A night of high frustration saw seven Mansfield Town players booked and the Stags beaten 1-0 by a deflected goal in League Two at Accrington Stanley tonight.
But Adam Murray’s men could have few complaints as they rarely looked capable of conjuring an equaliser at the Wham Stadium.
The visitors, warned against an ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ display by boss Murray after Friday’s imperious 2-0 win at Notts County started on the front foot.
But the game became scrappy and physical and Stanley had luck on their side as Sean McConville’s low strike on 33minutes deflected past Brian Jensen – the home side’s first real attempt of the night.
However, it proved enough as Mansfield huffed and puffed without any end product on a night to forget against a club they have not beaten since Stanley’s reformation.
The game ended on a sour note as a mass altercation saw four more names added to referee Darren England’s final list of 10 bookings with Pearce, Hunt, Benning, Clements, Jack Thomas, Westcarr and Jensen all yellow-carded.
Mansfield were shorn of the services of striker Matt Green on the night – and how they missed him.
Green’s back had stiffened up after the 2-0 derby win at Notts County on Friday and Murray decided to leave him out as he was only said to be ‘99 per cent fit’ and save him for the weekend.
In came Chris Beardsley for the only change to the side.
Accrington included striker Billy Kee, who was on loan at Mansfield last season.
After some scrappy early play from both sides, Mansfield were first to try for goal as Beardsley laid the ball off for Lambe to let fly with a shot that took a deflection for a corner on eight minutes.
But there were few early chances for either side.
Stags were happy to see an offside flag up as Windass was sent clear.
Then Clements, Lambe and Beardsley all seemed reluctant to pull the trigger in the box, Beardsley’s eventual effort half-blocked and bouncing through to the keeper.
But on 33 minutes, with their first real shot, the home side grabbed the lead.
McConville took a pass from his right and sent in a low shot from 20 yards that took a deflection and found its way just inside the right post.
The home side suddenly had their tails up and began to probe harder.
Three minutes from the break Pearce was booked for bringing down Windass as he tried to charge past him and go clear. Windass then sent his free kick into the wall and Buxton’s low follow-up was wide.
In stoppage time Windass had another low effort deflect for a corner as Mansfield went in happy to hear the whistle to give them a chance to regroup.
On the restart, Beardsley was unable to do much with a powerful Benning cross from the left, the ball coming off him to the keeper right in front of goal.
But the build-up to the chance had been better with a string of passes from right to left.
Tafazolli then had to throw himself in the way of a McConville shot after he had won the ball off Pearce in the box.
On 54 minutes it was almost 2-0. Buxton sent a Stags clearance back over the defence and Kee was onside. He tried to poke the ball through Jensen’s legs, but the Dane closed his legs and managed to deflect the finish wide for a corner.
At the other end Nathan Thomas got one on target from a tight angle on the left but the keeper was able to dive and grab the ball.
Murray shook things up on 56 minutes as he withdrew Nathan Thomas and Chapman and sent on Yussuf and Jack Thomas.
Five minutes later Westcarr took over from Lambe in the visitors’ final change.
Hunt almost set Stanley on their way after a poor touch gave the ball to Conneely, the former Accrington man then hacking him down for a booking.
A nudge on Pearce that the referee missed saw Crooks race forward with the ball and send in a low ball that Hunt was happy to hack away in front of goal.
On 70 minutes Windass laid the ball back from the by-line and Conneely crashed a first time shot over the bar.
Home fans were unhappy to see their star man on the night, Windass, withdrawn for Barry on 76 minutes and there were some boos for the decision.
The home side continued to do more of the pressing and Kee was inches over with a rising drive in the box.
Tensions in a physical game boiled over two minutes into the six added at the end as almost every player was involved in an altercation after a Stanley played went down off the ball.
After much deliberation, three Stags players, Jack Thomas, Westcarr and Jensen, were booked as well as the home keeper, Mooney.
Stanley then struggled to clear a Clements free kick and Tafazolli headed down for Pearce to hook a high ball at goal that dropped straight to Mooney.
Jack Thomas went for glory from distance but was well over to the jeers of the home fans.
ACCRINGTON STANLEY: Mooney, Pearson, Winnard, Davies, Mingoia, Windass (Barry 76), McConville (Bruna 84), Crooks, Buxton, Conneely, Kee. Subs not used: Etheridge, Morgan, Gornell, Wakefield, Wright.
STAGS: Jensen, Benning, Rose, Pearce, Chapman (Jack Thomas 56), Clements, Beardsley, Nathan Thomas (Yussuf 56), Tafazolli, Hunt, Lambe (Westcarr 61). Subs not used: Marsden, McGuire, Caton, Fitzpatrick.
REFEREE: Darren England of South Yorkshire.
ATTENDANCE: 1,073 (187 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Chris Clements.