Stags stuck with the same, young eleven that performed so well on Saturday when beating 4th placed Leyton Orient for the game with already promoted Cardiff City. Indeed the only change was on the bench where Mark Blake came in for John Andrews. Cardiff left leading scorer Robert Earnshaw on the bench but had former Rotherham striker Leo Fortune-West in attack, ex-County star Andy Legg at the back and former Stags loan keeper Carl Muggleton in goal.
On a heavy pitch the Stags continued the same flowing football they had displayed in the match on Saturday. Greenacre tested Muggleton as early as the first minute and it was soon clear that the youthful Stags midfield were well on top. It was no great surprise when the Stags took an early lead with a splendidly worked goal. Disley freed Greenacre on the right and the striker put in a perfect cross which Bradley hammered home. Stags were well on top and several times could have extended their lead. Another delightful move, this time between Clarke and Jervis saw the Stags left back knock the ball into Bradley, but this time his left foot shot flew over the bar. Indeed Shayne Bradley was proving a real menace and perhaps could have been awarded a penalty when tripped inside the area by Perrett, however, referee Olivier paused and then waved play on. Still the Stags attacked and again Bradley was denied, this time Cardiff keeper Muggleton palming away his right foot striker after good work from the effervescent Disley. Cardiff's Boland became the first player booked after a late challenge on Clarke. Jervis knocked in a teasing free kick which just evaded Bradley and was cleared to safety. A deserved standing ovation was given the home side at half time and a 1-0 scoreline really told little of the home sides domination.
Half Time: 1-0
Unlike Saturday when the Stags struggled in the opening stages of the 2nd half, the Stags this time continued where they had left off in the opening half - well on top with Cardiff managing only brief excursions into the Stags half. Greenacre was first to test Muggleton with a dipping header, then the 20-goal striker let fly from 30 yards, the ball just clearing the bar. At times Cardiff were running round in circles as chants of ole could be heard from the West Stand. However, the chants died out completely on 66 minutes as totally against the run of play Cardiff equalised - the Stags punished for not taking their chances. A neat exchange of passing between Boland and Thompson gave Bowen the chance and he neatly tucked the ball past Mimms. For the first time the Stags then came under a little pressure and Mimms was tested for the 2nd time in the game when McCulloch fired in a low free kick from the right hand side of the area after Disley had been harshly penalised. Stags boss Bill Dearden made an attacking move on 73 minutes, replacing the excellent Jervis with Liam Lawrence, one teenager for another. Lawrence had barely been on the pitch ten minutes when he, for the second time in four days, made a telling contribution. Picking up a clever Clarke back-heel on the edge of the Cardiff box, Lawrence turned into the area and was clearly tripped by Young. Top scorer Chris Greenacre stepped up to make it 21 for the season, blasting the ball past Muggleton. From then on the Stags never looked likely to surrender the lead for a second time, despite the introduction of the lively Earnshaw. A fine performance and a deserved victory with many excellent performances and much promise for next season. The partnership between Chris Greenacre and Shayne Bradley, though still in its infancy, could be the key to successful times ahead.
Man of the Match: Shayne Bradley
Stags: Mimms, Reddington, Robinson, Asher, Jervis (Lawrence 73), Hassell, Williamson, Disley (Blake 90), Clarke, Greenacre, Bradley (White 87). Subs Not Used: Pilkington, Boulding,
Cardiff: Muggleton, Thompson, Evans (Bonner 71), Perrett, Legg, Brazier (McCulloch 10), Boland, Bowen (Earnshaw 77), Young, Brayson, Fortune-West. Subs Not Used: Collins, Giles
Yellow Cards: Cardiff: Legg, Boland
Referee: R Olivier (Sutton Coldfield)