LOUIS Briscoe’s goal 14 seconds after the half-time interval clinched Mansfield Town a hard-earned fifth away win in six trips in a one-sided affair at dogged Hyde last night.
Stags dominated the game from start to finish but in the end had to grind out the three points, the winning goal also having an element of fortune about it as Briscoe’s far post cross curled inside the angle.
But it was no less than Paul Cox’s men deserved in a powerful display against a toothless Tigers, who have only won once since the New Year.
Junior Daniel wasted the best chance of the first half and Briscoe almost ended the night with a brace, but saw a superb header crash against the bar.
Credit to Hyde for their determined defending and also creating a couple of late scares on an otherwise easy night for keeper Alan Marriott. But it was the right result in the end.
As the first of three away trips in eight days, it also set Stags up nicely for Saturday’s tough trip to Luton Town before Tuesday’s local derby at Lincoln City. Mansfield created the first danger in the second minute when Briscoe lofted a high ball forward which Green fed to the overlapping Daniel, whose first time shot was blocked.
Hyde quickly ran up three corner kicks, which the visitors defended.
Beevers then slipped a neat pass inside on the right for Briscoe to drill a tempting low ball across the face of goal.
On nine minutes Briscoe threaded a pass down the centre which saw Green force a decent save from Dilo with his powerful, low finish.
Murray was then too high after Hyde struggled to clear a far post cross from Briscoe as the Stags continued their promising start.
Jones was too high with his header from the second of two Mansfield corners as the action remained confined to the home half.
Briscoe was harshly booked on 29 minutes when he tracked back well to halt a home breakaway, the referee deciding he had pulled back McCartan. Sedgwick’s free kick then skimmed a head into the six yard box where Marriott grabbed the loose ball.
Stags broke quickly, Green eventually setting up Stevenson for a stinging 18 yard blast straight at Dilo.
Stags created the chance of the game so far on 43 minutes – and it missed it.
Beevers curled in the perfect pass between the keeper and last defender to give Daniel a clear shot at goal from 12 yards which he should have buried but instead bundled wide of the far post.
Dilo was down again to his left to keep out a 20 yard shot from Green a minute from the break.
It had been a one-sided but frustrating half for Mansfield whom, for all their possession, had failed to hurt Hyde.
However, Stags made the perfect start to the second half as Briscoe’s cross-cum-shot found the net within 14 seconds!
Cutting into the box from the right, Briscoe curled a powerful ball towards the far post which went across a helpless Dilo and inside the far post under the angle.
On 49 minutes Daniel threaded the ball down the centre for Green to chase. Teasing two defenders, he sent his final shot narrowly wide of the left post.
Two minutes later Briscoe almost doubled his and the visitors’ tally as he met Stevenson’s left wing cross with a powerful header that bounced back off the bar.
Murray’s forward ball then saw Daniel beat Ashworth with ease before trying to beat Dilo at his near post and seeing the keeper beat the effort away for a corner, from which Dempster looked to have a very valid claim for a penalty as he seemed to be held onto and hauled down.
It took 56 minutes for Hyde to have a shy at goal, Spencer curling the ball over the far angle from 18 yards.
Jennings brought down Brown on 58 minutes for a booking, followed a minute later by Cassidy as he hacked down Briscoe when Stags looked to be onto a promising breakaway.
Howell was too high with his header from a Jennings free kick, won tenaciously by the battling Green.
On 70 minutes Green raced away again onto yet another long ball forward, this time from Briscoe, but Dilo denied him with his legs at his near post.
So dominant for so long, Stags then survived two scares in as many minutes.
First sub Grant Spencer drilled the ball right across the face of goal from the right.
Then, when Marriott came for, but failed to get a fist on a free kick, Jones had to clear a home header off the line.
Howell almost sealed it near the end as Jennings put the ball in for a second time after his free kick was cleared, and Howell got there before Dilo only to stab the ball across the face of goal.
Stags sub Wright was inches wide with the last kick of the game on a Mansfield break.