Report from MANSFIELD TOWN 0-1 PLYMOUTH ARGYLE as stunning strike downs Stags

Danny Rose on the attack for Stags.
Danny Rose on the attack for Stags.

A 30-yard thunderbolt finish from Conor Grant proved enough for Plymouth Argyle to continue Mansfield Town's poor start to the season with a 1-0 win at the One Call Stadium this afternoon.

Argyle deserved their interval lead, which could have been more if they had not hit a post, wasted a golden chance and seen Conrad Logan make two good saves.

Stags were much improved after the break and piled on the pressure, but Argyle stood firm to leave John Dempster's team with just two wins from the first 11 games and at the wrong end of the table, the home fans booing them off for the second successive home game.

Yet it could all have been so different had CJ Hamilton taken his one-on-one chance at the start of the game.

There was no improvement in Mansfield's luck over injuries this week with keeper Bobby Olejnik and Hayden White both ruled out of the squad.

Olejnik was expected back in the 18 after nine months out with a serious knee injury but dislocated a finger in training while White was admitted to hospital with serious stomach cramps this week and missed out.

Replacing White in the starting XI was Alex MacDonald.

Argyle made two changes with Scott Wootton and Conor Grant in for Josh Grant and Dom Telford.

The game began in heavy rain on a very sodden surface and Stags should have gone ahead on three minutes.

Breaking down the centre, Rose sent Hamilton clear on goal, but a poor touch saw the ball roll harmlessly to keeper Palmer.

A minute later in Argyle's first raid, Joel Grant turned just inside the box and lifted a decent effort just over the far angle.

After Stags failed to get anyone on the end of a dangerous low Khan ball into the box from the left, the home side had a let-off on 11 minutes when Argyle worked the ball to the left where MacFadzean's low cross came back off the foot of the post.

But the 13th minute proved unlucky for Mansfield as Plymouth went ahead.

Mayor fed Joel Grant into the left of the box and Logan had to get down to save his low finish. The ball was cleared out to Conor Grant 30 yards out and he looked up and smashed an unstoppable finish into the top right hand corner, giving Logan no chance.

Wootton saw the game's first booking on 22 minutes when he was late in on Rose before two promising home raids were halted by offside flags.

Conor Grant had a low effort blocked as Mansfield tried to clear a free kick on 26 minutes while Khan was too high with a 20 yard free kick as we reached the half-hour mark.

On 35 minutes Shaughnessy stepped in to rescue Stags after a loose pass by Bishop, but the ball again reached Conor Grant outside the box and this time he fired in a low shot that Logan had to palm away. Some head tennis from the corner ended with Joel Grant nodding straight to Logan.

On 43 minutes Palmer did well to smother a firm, low cross-cum-shot by Gordon and MacDonald was not too far over seconds later.

Aimson was added to the book for his tackle on Khan.

Plymouth wasted a golden chance to double their lead in the first of three added minutes as Edwards' right wing cross offered Cooper a free header centrally from five yards and he sent the ball over the bar.

There was still time for Gordon to be booked as he brought down MacFadzean after losing the ball.

MacFadzean was also booked five minutes after the break for his lunge at Gordon and Sarcevic joined him two minutes later for a foul on Benning, Rose seeing a shot deflect inches over off Sawyer between the cautions.

A brilliant turn and run by Mayor from just inside the home half saw him skip into the box and try to set up Cooper, Benning making a crucial interception.

On the hour Khan had a low shot blocked and Bishop saw his follow-up deflect up and over as the home side searched desperately for an equaliser.

From a corner Benning's low shot hit team mate Shaughnessy and then Benning's attempted overhead kick caught Cooper in the face to earn him a booking and a swift end to Cooper's afternoon with Afolayan replacing Hamilton before the action could resume.

A fabulous pass from MacDonald set Gordon into space on the right only to see him poke the ball harmlessly wide as Mansfield continued to dominate.

Afolayan sent one over on the turn from 18 yards before Lolos was Argyle's fifth booking on 75 minutes after sliding in late on Shaughnessy.

Mansfield sent on Cook for Shaughnessy on 77 minutes and four minutes later replaced Khan with Maynard to have four strikers on the field.

Cook almost levelled a minute from time after being slipped into space by Rose, but Palmer blocked his first shot and, when the ball came back in, was there to grab Cook's header.

Stags were handed eight additional minutes at the end, but Argyle were on mood to surrender what they had and held on comfortably.

STAGS: Logan; Shaughnessy (Cook 77), Pearce, Sweeney; Gordon, Bishop, MacDonald, Benning; Hamilton (Afolayan 66), Rose, Khan (Maynard 81). Subs not used: Stone, Mellis, Tomlinson, Smith.

PLYMOUTH: Palmer, Sawyer, Aimson, Wootton, Sarcevic, Edwards, Mayor (Lolos 71), C. Grant, Joel Grant (Riley 79), MacFadzean, G. Cooper (Taylor 66). Subs not used: M. Cooper, Canavan, Randell, Josh Grant.

REFEREE: Anthony Backhouse of Cumbria.

ATTENDANCE: 4,499 (550 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Alex MacDonald.