MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 0 - Stags extend unbeaten run to eight

Kane Hemmings of Mansfield Town celebrates scoring during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Mansfield Town and Stevenage at the One Call Stadium, Mansfield, England on 18 November 2017. Photo by Leila Coker / PRiME Media Images.
Kane Hemmings of Mansfield Town celebrates scoring during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Mansfield Town and Stevenage at the One Call Stadium, Mansfield, England on 18 November 2017. Photo by Leila Coker / PRiME Media Images.

Mansfield Town made it eight games unbeaten with a 1-0 home success against Stevenage, thanks to an error from visiting keeper Joe Fryer.

The young Middlesbrough loanee spilled a long, high Joel Bryom free kick on 24 minutes to gift Kane Hemmings his first home goal.

When Fryer failed to hold the ball once more on 53 minutes, Hemmings thought he’d scored again, but after seeming to give the goal, the referee suddenly awarded Stevenage a free kick instead.

Only leading 1-0 made it a nervy second half, but the visitors were poor and failed to manage a single shot on target all game.

The Stags were excellent in the first half with Jacob Mellis, Joel Byrom and Alex MacDonald in magnificent form.

The second half was much scrappier with the home side very comfortable.

Jimmy Spencer was chosen to replace suspended striker Danny Rose, the club’s current top scorer and worked hard, leading the line well.

The only other change was Mellis, back from a one game ban, coming in for Paul Anderson into the midfield.

Stevenage named an unchanged side which meant top scorer Matty Godden was declared fit after leaving the pitch injured against Notts County last weekend.

Stags tested Fryer in the opening minute as Hamilton fired an angled shot at him at the near post as the visitors tried to clear a Byrom free kick.

But Stags could have fallen behind from Stevenage’s first attack on three minutes as Bennett failed to cut out Whelpdale’s pass into the box and Godden smashed a rising shot just over the top.

Pett was then too high with an effort from 20 yards.

On 10 minutes Diamond headed a Byrom corner back across goal and Spencer rose to power his header over the bar.

There was danger at the other end as Whelpdale retrieved the ball from Logan’s punch away and turned inside only to slice his finish wide of the far post, having done the hard bit in making space for the shot.

MacDonald tried to catch Fryer napping with a shot at his near post from a short corner on 16 minutes, but the keeper had it safely covered.

Newton’s late tackle on Hunt on 17 minutes saw players racing in to remonstrate and the referee eventually produce a deserved yellow card.

Mansfield began to take a grip and were rewarded on 24 minutes with a goal out of nothing, thanks to a blooper from Stevenage keeper Fryer.

Fryer looked favourite to grab a Byrom free kick into the box. But he failed to get hold of it and the ball ran loose behind him for Hemmings to tuck away one of the easiest goals he will ever score.

White sent a low shot across goal soon after and two more corners followed as Stags went for a second.

Byrom conceded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box on 32 minutes and Stags were relieved to see Martin’s free kick dip onto the roof of the net.

Back came Mansfield and crisp passes from MacDonald and Mellis worked the ball to Spencer on the left of the box on 35 minutes and he forced Fryer to parry his finish.

Two minutes were added on and in that added time the visitors almost sneaked an equaliser as Whelpdale fired a shot from the right of the box through a crowd of players and wide of the far post with any deflection likely to take it into the home net.

Two minutes after the restart MacDonald sent Stags’ first corner of the half to the near post where Spencer’s cushioned header forced Fryer into a good save.

Stags then appeared to have gone 2-0 up on 57 minutes. Fryer once again failed to hold the ball under pressure as Stevenage struggled to clear a Byrom free kick and Hemmings again punished him from close range.

The goal seemed to have been given and the players celebrated only to suddenly see a free kick had been given for a foul on the keeper and quickly have to sprint back into position with the home fans booing.

King was booked on 71 minutes for trying to pull Spencer’s shirt off as he tried to get away from him. Byrom sent the free kick in on the restart and Diamond was too high with his header.

With 11 minutes left Mellis gave away a needless free kick with a lunge on the edge of his own box as he took too many touches on the ball when he should have cleared, Martin’s free kick thankfully deflecting over.

Hemmings almost doubled his tally on 82 minutes when MacDonald’s low cross was only cleared as far as him, but his hurried effort went wide from 12 yards.

In the last minute of the 90 Atkinson left it too late to pull the trigger in the box and saw his finish deflect wide for a corner.

STAGS: Logan, White, Bennett, Diamond, Hunt; Hamilton, Byrom, Mellis (Atkinson 85), MacDonald; Hemmings (Butcher 90+3), Spencer (Sterling-James 81). Subs not used: Olejnik, Pearce, Anderson, Potter.

STEVENAGE: Fryer, Smith, Martin, King, Wilkinson, Whelpdale (Samuel 88), Beautyman (McKee HT), Pett (Conlon 64), Newton, Godden, Henry. Subs not used: Day, Franks, VanCooten, Wilmot.

REFEREE: Tom Nield of Lancashire.

ATTENDANCE: 3,353 (141 away).