MANSFIELD TOWN 3, MACCLESFIELD TOWN 1, Tuesday, 9th April

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MAGNIFICENT Mansfield Town produced the goods when it mattered again to lift themselves two points clear at the top of the BSBP table and inch closer to the title with this comprehensive win over Macclesfield Town.

Playing one of their two crucial games in hand on leaders Kidderminster, Stags steadied the nerves with Matt Green’s 23rd goal of the season on 17 minutes before goal ace defender Luke Jones headed the second on 41 minutes.

Lee Stevenson then struck on 51 minutes to make it safe, before Pablo Mills’ late consolation, as Mansfield now head to Braintree on Saturday still with a game in hand, knowing they could be back in the Football League by the end of Saturday.

If Stags win at Braintree, Kidderminster will need to beat Wrexham in a 5.15pm kick-off to keep the title race alive with them having only one more game left to play.

That would then leave Mansfield a second chance to seal it at Hereford in an all-ticket game next Tuesday before the possible drama of the last day when Stags and Harriers both end their fixtures.

This win saw Stags equal the club record number of points of 89 that they set last season, equal the most number of league wins in a season – 28 - and complete yet another double.

With Macclesfield without a manager, without a win in five games and without injured top scorer Matthew Barnes-Homer, Stags were always confident of the win if they could keep their nerve against a side now unable to make the play-offs after being early league leaders.

As hoped, Stags looked totally up for the challenge from the off and got the home fans on their side immediately with some determined early hungry hussling.

An early free kick from Murray saw Jones head goalwards, Howell just unable to turn it home and then Stevenson seeing keeper Taylor smother his low cross-cum-shot at his near post.

Almost immediately Daniel drove into the box on the left and drilled a low cross-cum-shot right across the face of goal to the gasps of the Stags fans round the ground.

Kissock had a pot at goal from 30 yards for the visitors on 11 minutes, but it lacked any real venom to trouble Marriott.

But home nerves were also evident as a string of poor passes ended with Marriott having to control and clear a high backpass.

Stags needed a goal to steady themselves. And it came from a free kick on the left.

Jackson was lucky not to be booked for bringing down Stevenson as he got away down the wing.

But Stags produced a much better punishment as Murray’s kick bounced through everyone towards the centre of goal where Green’s deft touch made sure it found the back of the net from close range.

Stags quickly followed that with two corners, Jones seeing a far post header deflect wide from the first and Daniel well wide from 18 yards from the second.

Winn then saw a half-volley in the Mansfield box blocked by an alert Jones.

A low Daniel shot clipped a defender’s heel to pass a foot wide and spark two more corners.

On 35 minutes Stevenson robbed Mills outside the box, but Green got involved in the move from an offside position and the chance was gone.

Marriott was then furious he was adjudged to have turned a vicious rising Macreth shot over for a corner, saying he didn’t touch it.

Briscoe almost put Stevenson clean through, but Audel stayed with him and did well to cover.

More home anxiety was lifted with a precious second goal four minutes from the break.

It again stemmed from a Murray free kick, this time from the right, and, when Jones was offered a free header from eight yards, there was only one place the ball was going as he buried his eighth of the season.

Winn was high and wide with the last effort of the half as Stags went in firmly in the box seat.

Murtagh fired the first shot of the second half straight at Marriott from 30 yards.

But, as it was on Saturday at Barrow, it was Stags who netted the all-important third goal early in the second half.

It was Stevenson who took himself into double figures for the season as first Green, then Briscoe helped the ball on for him to steady himself before dispatching a deadly finish under the dive of Taylor from 10 yards.

Howell was booked for his late lunge on Braham-Barrett on 54 minutes, Audel flicking a header over from Winn’s free kick.

Briscoe was enjoying his night and the Silkmen were finding it hard to halt him, Fairhurst hacking him down on 61 minutes for a booking, Briscoe then seeing a yellow himself a minute later for a foul on Kissock.

Green was only just wide with a 20-yard half-volley from a partial clearance.

Meikle took the place of Briscoe for the last 20 minutes.

Stags were queuing up to add to the tally as Meikle volleyed inches wide, Rhead headed a corner just over and Daniel forced successive saves from Taylor.

But there was a sting in the tail as Mills was allowed to steer home a header from a Jackson free kick a minute from time to give the Silkmen a consolation.

MANSFIELD TOWN: Marriott; Beevers, Jones, Dempster, Taylor; Howell (Chapman, 85), Murray, Stevenson; Briscoe (Meikle, 70), Green (Rhead 73), Daniel. Subs: Sutton, Hutchinson.

MACCLESFIELD TOWN: Taylor, Jackson, Mackreth, Murtagh, Winn (Madjo 60), Wedgbury, Kissock, Fairhurst, Braham-Barrett, Audel, Mills. Subs: Amores, Burgess, Gnahoua, Martin.

REFEREE: Declan Ford of Lincoln.

SCORELINE: Stags: Green (17), Jones (41), Stevenson (51); Macclesfield: Mills (89)

ATTENDANCE: 3,694 (60 away)

STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Adam Murray