.

With the clock ticking down, Cansdell-Sherriff thumped a header at goal from Hussey’s swerving corner but the ball flicked off a defender and went for another corner.

The Australian was hurt in going for the header and was replaced by Zander Diamond for the last 10 minutes, with the fans’ favourite soon heading an Edwards free kick down in the box. Kee, though, was off target with his header from it.

Mansfield had a late free kick but it came to naught as the Brewers comfortably saw out the point.

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