MATCH REPORT: Exeter City 2 Mansfield Town 0

Mansfield Town's Ashley Hemmings heads for goal - Pic by Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Ashley Hemmings heads for goal - Pic by Chris Holloway

Mansfield Town’s winless league run on the road stretches to four games as they went down 2-0 at Exeter City.

Ollie Watkins’ brace either side of the break separated the two sides as the Stags slipped to their first defeat at St James Park this century - with the last coming way back in 1999.

Malvind Benning saw red in stoppage-time for a second yellow card as the Stags were reduced to ten men.

Manager Steve Evans made two changes to the side that drew at Colchester United last time out for the trip down south.

Kevan Hurst and Pat Hoban came into the starting line-up with James Baxendale and Chris Hamilton the two to drop out.

The Stags had the first chance of the game as some scrappy hosts’ defending kept out efforts from Chris Clements and Matt Green.

After 19 minutes the visitors were behind as Watkins netted his fifth goal of the season.

Lee Holmes’ searing pace saw him prosper down the left with Watkins on hand to turn home his drilled cross from 12 yards out.

Minutes later and the Grecians’ lead was almost doubled with a fully stretched Ryan Bennett denying Reuben Reid an easy tap in.

Holmes almost found himself on the scoresheet as his thunderbolt of a strike narrowly flew past the post, before the midfielder curled another strike wide just before the break.

Watkins should have doubled his tally two minutes before half time as he slammed his shot wide.

Jamie McGuire missed a couple of chances after the break to steal a point as Evans’ men piled on the pressure.

David Wheeler could have put the game to bed as his volley whistled wide after he beat Scott Shearer to the ball.

And he was nearly made to pay down the other end as Green continued the chase for an equaliser by hammering a strike wide with 20 minutes to go.

Christy Pym held onto his clean sheet by the skin of his teeth with a good reaction stop with his legs keeping out Darius Henderson.

But Watkins’ solo last-minute effort secured the points as he charged from halfway and calmly finished past Shearer.

Exeter: Pym, Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman, Wheeler, Taylor, James (Tillson 70), Holmes (Oakley 74), Reid (McAlinden 80), Watkins. Subs not used: Harley, Grant, Hamon, Croll.

Stags: Shearer, Collins, Pearce, Bennett, Benning, Clements, McGuire (Thomas 74), Hemmings, Hurst (Henderson 45), Hoban (Hamilton 45), Green. Subs not used: Baxendale, Jensen, D.Rose, M.Rose.

Referee: Kevin Johnson.

Attendance: 3,626 (124).