Sub Ryan Stirk seals another win for Mansfield Town at Stevenage
Valiant Mansfield Town secured a fourth straight win for the first time in four years in this afternoon's 2-1 victory at Stevenage, writes Neil Goulding.
Sub Ryan Stirk’s first goal for the club ensured a fine afternoon's work went rewarded at the Lamex.
The sorry Stags had gone a dismal 14 games without a win before getting back on track against Tranmere at the end of October.
But John-Joe O’Toole put the visitors on their way with his second goal in as many appearances.
Captain Scott Cuthbert levelled after the break before Stirk’s strike secured Nigel Clough’s side a first away league win of the current campaign.
Stags’ boss Clough named an unchanged side after their impressive FA Cup victory over League One Sunderland last weekend.
The hosts came agonisingly close to an early opener as ex-Stag Jamie Reid saw his effort come back off the inside of the post.
Clough’s charges threatened when Oli Hawkins fired over the bar.
And that was the warning shot as O’Toole headed home Stephen McLaughin’s pinpoint free-kick to give Town the lead after 19 minutes.
Down the other end, Elliott List’s glancing header failed to trouble Nathan Bishop.
Stags’ striker Ryan Oates wasted a glorious one-on-one chance to put the visitors two up nine minutes before half-time.
The hosts were frustrated by the furniture for a second time as Reid once again hit the post deep in first-half stoppage time.
Boro battled back after the break as unmarked home skipper Scott Cuthbert headed home Arthur Read’s corner at the back post.
But Stirk reclaimed the visitors' lead with a fine finish just after the hour mark, curling home across the keeper after making space in the right of the box.
Jake Taylor threatened for Alex Revell’s side as he fired wide of the mark.
Stags’ stopper Bishop, who made several good stops, ensured the away side travelled back with all three points with a sensational diving save with eight minutes to go.
Stags still had to withstand seven minutes of stoppage time before heading home with a welcome three points in the bank.
STEVENAGE: Smith, Wildin, Vancooten, Cuthbert, Melbourne, Barry (Lines, 63), Read, Taylor, Reeves, List, Reid (Norris, 70). SUBS NOT USED: Anang, Coker, Prosser, Daly, Osborne.
STAGS: Bishop, Hewitt, O'Toole, Hawkins, McLaughlin, Maris (Rawson, 79), O. Clarke, Charsley, Lapslie (Stirk, 54), Quinn, Oates (Sinclair, 63). SUBS NOT USED: Gale, Forrester, Shelvey, Bowery.
REFEREE: Chris Sarginson.