DAY AND PILKS THE HEROES AS STAGS WIN
MANSFIELD TOWN 1 - 0 KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS
Day 25. Ward penalty saved 23.
Kevin Pilkington saved a penalty and Rhys Day then scored the only goal of the game, as the Stags beat improved Kidderminster 1-0.
The bookings of Curtis, Williamson, Lawrence and Hassell will lead to one match suspensions in two weeks, at the same time as Clarke (either for the Southend game, or Swansea, if Southend is postponed). However a glance at the FA website shows Dimech will only be suspended for the Orient game - Martin.
Match Statistics (Stags/Harriers)
7 Goal Attempts 9
4 On target 6
3 Off target 3
0 Woodwork 0
1 Corners 7
14 Fouls 10
1 Offside 1
Evening Post website
Promotion chasing Mansfield crept past unlucky Cup hero's Kidderminster, to extend their unbeaten home record to six matches.
Rhys Day won it for the home side, but a penalty save midway through the first half eventually proved crucial for The Stags.
Kidderminster keeper Stuart Brock had to save from Wayne Corden and Tom Curtis within the first 20 minutes.
But after 22 minutes, it was Mansfield keeper Kevin Pilkington who produced a wonderful penalty save to keep the scores level. Lee Williamson fouled Adam Murray to concede the spotkick, but Graham Ward saw his effort saved by Pilkington.
And within three minutes Boston had taken full advantage of Pilkington's heroics by going a goal up. Liam Lawrence swung in a free kick, and Rhys Day headed home his third goal of the season to give them the lead.
15 minutes into the second half Bobby Hassell blocked a close-range John Williams volley, but despite plenty of effort Kidderminster could find no answer, and Mansfield held on to keep a clean sheet.
FA Cup heroes Kidderminster were given a harsh reminder of life in the Third Division when Rhys Day's fourth goal of the season stretched promotion chasing Mansfield's successful run to just one defeat in 10 league games - and ended Harriers' hopes of a third successive league win.
But Kidderminster, who earned an FA Cup replay against Premiership outfit Wolves just a week earlier, almost repeated their heroics to snatch a point from a poor game.
In a tense finish, Dean Bennett's first-time 70th minute volley swerved narrowly wife and then the striker's close-range shot was blocked inside the six-yard area by Bobby Hassell.
Mansfield's full back then repeated his fine defending deep into injury time to deny the striker yet again.
But the Stags hung on for their third 1-0 win in four games, and afterwards assistant manager John Gannon said: "We are delighted with the win. It was a difficult day for us, we were not at our best by a long stretch."
Harriers had given a debut to former Mansfield hero Adam Murray, who scored seven goals in 13 games as they clinched promotion two years earlier, and also brought back ex-Stags' defender Matt Gadsby into a five-man midfield.
And the busy Murray, a former England Under 20 international, gave the home side plenty of problems in an otherwise quiet start, his probing passes a constant threat.
The best pass came in the 10th minute when his astute flick released Adie Smith down the right, but his low, near post cross was just collected by the under pressure Kevin Pilkington.
In the 18th minute Mansfield at last produced the first shot of the game, but Tom Curtis' tame strike on the turn was easily saved by Stuart Brock.
The game finally sprung to life in the 23rd minute. Lee Williamson tugged down Murray as he raced into the area to reach Scott Stamps' left wing cross, but Graham Ward's penalty was held by Pilkington as he dived low to his left.
Just three minutes later Harriers were made to pay for Ward's weak spot kick when Mansfield snatched the lead, Day climbing the highest to head Liam Lawrence's deep free kick into the top corner via the fingertips of keeper Brock.
Day with another header, Iyseden Christie with a low drive saved at the second attempt and Wayne Corden with two long range curlers almost doubled Mansfield's lead before Harriers' late rally.
The only black mark at the final whistle for Mansfield was a quartet of needless bookings for Curtis (handball), Williamson (foul), Lawrence (dissent) and Hassell (time wasting), who will now all miss the Stags' next home match against Southend United.
Stags 1 Kidderminster Harriers 0
THEY were not at their best, but Mansfield Town earned three more points for their promotion push with a third 1-0 win in four unbeaten League games.
Stags stuttered to find their passing game against a much-improved Kidderminster side who played with one striker and crowded out Mansfield in midfield.
An otherwise disappointing game was settled inside two thrilling first half minutes as Kevin Pilkingtn saved Graham Ward's 24th minute penalty before Rhys Day headed Stags in front in the 26th minute.
However, the win came at a cost with Lee Williamson, Bobby Hassell, Tom Curtis and Liam Lawrence all picking up their fifth bookings of the season and all suspended together a week on Saturday.
Stags assistant manager John Gannon said: "It was a difficult day for us so we are absolutely delighted to get the three points.
"We looked flat and didn't really look at it. We were not at our best by a long stretch but we showed some good things in our defending in the last 10 minutes.
"You can't win 5-0 every week and I think our supporters know this one was a game that would probably have ended up 1-1 last season.
"Sometimes in games it is more important to pick up the points than worry about the performance.
"We are aware from the shapes they start with that teams are coming here and getting players behind the ball. But that's no excuse and we have to be bright enough to break them down."
Wayne Corden returned to the Mansfield side in place of Craig Disley who has been struggling with a back injury and was left out the squad.
Harriers drafted former Stags pair Adam Murray, his first start, and Matt Gadsby into the line-up.
Stags won a second minute corner which the visitors defended comfortably as both sides started tentatively.
There was little goalmouth action in the first 10 minutes though Pilkington twice did well to gather dangerous crosses drilled in from the right by Smith.
We had to wait 18 minutes for an attempt at goal as Curtis turned in the Harriers box before sending a weak shot straight at Brock.
A dreadful backpass from Clarke gifted Kidderminster their first corner on 20 minutes which Gadsby got a good head on only to see his effort blocked by a defender's leg in front of goal.
Stags defended a second Harriers corner a minute later, but there was high drama to come on 24 minutes.
Stamps crossed into the box for Murray. But he was felled by Williamson to concede a penalty.
Lawrence was booked for arguing, a yellow card that will earn him a one game ban for five bookings, before Ward stepped up to take the kick.
He tried to place it to Pilkington's left but the keeper guessed correctly and was down well to save.
Worse was to come for Harriers as Stags then rubbed salt in the wounds with a goal at the other end tw minutes later.
Lawrence floated a free kick into the Kidderminster box and Day met it with powerful header that Brock got a hand to but couldn't keep it out the net.
Clarke was fortunate when he allowed a long cross to go over him and Bennett crashed a far post volley over the target.
Another Williamson free kick was met by the head of Day. But this time it looped off the top of his head and was easy for Brock.
Harriers threatened briefly when Bennett turned on the edge of the area but his shot lacked any power.
A through ball from Hassell set Williamson free. But, with Mendes in space to his left, he delayed too long and eventually his low shot was straight at Brock.
Murray earned jeers from the home fans with a quickly taken free kick that was designed to catch Pilkington napping but finished well wide of goal.
But neither keeper was troubled again before the whistle brought a disappointing half to a close.
A poor pass from Hinton straight to Corden two minutes into the second half saw the winger make space before shooting just wide from 18 yards.
Shortly afterwards a handball by Murray conceded a free kick 25 yards out which Corden curled well over the goal.
A good burst from Christie saw him get into the box down the left. Hinton halted him but the ball ran back towards Christie whose shot was deflected just wide off the defender's leg.
A good tackle from Clarke stopped the threat of Bennett down the right in rare Kidderminster raid.
Williamson joined Lawrence in the book and a one game ban for bringing down Murray.
Williams added height and an extra body to the visitors' attack in place of Parrish on 59 minutes after Christiansen had ploughed a lone furrow all afternoon.
There was a moment of danger for Mansfield as Williams soon lined up a volley, but Hassell was in the way.
Lawrence, who had had a quiet afternoon by his own high standards, was replaced by Larkin on 52 minutes.
Then Henriksen, who netted both Kidderminster goals in their 2-1 win over Stags on the opening day of the season, came on for fellow Danish striker Christiansen on 68 minutes.
Bennett came close a minute later as he controlled a Clarke headed clearance on his chest before volleying narrowly wide of the far angle.
Then Pilkington did well to gather the ball above the head of Henriksen after Hassell had sliced a clearance high towards his own goal.
A breakaway, led by Murray down the centre, saw him find Henriksen on the right. He crossed hard and low towards the far post where Hassell did enough to hold up Bennett and then block his attempted finish.
Mendes cut inside and blazed well over at the other end while Corden forced a save from Brock with a curling effort 10 minutes from time.
Stags were left a defender short when Clarke ran to the bench to change a boot and a neat Kiddersminster move finished with Gadsby blasting well over the bar.
Harriers pressed hard near the end, winning two corners, but, despite the addition of four added minutes at the end, they could not prevent Stags earning a clean sheet and their third 1-0 success in four League outings.
But it took another good block by Hassell in stoppage time to deny Bennett as he shot low from Wards's neat pass.
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