REPORT FROM STOCKPORT SITE
COUNTY made it maximum points over the Bank Holiday with a hard-fought victory over Mansfield Town.
Amazingly, it was the first time in more than 20 years that the Hatters had claimed maximum points against the Stags.
Our last victory came on October 30 1981 when goals from Dave Sunley, Micky Power and Osher Williams helped us to a 3-0 win.
The visitors, however, will count themselves unlucky not to come away with at least a point but the Hatters stuck to their task and won with goals in each half from Keith Briggs and Luke Beckett.
Carlton Palmer was able to name the side that won at Vale Park on Saturday and in the opening minutes it looked as though County would cruise to victory.
But, after weathering an early storm, the Stags took control of the game and caused the Hatters plenty of problems with their bright football.
Lee Jones was once again in commanding form. He made routine saves from Craig Disley and Lee Williamson before he somehow brilliantly kept out Stuart Reddington's point-blank header, all in the opening half-an-hour.
Then County stung the visitors by taking the lead six minutes before the break. Ben Burgess slipped the ball through to Beckett who crossed to the far post to Briggs who shot past Kevin Pilkington with the aid of a deflection off a Mansfield defender.
Ten minutes after the break the Blues doubled their advantage with a goal of real quality. Rickie Lambert sprayed the ball out to John Hardiker who hooked the ball towards the far post.
It looked as though the cross would evade Beckett but the former Chesterfield hitman somehow produced an amazing scissor kick to fire the ball back across Pilkington and into the net.
Town should have got themselves back in the game within sixty seconds when Palmer brought down Neil MacKenzie but Jones superbly beat out Wayne Cordon's penalty.
The Welshman then made two more top-drawer saves to deny MacKenzie, again, and Reddington, again, as the visitors' pressure grew.
County were always dangerous on the break, though, and both Briggs and Beckett were inches away from adding to their personal tally.
Latest | August 2002