SOLID STAGS WIN AGAIN
Mansfield Town 2 - 0 York City
Artell 31, Beardsley 76
Attendance: 4,914 (362 from York)
In-form Mansfield kept up the pressure on Third Division leaders Hull with a deserved 2-0 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls York.
A first career goal for 19-year-old striker Chris Beardsley sealed Town's fourth win on the trot after defender Dave Artell had given the impressive hosts a first-half lead.
York suffered an early blow when player-boss Chris Brass suffered concussion and was forced to replace himself with Stuart Wise.
The visitors' first noteworthy attempt came from Mitch Ward, who fired in an angled drive which had home keeper Kevin Pilkington stretching, but for the most part Mansfield had them on the back foot and deservedly took the lead on the half-hour.
Liam Lawrence swung in a corner from the right and Chris Beardsley reacted first to fire in a shot which was well saved by Mark Ovendale. Unfortunately for the visitors the ball fell to the feet of David Artell, who had the simple task of slotting home from close range.
Mansfield finally put some daylight between themselves and City when the visitors again failed to deal with a Lawrence corner. The Beardsley and Artell double act caused havoc once more, but this time the latter got the first touch and Beardsley was on hand to nod the ball over the line.
Super Stags make it four on the trot
SUPER Stags moved to within a point of leaders Hull City this afternoon with a hard-earned 2-0 win over York City.
It was the first time since 1995 Mansfield had won four on the trot.
Teenager Chris Beardsley marked his senior debut with his first senior goal to clinch the win on 76 minutes after Dave Artell had fired them in front on 31 minutes.
But York defended doggedly and always looked a threat on the break.
"We knew they were going to be a difficult team to break down," said Stags boss Keith Curle. "Their defensive record isn't bad and you could tell they have some ability.
"We know that teams will come here to stop us playing and we have to stick to our guns and make sure we are not caught on the counter-attack. It was a disciplined performance.
"We must make sure we keep that discipline and not get frustrated and it's important the fans stick with us when teams come here to nullify us.
"I was pleased for young Chris. He's been on the fringe of things since I came here. But his chance has come and he's had three opportunities and scored one of them. He was absolutely excellent in training this week and today got his rewards."
Stags made four changes with Iyseden Christie and Rhys Day suspended, Junior Mendes suffering an injury in training, and Craig Disley dropped.
Dave Artell returned to the defence, Wayne Corden was rewarded for his fine show last week with a recall and the front pairing saw Colin Larkin alongside teenager Chris Beardsley, making his full debut.
Mansfield had half a chance in the opening minute when MacKenzie sent a dipping half volley well over from 20 yards.
York replied with a corner which went through everyone.
Larkin threatened on the left of the York box and, as he shaped to shoot, Brass came up with a timely challenge which saw his shot go wide.
Clarke won the ball just outside the York box shortly after and Lawrence floated it over towards MacKenzie who this time was so far over the top the ball flew out the ground!
Mansfield's first corner on 11 minutes was taken by Lawrence and met by the head of Artell, between defender and keeper the visitors somehow blocking on the line with Stags claiming it had gone over.
York player-manager Brass limped off injured on 13 minutes, replaced by Wise.
Larkin then warmed keeper Ovendale's hands with a low shot from 20 yards which was turned aside.
And from a half-cleared Corden cross, MacKenzie this time kept his shot down and it flew just wide from 18 yards.
Then a neat turn from Beardsley in the box saw the youngster swing a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal as Stags piled on the pressure.
York finally got forward again on 21 and Artell was harshly penalised as he went for a header on the edge of the box. The free kick was rolled into the path of Ward 25 yards from goal and he met it with a fine low shot that forced Pilkington to dive to his right and turn away.
After more York pressure on 28 minutes, Stags staged a lightning break down the left as Lawrence threaded a pass for Corden. He crossed to the far post where Beardsley powered a header wide of goal.
York hit back with a break of their own and Vaughan managed to hold up Crowe, though the York man still got in a low shot across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
But Mansfield roared in front in the 31st minute. Lawrence sent over corner number four for Stags and Beardsley met it at the near post with a goal bound flick.
Ovendale made the save but the ball ran loose and Artell reacted quickest to sweep the ball home.
Artell almost struck again eight minutes later but Ovendale this time held onto his on-target header from a Lawrence free kick.
Ovendale then pulled off a double save on 41 minutes as he got down well to block Corden's vicious low shot and then recovered quickly to get his body in the way of Beardsley's follow-up.
A minute from half-time the keeper was also well positioned to grab a 25-yard Corden free kick.
Nogan was lucky not to be booked in stoppage time as he went down in the box, looking for a penalty while, at the other end, Larkin's first tocuh let him down as he tried to latch onto a Lawrence through ball.
Wood was shown the yellow card just before the break for chopping down Clark in full slight down the right.
Both sides won a corner in a scrappy and rather subdued start to the second half while Lawrence had half-hearted penalty claims ignored.
Merris was booked for jumping into the back of Lawrence on the hour as York swapped Dove with Parkin.
On 63 minutes Beardsley released Larkin in the box. He driled the ball across goal as the keeper raced out left to meet him and it fell for Beardsley who, with the goal gaping, shot straight against the shins of Wise on the line.
That encouraged York to enjoy a spell of their own and one attack down the left saw Ward teed up with a shot from 25 yards which he struck sweetly. But Pilkington was equal to it, diving to make the save to his right and then grabbing it at the second attempt.
Two minutes later a fine ball over the top from Lawrence sent Larkin scampering on his way. But, with only Ovendale to beat, he saw the keeper get a hand to his low finish and the chance was gone.
Stags made a substitution with Williamson on for Corden and on 75 he went on a promising run down the centre ending with a super shot that brought the best out of Ovendale, saving to his left.
But that crucial second goal was not long in coming as on 76 minutes another Lawrence corner was swung over, Artell met it with a firm header and a delighted Beardsley got a crucial flick in front of goal to find the back of the net.
A frustrated Cooper saw York's third yellow card for pulling back Williamson. Stags took advantage of the stoppage to take off the tiring Larkin and give Disley a run.
York almost pulled one back on 83 when Parkin's dipping shot from 18 yards rattled Pilkington's crossbar.
But Beardsley should have scored again a minute later as he turned on a low Lawrence cross which came in at pace and, with the goal at his mercy, fired wide from seven yards.
In stoppage time Parkin flicked a glancing header just wide of the far post as the final whistle brought a fifth successive away game without scoring for the Minstermen.
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PATIENCE IS THE KEY FOR HIGH-FLYING STAGS
Mansfield Town 2 v 0 York City
Second-placed Mansfield had to be patient before securing their win against fellow high-fliers York.
Just after the half hour, they got a deserved opener when Liam Lawrence's corner was only cleared as far as David Artell, who returned the ball into the bottom corner.
Wayne Corden and Neil MacKenzie went close to doubling Mansfield's lead either side of the interval as they took charge against the Minstermen.
The second goal did arrive but not until the 76th minute when another Lawrence corner from the right saw Artell flick on and Chris Beardsley converted for Mansfield.
York did not give up however, and Jonathan Parkin was unlucky not to pull a goal back when his effort from 18 yards hit the woodwork.
Mitch Ward also hit the woodwork for the visitors in injury time but nothing could prevent Mansfield moving into second place after this win.
More reports and reaction to follow.
Latest | October 2003