Controversy as furious Mansfield Town lose at Carlisle United

Mansfield Town's automatic promotion hopes were further dented as they slid to a controversial 1-0 defeat at Carlisle United this afternoon.

Monday, 18th April 2022, 6:33 pm

Omari Patrick’s second-half winner sealed the hosts’ safety as the Stags, who slipped down to eighth in the League Two table, suffered a third defeat in four matches.

But Mansfield were convinced they had been robbed of a first half goal as a Jamie Murphy shot came down off the underside of the bar on 41 minutes and appeared to cross the line only for play to be waved on.

Stags' only consolation was that automatic promotion rivals Port Vale also lost, 3-1 at home to Bristol Rovers, and Stags still have a game in hand on them, though the win for Rovers as well as a win for Northampton Town have boosted those clubs’ hopes of grabbing third spot as well in what looks a fascinating finale to the season.

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Mansfield Town believe this 'goal' was over the line at Carlisle.

But for now Stags are even out of the play-off spots after the most miserable of Easters.

Ahead of the clash at Brunton Park, Stags boss Nigel Clough made a couple of alterations to his starting line-up following the Good Friday home loss to Sutton.

John-Joe O’Toole and Farrend Rawson were left on the bench for this one, with Stephen McLaughlin and Murphy stepping back in after injury.

The visitors made a terrific start to the game.

Elliott Hewitt in aerial action at Carlisle. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

Stephen Quinn was found by Elliott Hewitt on the edge of the Carlisle box, but his crisp strike took a deflection before drifting narrowly wide.

Ryan Stirk then hit an equally impressive shot which was heading for the bottom until impressive Carlisle keeper Mark Howard dived full length to parry.

Ollie Hawkins and Jordan Bowery were also denied by Howard as the Stags dominated, though at the other end McLaughlin was forced into a terrific goal-line clearance to thwart Dynel Simeu.

Shortly before the break a cracking strike from Murphy bounced down off the crossbar before the ball was cleared to safety and, with the linesman not up with play, Stags were denied to the fury of their fans at that end.

Mansfield Town defender James Perch wins the header. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

Despite that setback, McLaughlin fired just off target as the Stags picked up their impressive momentum soon after the restart.

Clough’s men remained firmly on top, but it was the Cumbrians who struck in the 56th minute.

Daniel Devine played in Patrick on the left, and he controlled well before driving an angled shot high into the net past Nathan Bishop.

It was soon almost two, but this time Bishop tipped Morgan Feeney’s shot onto the crossbar.

Jamie Murphy makes a break down the left wing. Photo by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

The woodwork later came to the Stags’ rescue again when Simeu headed against a post.

Stags threw everything forward, surviving several Carlisle breaks when outnumbered, but the home side stood firm to seal a first win in five that ensured they have another season of League Two football to look forward to.

Stags now need to regroup ahead of two season-defining home games in four days next weekend.

CARLISLE: Howard, Riley, Simeu, Feeney, Mellish, Armer (Roberts, 71), Gibson, Devine, Dickenson, Patrick, Alessandra (Sho-Silva, 86). SUBS NOT USED: Norman, Mellor, McDonald, Omotoye, Dennis.

STAGS: Bishop, Hewitt, Perch, Hawkins, McLaughlin (Maris, 80), Stirk (Wallace, 68), Longstaff, Quinn, Murphy, Bowery (Johnson, 75), Akins. SUBS NOT USED: Stech, Rawson, Law, O’Toole.

REFEREE: Ross Joyce.

ATTENDANCE: 5,496 (634 away).