Sweeney goals sinks Stevenage and takes Stags within a whisker of 50-point mark
Stevenage 0 Mansfield Town 1
Ryan Sweeney’s fourth goal of the campaign all but removed Mansfield’s lingering relegation fears as Nigel Clough’s draw specialists finally found a way to win again.
Town kicked-off without a win in eight games but had drawn six of those outings including last time out to Newport County.
So, Sweeney’s first half effort and a clean sheet lifted Mansfield 11 points clear of the bottom two and up to 18th place with four games remaining.
Mansfield faced opponents who prior to a 2-1 loss at Salford City a week earlier hadn’t tasted defeat in 16 matches.
Despite that impressive run the Broadhall Way outfit still required an unlikely sequence of results to make the play-offs.
The sides drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture last October. Joe Martin almost ensured there would be no repeat of that stalemate but Aidan Stone produced a smart save-the first of several vital stops.
Lapslie collected a 14th minute booking for a poor challenge but it was soon one-all in yellow cards as Stephen Quinn was poorly tacked by Terence Vancooten.
More importantly, the Stags struck the opening goal after 24 minutes to again raise expectation of that elusive next victory.
Tyrese Sinclair won a corner at List’s expense and defender Sweeney fired home his first goal since a 3-2 win at Oldham on January 13.
Stevenage made the game’s first change in personnel taking off Elliot Osborne during the break and replacing him with Jack Smith.
Jack Aitchison and Luke Norris fashioned chances for the home team-the latter’s header excellently saved by Stone as Town stayed resolute in protecting their lead.
The keeper was called into action again shortly after, this time racing off his line to thwart to thwart the onrushing Elliott List.
Despite Stevenage’s best efforts and six minutes of stoppage time Mansfield held on to secure a massive victory.
Teams: Stevenage, Cumming, Wildin, Vancooten, Prosser, Martin (Coker 72), Osborne (Smith 46), Pett, Lines, Aitchison, List, Norris; Substitutes: Vincelot, Cuthbert, Hutton, Johnson, Stevens.
Mansfield: Stone, Perch, Rawson, Sweeney, McLaughlin, Maris, Lapslie, (Law 62), Quinn (O Clarke 54), Sinclair (Charsley 87), Bowery, Reid; Substitutes: Stech, Benning, Gordon, Ward.
Referee: Samuel Barrott.