Saturday, 9th January 2016: Mansfield Town 2, Stevenage 1

Mansfield Town v Stevenage - Skybet League Two - One Call Stadium - Saturday 9 jan 2016''Chris Clements celebrates his goal
Mansfield Town v Stevenage - Skybet League Two - One Call Stadium - Saturday 9 jan 2016''Chris Clements celebrates his goal

Mansfield Town pushed themselves back into the play-off reckoning with a 2-1 win over struggling Stevenage.

Goals from Chris Clements and debutant James Baxendale capped a fine win to end a run of four without a win.

Stags took the lead when Clements curled a free-kick home from the edge of the box on 42 minutes.

It capped a good first half for Stags which saw Clements and Westcarr go close.

Stevenage’s best chance of the half came when Michael Tonge hit the post with a curling effort from 20 yards.

Tonge wasted a good chance to level when he headed Rohdell Gordon’s corner wide on the hour mark.

Chris Day kept the visitors in it a minute later when he blocked Craig Westcarr’s strike with his legs.

But there was nothing he could do when Baxendale fired a perfectly placed effort past him from 20 yards on 65 minutes.

Armand Gnanduillet hit a consolation goal for the visitors from eight yards with the last kick of the game.

Mansfield started brightly with new signing James Baxendale fluffing a good chance to put them ahead on 10 minutes when he tamely fired at Chris Day after finding space in the box.

Stevenage were inches away from going in front two minutes later when Michael Tonge cracked a superb free-kick against the post.

Matt Green rifled an effort straight at Day from just outside the box after a good surging run on 17 minutes.

Stevenage’s lack of cutting edge was exposed on 21 minutes when they made a real hash of a two on one break from the halfway line.

With the lone defender back pedalling, Rohdell Gordon elected to go himself instead of slotting in Charloe Lee and the chance went begging.

Chris Clements came close to breaking the deadlock when his dipping header was alertly tipped over the bar by Day on 26 minutes.

Westcarr seemed certain to score seconds later after Baxendale laid the ball into his path,

But, as he prepared to pull the trigger, Connor Ogilvie made a late lunging tackle to put him off his stride and get a vital block in.

Stags finally took the lead on 42 minutes when Chris Clements sweetly curled a free-kick past Day into the top right corner.

It was a beautiful hit from the free-kick specialist and a carbon copy of his effort against Accrington Stanley the previous week.

Green nearly made it two after he pounced on a defensive blunder before seeing his shot blocked at the near post by the foot of day on 54 minutes.

Westcarr’s shot was blocked for a corner by Tonge a minute later, before sub Reggie Lambe fired a long-range effort over as Mansfield turned up the pressure.

Tonge headed wide at the back post on the hour mark after Gordon’s put over a dangerous cross.

It looked like Stags had doubled their lead a minute later when Westcarr got goalbound and fires a shot through Day’s legs.

But Day took the sting off the shot with the inside of his legs, before pouncing on a loose ball.

Baxendale capped an impressive debut when he gave Stags breathing space after he threaded the ball inside Day’s post from 20 yards on 65 minutes to cap a fine spell of Mansfield pressure.

Stevenage once again had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the score down when he did well to beat a Lambe header away with 79 minutes gone.

He was at best again on the stroke of full-time when he beat away a stinging effort from Reggie Lambe as Mansfield ended the game strongly.

Mansfield Town (4-2-3-1): Jensen, Hunt, Pearce, Tafazolli, Adams, Clements, Chapman, Westcarr, (Rose 69), J. Thomas (Lambe 45), Baxendale (Blair 87), Green

Subs not used: Shearer, Collins, Beardsley, Blair, McGuire

Stevenage (4-4-1): Day, Henry, McCombe, Franks. Ogilvie, Gordon (Conlon 69), Pett, Tonge, McFadzean (Gnanduillet 57), Lee, Matt.

Subs not used: Crowe, Hughes, Akinyemi, Johnson, Gorman.

Chad man of the match: James Baxendale.

Attendance: 3,126 (112).