Monday, 21st April 2014: Mansfield Town 0, Cheltenham Town 2

A second half brace from veteran Jamie Cureton ended Mansfield Town’s outside play-off hopes for the season at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.

A poor game with few chances saw a tired Stags run out of steam as one point from the two Easter games left them unable to catch the sides in the play-off spots.

It was revenge for the Robins for their 2-1 home defeat by Mansfield just after Christmas and also ensured they will also be playing League Two football again next season.

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Mansfield made three changes. Sam Clucas was rewarded for his sparkling cameo in Good Friday’s 1-1 draw at Accrington with a start up front in place of Ollie Palmer.

Anthony Howell took over the attacking midfield role in place of Junior Daniel while Jamie McGuire was recalled alongside Adam Murray in the centre of midfield at the expense of Chris Clements.

Keeper Scott Brown was happy to dive onto a second minute free kick by Murray that bounced in the box after Rhead had been jumped into by defender Troy Brown.

Tafazolli then headed a long Braham-Barrett throw from the left out for a corner a minute later before heading the corner itself clear.

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However, it reached taker Richards once more on the right and he floated a long cross to the far post where Harrison headed home from close range only to see an offside flag raised.

Price plucked another long Braham-Barrett throw out of the air soon after.

But the visitors had made the more positive start and forced corner number two on six minutes out on the left, which was hooked clear by McGuire.

On eight minutes Rhead stretched at the far post to head a long Jennings ball into the box back across goal, Scott Brown happy to take the ball out of the air to his right without having to dive.

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On 19 minutes the Robins won a third corner on the right and, when Rhead could only half-clear, Stags conceded a fourth flak kick on the left which Elliott hooked goalwards but was hacked clear from inside the six yard box.

A minute later Noble sent a low 20 yard effort wide of the home goal, the game’s first real shot.

On 22 minutes Mansfield earned their first corner on the left. Jennings curled it into the centre and Tafazolli rose to power a header over the top.

Deering’s low 20-yard effort on 27 minutes was tame and easy for Price, then Sutton did well to stay with Harrison just outside the box and get a foot in the way of his eventual shot.

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However, on 33 minutes, McGuire’s failure to get the ball clear allowed McGlashan to nip in and cross low in front of goal where from two yards out, Richards must have thought his deft touch would beat Price only to see the keeper dive and then stretch up an arm to block, Sutton hooking the loose ball over the bar.

Mansfield were suddenly living dangerously as they struggled to clear another Robins corner, eventually conceding another, which Rhead twice headed away.

The ball was still not clear and, when Sutton could not get any distance on the third attempted head away, Cureton lifted a hopeful dipping shot over from the right hand corner of the box.

Price got there first as a long kick downfield by Scott Brown reached the other goal, but took a knock as Richards stretched out a late boot, the keeper able to continue without treatment.

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Rhead played a decent ball down the right hand touchline to put Westlake into some space, the wing back taking it on before cutting inside and getting too much under his attempted finish, the ball sailing well over.

A half-clearance by the visitors then saw Jennings slice wide of the near post as we reached the 43rd minute.

Stags’ best move of the game so far a minute later saw McGuire pull the strings, swapping passes with Rhead and then and get Jennings into space on the left for a dangerous cross that was put out for a corner.

A disappointing first half ended goalless with very few real scoring opportunities.

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Stags went 4-4-2 after the break with Meikle replacing Westlake.

Clucas went wide right, Sutton right back and Howell partnered Rhead up front.

Rhead almost sent Clucas on his way, but Troy Brown came up with an important header to intercept the pass.

Instead it was the Robins who swooped first with the opening goal on 58 minutes.

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Harrison ran at the home defence just right of centre and fed a final ball in front of Cureton, who rifled home an unstoppable rising finish from 10 yards.

Stags quickly sent on Palmer up front on place of Howell on the hour.

They soon won a corner on the right, but Tafazolli was too high with his header, under pressure after Jennings had picked him out.

Despite throwing himself forward, Palmer could not quite get his head onto a Sutton cross from the right.

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The visitors added another two to their corner tally with no profit.

Murray was given a final warning after taking the legs of Harrison, then the visitors won another corner on the left, which was headed away by the immaculate Tafazolli.

Cureton was wide with an 18-yard snapshot as Stags continued to toil.

With 14 minutes to go, Stags went for broken and sent on Speight for Jennings, going with three at the back and pushing three up front.

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Riley was booked for his foul on Cureton on 79 minutes, Murray then getting in the way of Deering’s long range blast after the free kick was worked inside from the right.

But the visitors grabbed their all-important second on 80 minutes.

Riley allowed the ball to run through to keeper Price. But it was never going to get there as Cureton nipped in to take the ball to the keeper’s left and then, with him well off his line, expertly chipped him into the empty net.

An offside flag was raised before Speight ran through to blast past Scott Brown on 84 minutes and two minutes later he was too high from 20 yards.

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Gornell replaced goal hero Cureton and quickly found Riley’s head with a high boot that saw him lucky not to be booked.

The referee’s patience ran out with Murray a minute into time added on and his foul on McGlashan earned him the inevitable yellow card.

STAGS: Price; Sutton, Riley, Tafazolli; Westlake (Meikle HT), Murray, Howell (Palmer 60), McGuire, Jennings (Speight 76); Rhead, Clucas. Subs not used: Dempster, Briscoe, Stevenson, Daniel.

CHELTENHAM: S. Brown, T. Brown, Elliott, Cureton (Gornell 87), Deering, Harrison, McGlashan (Vincent 90+2), Richards, Jombati, Braham-Barratt, Noble. Subs not used: Taylor, Gornell, Roberts, Kotwica, Williams, Ihiekwe.
REFEREE: Andy Woolmer of Northampton.

ATTENDANCE: 3,586 (134 away).


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