Hard work, but Mansfield Town pip Carlisle United for eighth win in nine games
Mansfield Town pulled off the archetypal 'scruffy 1-0 win' over struggling Carlisle United amid the swirling wind of Storm Barra at the One Call Stadium tonight.
Stags began like an express train and grabbed an early lead through Stephen McLaughlin.
But as conditions worsened and Stags' big FA Cup win at the weekend began to catch up with them, the Cumbrians put up a brave fight and made the home side work hard for the three vital points as Stags made it eight wins in nine games.
The Stags side showed two changes with Rhys Oates and Ollie Clarke missing out with injuries, Jordan Bowery and Harry Charsley their replacements.
Striker Oli Hawkins, who missed Saturday's game with illness, was forced to sit out the game with a one game ban.
Defender Richard Nartey returned to the bench for the first time since he was injured in September.
Mansfield began the game in top gear, playing some neat, high-tempo, passing football and leaving Carlisle chasing shadows.
And it paid dividends as soon as the sixth minutes as a string of passes saw Hewitt whip in a cross to the far post from the right which placed it right on the head of McLaughlin, who made no mistake in burying his header.
Maris was wide with a hopeful effort from almost 40 yards on 10 minutes.
United replied with a corner and then on 13 minutes Abrahams came inside from the right and fired at goal, but Bishop was always behind it.
A mistake by McDonald on 26 minutes let Stags in as Bowery slotted Charsley down the middle. But Howard got down to keep out his finish and McDonald made amends as he made sure Maris' follow-up went out for a corner with a timely block.
United earned some respite with a couple of corners and were almost gifted an equaliser on 34 minutes as Charsley headed upwards at the far post and the ball almost drifted under his own bar on the wind, Bishop saving his bacon by tipping over.
Stags were playing keep-ball at the back on 40 minutes but lost control and allowed Abrahams another shot which again was straight at Bishop.
Hewitt then made a crucial sliding tackle to turn away a low cross with two opponents racing in behind him.
More Carlisle pressure saw a low Guy shot take a deflection but pass wide for a corner with Bishop helpless as the visitors ended the half with their best spell so far and Stags glad to hear the whistle.
There was concern for Stags 10 minutes into the second half as Forrester stayed down after trying to play a through ball.
He was eventually replaced by Rawson.
On 64 minutes, after more home pressure, Stags were almost caught on the break, Bowery taking a yellow card for the team to halt Guy's menacing progress.
O'Toole joined him in the book for some afters after he had tackled Dickenson on 70 minutes.
A minute later from a Carlisle corner Hewitt had to clear a Fishburn header off the line.
Seconds later Mellor drilled a low ball in from the right and Dickenson turned it over from seven yards.
Charsley pulled a tired shot wide near the end.
In the five added minutes O'Toole came up with two superb interventions in the home box as Carlisle pushed hard.
And in the second of those minutes Stags had a huge let-off as Gibson's dipping 25-yarder came back off the home bar.
Bishop then safely held a last gasp Dickenson free kick to the huge relief of the home fans.
STAGS: Bishop, Hewitt, O'Toole, Forrester (Rawson 57), McLaughlin, Charsley, Stirk, Maris (Sinclair 86), Lapslie, Quinn, Bowery. SUBS NOT USED: Shelvey, Nartey, Burke, Law, Gale.CARLISLE: Howard, Armer, McDonald, Guy (Mellor 64), Dickenson, Mellish, Abrahams (Fishburn 64), Feeney, Whelan, Gibson, Young (Devine 78). SUBS NOT USED: Norman, Dinzeyi, Charters, Mampala.REFEREE: Neil Hair.ATTENDANCE: 3, 695 (133 away).