JAY Harris stole a late, late winner for play-off hopefuls Wrexham to break home hearts at the end of a sensational five-goal thriller at Field Mill this afternoon, reports John Lomas.
An eighth minute defensive lapse had seen the outstanding Mathias Pogba give Wrexham an eighth minute lead.
But spurred on by a big home crowd and amid an atmosphere recalling Stags’ Football League days, Mansfield roared back to lead at the break with two goals in eight minutes at the end of the half.
Stags deserved it after edging the first half, but Wrexham had the better of the second and drew level 19 minutes from time.
That would have been a fair result, but the Welsh club, now 12 games unbeaten, had the final say with a eflected effort to send almost 500 away fans crazy behind the goal.
Both sets of fans had come together before the game to unite against the clubs’ respective landlords, but that solidarity was short-lived when the game kicked off with police called in to quell trouble in the away end.
The cheaper admission prices saw the crowd bumped up to 3,266 and none of the home fans will have gone away disappointed with the spectacle and the effort, only the result.
Mitchley needed treatment for an early injury in a frantic start.
But it was the Dragons who grabbed an eighth minute lead.
Stags’ marking lapsed as Mangan was left all alone at the far post to receive a long Obeng cross.
He seemed to try to guide it back over the keeper but the ball flew across the box, Keates helped it back into the centre and Pogba was there to drill home from 10 yards.
Stags responded with four corners in three minutes, the first of which saw Connor get a head to it and the ball finish on the roof of the net off the head of Sinclair and the third ending with Briscoe having a low shot blocked from Foster’s pull-back.
As Stags continued to press, Connor got down the left well and poked a low pass into the centre which went just behind the incoming Mitchley six yards from goal.
The Mansfield wall did its job to keep out a Keates free kick. But Creighton hoisted the ball back into the middle and Pogba should have done better then heading it straight at Collett.
Soon after a section of Wrexham began jostling with stewards down in the West Stand Corner of the North Stand. One ran on the pitch and was tripped up by Murray as he went to take a corner which drew big cheers from the home fans.
Police then joined the stewards to settle the visitors down while Cain took the corner and Connor guided a dipping header over the far post.
On 32 minutes Cain’s free kick was headed on by Foster and Silk met it with a tame close range header straight to Maxwell.
But Stags were soon deservedly on level terms. Maxwell then did well to fist away a dangerous Cain cross after he had left two men on the floor on the right in his wake on 39 minutes.
But the ball only went out as far as Briscoe who steadied himself before blasting home a superb net-bursting finish down the centre from 20 yards.
Another good burst of pace by Cain took him into the right hand side of the box in stoppage time and his low finish was blocked.
But Stags swept ahead in the second minute of stoppage time. Briscoe twisted and turned in the box, trying to create space for a finish. When he finally pulled the trigger, the ball was blocked but sailed towards Thompson who controlled and then crashed it high into the net from six yards.
It was a thrilling end to a thrilling half of football with a real atmosphere around the ground.
The visitors were almost level three minutes after the restart. A corner was only cleared as far as Keates who pulled the ball back for Morrell to blaze over from 18 yards.
Mangan went past Silk down the left and was pulled back for his troubles, earning the full back the game’s first booking on 57 minutes.
On 63 minutes Smith replaced Mitchley for the home side. Smith went to left wing and Briscoe moved up to play in the hole behind Connor.
Ashton was not too far over as he whipped in an 18 yard shot from a half clearance as an exciting game continued to ebb and flow.
On 68 minutes Connor brought a good save out of Maxwell with a 20 yard drive after turning well onto Murray’s through ball, the keeper turning it round his right hand post.
Pogba continued to look dangerous and Sandwith was booked for fouling him.
But the visitors were back all square on 71 minutes. During another spell of Wrexham pressure, Creighton put the ball into the near post from the right and Morrell stole in first unchallenged to guide a close range header past a helpless Collett, the Wrexham player cautioned for over-celebrating.
Sinclair almost put through his own net in clearing a Briscoe cross at his near post after another thrilling counter-attack by the Stags, Sandwith then heading over from the corner.
A scramble at the other end saw Collett down at the feet of Mangan to grab the loose ball.
Cain was added to the book on 76 minutes after a challenge with Ashton.
The game was building to an exciting climax and Collett punched away a long Obeng throw under pressure.
Briscoe accidentally caught Creighton with a boot in a flying challenge to earn Stags’ fourth yellow card seven minutes from the end.
Wrexham came close again a minute from time as Briscoe gave the ball in midfield and Harris took it on before unleashing a superb 30 yard dipper that Collett reached up and touched onto the bar and out for a corner.
But there was still a sting in the tail in this game as Wrexham edged back in front a minute into stoppage time, a left wing cross being volleyed at goal by Harris from 18 yards and flying in off the head of Stags skipper Murray, giving Collett no chance.
It was heartbreaking for Stags after such a good display in front of such a big crowd.
STAGS: Collett; Silk, Foster, Sandwith, Stonehouse; Cain, Murray, Thompson, Briscoe; Connor, Mitchley (Smith 63mins). Subs not used: Nix, Naylor, Istead, Medley.
WREXHAM: Maxwell, Obeng, Ashton, Blackburn, Harris, Mangan (Andrews 90+2), Morrell, Keates, Sinclair, Creighton, Pogda (Knight-Percival 89). Subs not used: Brown, Cieslewicz, Tolley.
REFEREE: Stephen Smith of Co. Durham.
ATTENDANCE: 3,266 (498 away).
CAUTIONS: Stags – Silk 57mins, Sandwith 70mins, Cain 76mins, Briscoe 83mins. Wrexham – Obeng 59mins, Morrell 71mins.
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Kevin Sandwith.