MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 2 - More home misery for Stags

Mansfield's Lee Collins battles with Stevenage's Dale Gorman
Mansfield's Lee Collins battles with Stevenage's Dale Gorman

Mansfield Town suffered more home misery as Aston Villa loanee Harry McKirdy’s dazzling solo goal secured a 2-1 win for struggling Stevenage this afternoon.

A poor game came to life when Charlie Lee headed the visitors in front on 32 minutes.

Stags wasted good chances to level before Pat Hoban’s first goal at One Call Stadium equalised on 54 minutes.

But parity was only held for three minutes as McKirdy marked his full debut by by bursting clear from his own half and showing electric pace to get into the home box and steer a low finish under Scott Shearer.

The visitors won few friends with some dramatic rolling around, timewasting and challenges.

But on the day Stags failed to find their fluency and again failed to get the rub of the green as their six game unbeaten run was unceremoniously halted.

The Mansfield side showed just one change with Alex Iacovitti in for Mitch Rose, the Forest loanee in at left back with Mal Benning pushed to left midfield.

Stags were again looking to try to kickstart their home form, with just two home wins all season, against the struggling visitors.

They went straight at the visitors and Bennett scuffed a tame, low shot to keeper Jones in the opening minute after some sublime control from Green to control a long, high ball into the box.

Stags won a free kick to the right of centre after six minutes, a perfect position for Benning’s trusty left foot, but the kick was blocked by the wall.

The home side were forced to play on with 10 men for a while after a clash of heads with Kennedy saw Pearce suffer a cut to his forehead and went down the tunnel for treatment. The stoppage did seem to spoil their early momentum.

On 16 minutes Stevenage had their first goal attempt as a misdirected header from Green went back towards his own box on the right and Lee tried a snapshot that flew well over.

Stags then won their first corner which saw it taken short for a neat training ground routine of passes which ended with the ball being blocked and cleared.

Hurst came very close on 21 minutes as the ball dropped invitingly for a snapshot that dipped just over the bar.

Mansfield were almost caught on the hop by a counter attack as Kennedy found himself in space on the right, but his cross failed to find a team mate.

The deadlock of what had been a very dour game was finally broken on 32 minutes.

Clements conceded a free kick 25 yards from goal, Cowans floated it into the box and Lee was allowed time to flick an unstoppable header past Shearer.

Wilkinson wiped out Benning with a lunging tackle on 35 minutes to earn a booking.

Two minutes later Benning should have levelled as he got on the end of an excellent Hurst cross from the right, but powered a header over from six yards.

There was fury as Henry rolled around after a Green challenge and a home attack was halted, Stags fans and players making their views known to the referee.

Seconds later Stags had a penalty shout as Benning was pushed in the back by Henry as Benning tried to get a head on the ball, but nothing was given.

Benning and Gorman were having a real battle on the Stags left, Benning getting away with a shove and then Gorman booked for the retaliatory push soon after.

Even deeper into the five added minutes Pearce headed over from a Collins cross.

Within four minutes of the restart Stags sent on Thomas for Iacovitti.

On 52 minutes Shearer was forced into a save as Lee tried to curl a 20 yard shot round him.

But the Stags were level on 54 minutes.

Bennett curled a cross over from the right which almost crept under the far angle. The keeper clawed it downwards where Hoban initially had a shot for a handball but then steered home a low finish on the turn from five yards.

But Stags were only level for three minutes as they were caught on the break.

A loose ball ran kindly towards McKirdy who broke away from inside his own half and raced clear, Collins’ lunge unable to prevent the Villa youngster tucking away a low finish to crown a superb run.

Cowans had a shot charged down on 63 minutes and crashed the follow-up well over the bar.

Two minutes later Henderson came on for Hurst as Stags tried to go for the jugular more.

On 66 minutes goal hero McKirdy was booked for a foul as he tried to get on the end of a cross.

Henry was added to the book for a foul on 70 minutes.

Stags’ final change saw Danny Rose on for Hoban up front on 73 minutes and seconds later keeper Jones was booked for time wasting.

Stevenage almost added to their tally on 76 minutes as Liburd forced a save from Shearer with the home side outnumbered in their own box, though a square pass might have a better option with Kennedy free to his left.

On 78 minutes Clements sent the ball in the the far post where Benning powered a header into the sidenetting, some home fans thinking it had gone in.

Kennedy was booked for more Stevenage timewasting on 80 minutes.

In six added minutes Pearce was booked for a foul.

Bennett might have had a hat-trick in stoppage time. He curled a decent effort over the far angle, sidefooted another chance over soon after and had a low shot deflect wide.

Henderson also headed over as the sands of time ran out for Mansfield and they left the pitch to boos and jeers from the stands.

STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Collins, Pearce, Clements, Hoban (D. Rose 73), Green, Hurst (Henderson 65), Howkins, Iacovitti (Thomas 49). Subs: Jensen, M. Rose, Hamilton, McGuire.

STEVENAGE: Jones, King, Franks, Wilkinson, McKirkdy (Liburd 71), Kennedy, Gorman (Pett 55), Lee (Wells 79), Cowans, Henry, Ntlhe. Subs: Day, Fox, Hyde, Tongue.

REFEREE: Mark Heywood of West Yorkshire.

ATTENDANCE: 2,716 (100 away)