ANOTHER WIN SEES STAGS GO SECOND
Mansfield Town 3 - 1 Darlington
Vaughan 13, Christie 59, Corden 65
Attendance: 4,621 (307 from Darlington)
Match action photos by Empics here-->
Photos by Dan Westwell to appear on site later.
Match Statistics (Stags/Darlo)
17 Goal Attempts 4
9 On target 2
7 Off target 2
1 Woodwork 0
11 Corners 1
15 Fouls 20
1 Offside 1
Lawrence Stars In Stags Win
Liam Lawrence turned in a fine performance as Mansfield went second in the table after a 3-1 win over Darlington in a game packed with controversy at Field Mill.
Referee Trevor Kettle issued eight yellow cards to the visitors and sent off David McGurk as well as giving the Quakers a contentious penalty.
The Stags started well and got their reward when Tony Vaughan headed in Lawrence's free kick.
Ian Clark equalised with a header after Kevin Pilkington had saved his penalty before McGurk was dismissed for a second bookable offence after half time.
Iyesden Christie then headed home before sub Wayne Corden sealed it late on.
Super Stags go second
MANSFIELD Town moved into second spot in Division Three today with a 3-1 success over Darlington at Field Mill.
But the visitors finished the afternoon pointing the finger at referee Trevor Kettle who sent off David McGurk and showed eight yellow cards to the Quakers.
It was almost a complete reversal from Mansfield's afternoon at Swansea when all the cards went against the Stags. On this occasion, at the end of a game that was never dirty, Stags had no cards against them.
The afternoon ended with Darlington players furiously remonstrating with Mr Kettle and manager Mick Tait said he had asked him how he could sleep at night.
But Stags will happily take this one after their own recent problems with officials.
They dominated the first half without ever really getting into top gear and led through a Tony Vaughan goal on 13 minutes.
Darlington had not managed a shot at goal when they levelled on 44 after Rhys Day gave away a penalty and Ian Clark netted the follow-up after Kevin Pilkington had saved the first effort.
But McGurk's red card saw Stag step up a gear against the 10-men and make it count with two goals in six minutes from Iyseden Christie and Wayne Corden.
Stags, unchanged from the side that won 3-1 at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday, had the first opportunity on two minutes when Day headed wide from a Lawrence free kick.
Clarke also nodded over from another Lawrence free kick on 10 minutes in what was a relatively quiet opening.
There was anger when referee Mr Kettle blew up as Disley released Mendes down the left. Disley was caught by Liddle's late challenge and, instead of letting Stags have the obvious advantage, he blew up and booked Liddle.
But justice was done from the free kick as Lawrence floated it into the middle of the box where Vaughan sent a looping header goalwards and, with keeper Michael Price committed off his line, the ball dropped into the unguarded net to give Stags a 13th minute lead.
Another Lawrence cross from the right found Disley on 18 minutes but his header flew straight at the keeper.
Lawrence's free kicks continued to cause problems for Darlington and another well-flighted kick from the right on 23 minutes was met with a thunderous header by Day which came back off the post.
Price charged off his line to punch clear a cross on 25 minutes and, with him again well off his line, MacKenzie sent a 20-yard lob goalwards and saw it drop just over the bar.
Conlon saw the afternoon's second yellow card after disputing a free kick decision against him.
Stags continued to dominate comfortably and Christie pulled a shot just wide from 18 yards while, shortly after, Lawrence burst into the box from the right and got in a low shot which Price saved at his near post.
McGurk was booked for a late tackle on Disley on 36 which saw Vaughan's free kick fly into the defensive wall.
A long, searching Lawrence pass on 37 found Mendes who steadied himself before blazing over the top. Then MacKenzie played a one-two with Mendes before seeing his shot blocked.
Mendes won a free kick on the left of the box which saw Lawrence curl it towards the top left corner and Price got across to save.
With Stags failing to add to their tally, despite so much dominance, the inevitable happened as the Quakers drew level.
Stags defence was caught square as Nicholls latched onto a through ball and, even though he kept his feet as Day had a nibble at his ankles, his balance was lost and the referee pointed to the spot.
Clark stepped up and, even though Pilkington saved the kick superbly, diving to his left, he was left grounded and helpless and Clark followed up to head into the other corner with 44 minutes gone.
Up to that point Darlington had not even managed a shot at goal and they were delighted to go in level after such a one-sided first half.
Mansfield responded by replacing Disley with Corden for the second half.
Darlington suffered a body blow within three minutes when McGurk was red-carded.
He and Vaughan both sent in full throttle for a 50-50 tackle and everyone in the ground was stunned to see McGurk given his second yellow and subsequent red with Mr Kettle deciding his half of the tackle had been dangerous.
Stags tried to step up a gear and Mendes pulled a shot well wide while Lawrence saw a free kick deflect inches wide off a defender in the wall.
But the visitors were also playing more football than the first half, putting passes together without getting as far as troubling Pilkington.
The goal that Stags desperately needed arrived on 59 minutes.
Stags won a corner which was taken short. Corden eventually whipped in a brilliant cross which curled towards Christie six yards from goal and his glancing header nestled in the net inside the keeper's left hand post.
Valentine was next to be cautioned for a nasty challenge into the back of Lawrence and Hutchinson joined him two minutes later for pulling back Christie 20 yards from goal.
And from the free kick conceded by Hutchinson, Corden curled a belter into the top right hand corner, Price getting a hand to it but unable to keep it out.
Stags were caught napping with a long ball down the left which saw Clarke race to the by-line and cross low through everyone. The ball was recovered by the visitors and rolled to Clark 18 yards from goal but his shot was wide of the target.
Stags replied with a superb turn by Mendes onto a Lawrence pass before bringing a good save out of Price with his low finish.
The referee produced another yellow for the furious visitors after Keltie had caught MacKenzie.
Price needed treatment after a scramble following a fine cross in by Clarke after a one-two with Lawrence. While he was tended to, Stags replaced Mendes with Beardsley.
The game restarted with Price heavily bandaged around the head.
Larkin might have added a fourth on 87 but delayed and then fired wide of the far post.
The final whistle brought furious scenes on the pitch and at the away end of the ground.
But, Stags were happy the boot was on the other foot for a change and were left to celebrate their third successive victory in eight days.
STAGS: Pilkington, Mendes, Curtis (Beardsley 82mins), Christie (Larkin 70mins), Vaughan, MacKenzie, Lawrence, Day, Clarke, Dimech, Disley (Corden H/T). Subs not used: Artell, J. White.
DARLINGTON: Price, Valentine, Liddle, Clarke, Clark, Keltie, Nicholls, Conlon, McGurk, Hughes, Hutchinson. Subs: Convery, Sheeran, Robson, Maddison, Coghlan.
REFEREE: Trevor Kettle of Berkshire.
SCORERS: Stags - Vaughan 13mins, Christie 59mins, Corden 65mins. Darlington - Clark 44mins.
CAUTIONS: Darlington - Liddle 12mins (foul on Disley), Conlon 26mins (dissent), McGurk 36mins (foul on Disley), Valentine 62mins (foul on Lawrence), Hutchinson 64mins (foul on Christie), Keltie 77mins (foul on MacKenzie), Hughes 90mins (foul on Vaughan).
DISMISSAL: Darlington - McGurk 48mins (second bookable, foul on Vaughan).
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Liam Lawrence.
MANSFIELD TOWN 3 – 1 DARLINGTON
Darlington's six-match unbeaten run in the league came to a controversial end on Saturday as Mick Tait's men were beaten 3-1 at Mansfield Town.
Quakers were forced to play the majority of the second half with ten men as defender David McGurk was harshly sent off for a second bookable offence.
The Teessider was given his marching orders just three minutes after the interval for what appeared to be a firm but fair challenge for the ball along with Stags defender Tony Vaughan.
And much to the bemusement of both sets of fans and both dugouts, Vaughan walked away without even a talking to, while McGurk was shown the red card.
It was former Manchester City man Vaughan who headed the Stags into a 13th minute lead.
However, despite dominating the first half, Quakers drew level a minute before half-time when they were awarded a penalty when Ashley Nicholls was brought down in the box by Rhys Day.
Ian Clark stepped up and despite seeing his spot-kick saved by Stags keeper Kevin Pilkington, the former Hartlepool man pounced on the rebound to head his side level.
And after being reduced to ten men following McGurk's dismissal, Iyseden Christie restored the lead for his side when he rose highest in the box to direct his header past Michael Price in the 59th minute.
Six minutes later substitute Wayne Corden made it three when he swing a free-kick into the top corner of the net.
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