Mansfield Town fightback in vain as Burton Albion seal the win

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Despite a valiant second half fightback, Mansfield Town had left themselves too much to do after conceding two first half goals as they went down 2-1 at high-flying Burton Albion this afternoon.

Murray took a major gamble as he pitched in all five of his new signings into a completely new-look side on a windy afternoon in what is the nearest Stags have to a local derby this season.

And how different this game might have turned out to be had Reggie Lambe put away a golden chance in the first minute.

Instead, the Brewers served notice by hitting a post and then grabbed an eighth minute lead via a deflected Matty Palmer free kick.

The game looked all over when Kelvin Maynard headed the second home from a 24th minute corner.

But Mansfield, playing towards a superb and noisy away following, rallied well after the break and Reggie Lambe found a way past the rock solid Burton defence to pull one back on 51 minutes – the first goal Burton had conceded in 424 minutes of football.

They then spent much of the second half on the front foot and asked all sorts of questions of the Albion backline, but were unable to breach them a second time.

Nevertheless, there was much to be encouraged about from a new-look side that had only trained together twice.

Adam Smith, Ricky Ravenhill, Callum Elder, Billy Kee and Michael Raynes all made debuts and Reggie Lambe and Chris Clements came into the side.

Ryan Tafazolli missed out with a reported virus which, in a transfer window, is bound to start speculation.

Kee was booed on his first touch by the home fans but almost conjured up a goal inside the first 30 seconds as he flicked a low Clements pass into the path of Lambe in the box, but the youngster stroked his finish wide from seven yards.

But Albion came even closer on four minutes as Lenihan was afforded the room to shoot from 25 yards and saw his shot come back off the post.

And on eight minutes Burton were ahead. Sutton conceded a free kick on the right of the box and Palmer stepped up to curl the ball home side the near post for his first League goal.

Stags went straight back at them and Clements bundled a long Sutton cross back across the box and Albion conceded the game’s first corner which failed to trouble the home side.

Burton then won a corner of their own which Sutton headed away.

Palmer was offered another free kick chance, more central this time and 25 yards out, and this time he curled it inches wide.

Albion cleared another Mansfield corner and Ravenhill had a shot blocked from the follow-up.

Raynes got a head onto a Leihan shot to concede another corner on the right. From that Maynrad rose well to power home an unstoppable header from seven yards – his first goal for Burton – and Stags suddenly had a mountain to climb.

Clements sent a wild shot over the home bar, then Brown won Stags their third corner which the Brewers cleared.

They then broke well, the move ending with Smith having to get down to block a low Palmer shot.

A defensive mistake allowed Kee his first sight of goal on 28 minutes, but McLaughlin stood up well to beat away his finish after he had burst into the box.

McRory had a powerful volley blocked in Burton’s next raid.

Ravenhill was flattened in a challenge and needed treatment. But no foul was given and when Blyth was asked to kick the ball back to Smith, he blazed it truculently over the goal.

A mix-up between Smith and Riley led to a third home corner which was cleared to Lenihan, whose shot was blocked as Albion went in very much in charge.

Palmer lifted a 20 yard shot well over in the opening seconds on the restart.

Oliver flicked a header on from a long throw which flew straight at the home goal, at least forcing McLaughlin to grab it.

A Palmer flick into the air on the box caught on the wind and McLaughlin had to keep a close eye on it to cleanly grab as it bounced through everyone.

A good crossfield pass from Lambe found Oliver on the left, who wasn’t far wide with his first time effort, sidefooting wide of the far post.

Stags had started the second half on the front foot and were rewarded with a goal on 51 minutes.

Raynes flicked a long Elder throw from the left in front of goal where Lambe stretched out a leg to notch his first Mansfield goal.

From the restart Lambe almost levelled as he tried to accelerate down the middle of the box but a poor touch saw the ball roll to the the keeper.

Kee’s challenge on Lenihan saw his former team mates surround him and call for a red card, but the striker escaped with a yellow card on 54 minutes.

McLaughlin was able to get a fist onto another long Elder throw.

Mansfield forced another corner, which Clements swung over, Sutton headed goalwards and Kee failed to get his flick on target.

Burton were furious when Riley and Raynes ran into each other to leave Blyth clear and the referee somehow blew for a foul and booked Blyth.

Burton had hardly been out their half since the break, but forced a corner on 64 minutes, which was cleared at the second attempt

Three minutes later the Brewers forced two more in succession without profit.

Lenihan was booked for a foul on 70 minutes.

Ravenhill was then caught late by Weir and was angry nothing was given.

A great ball by Clements put Sutton into space on the right and, having sidestepped a defender, he blazed a poor left foot finished well over the far angle.

Another good burst of pace saw Lambe race into the box and take the ball wide of McLaughlin only to see McRory shepherd him wide and concede a corner.

That was cleared back out to Clements, who got the ball over at the second attempt and found Sutton, who completely missed his kick.

A Kee flick then offered Lambe a 20 yard shot which the keeper grabbed at the second attempt.

The referee was in the spotlight again as Oliver was blocked off chasing a Rhead flick after the big striker replaced Lambe.

Blyth turned on the right on 89 minutes to fire a powerful effort on target from 20 yards that Smith did well to hold above his head.

Fletcher came on for Elder in the four minutes of stoppage time for the final push, but the Brewers stood firm to take the spoils.

BURTON: McLaughlin, Edwards, Moushino, Taft, Weir, Beavon (Akins 84) , Blyth, McRory, Lenihan, Palmer (Sharps 90+1), Maynard (McGurk 79). Subs not used: Shearer, L. Bell, Harness, Maletic.

STAGS: Smith; Sutton, Raynes, Riley, Elder (Fletcher 90+1); Lambe (Rhead 79), Clements, Ravenhill, Brown; Oliver, Kee. Subs not used: Studer, F. Bell, McGuire, Heslop, Beevers.

REFEREE: Andy Haines of Tyne and Wear.