STAGS LOSE AT STOCKPORT AFTER LEADING
Stockport County 2-1 Mansfield Town
Muggleton 44, Dickinson pen 74. Dicker OG 39. Buxton sent off 74.
Att 4982 (302 from Mansfield)
Press Assoc report:
Liam Dickinson's late penalty winner boosted Stockport's promotion hopes and heaped more pressure on desperate Mansfield.
Stockport created the first opportunity after just three minutes. Stephen Gleeson crossed for Gary Dicker, but his header was beaten away by Stags keeper Carl Muggleton.
Dickinson then raced clean through, but blasted high and wide from a promising position.
Mansfield almost went in front on 15 minutes. Matt Hamshaw swung in a curling free-kick and skipper Jake Buxton got up well to head inches wide.
The hosts were on top as the half-hour mark approached, and Dickinson's shot from the acutest of angles was smartly saved by Muggleton.
At the other end the Stags' Nathan Arnold was allowed to run through the Stockport midfield before seeing a shot saved by Powerade League Two Player of the Month for March, John Ruddy.
The match burst into life with an own goal for each side in the five minutes before half-time.
Firstly the visitors went ahead when Micky Boulding went to bundle home Hamshaw's cross, only for his effort to ricochet wildly off County midfielder Dicker.
However, Stockport were soon level when Muggleton slipped up as he punched Gleeson's in-swinging corner-kick into his own net.
The first chance of the second period came on 57 minutes when Stockport's Tommy Rowe shot wide following a surging run.
Stockport went ahead on 74 minutes. Buxton felled Tommy Rowe inside the box and was promptly red-carded by the referee, Dickinson coolly slotting home from the spot for his 18th goal of the season.
County 4 Life Match Report -
County 2 Mansfield Town 1
CARRY ON DICK-O
Spot Kick Seals Comeback And Lifts County Into Dreamland
A rare moment of brilliance in an otherwise dull Edgeley Park encounter gave County the upper hand in a tightly contested game in what should have been a walk in the park for the promotion seeking Hatters.
Mansfield Town, fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, came with a game plan, and ably assisted by former Hatter Matthew Hamshaw, stuck to it, although County were always going to create chances on their home ground, despite taking a shock lead, The Stags were never going to add to their tally.
With Ryan Lowe out injured after playing just a handful of minutes in a County shirt at the weekend, Tommy Rowe - Lowe's replacement against Darlington - was given the nod to partner top scorer Liam Dickinson up front, but County fans were stunned to see marauding winger Anthony Pilkington dropped to the bench for Jason Taylor. The fans favourite was drafted back into a central midfield berth with Dominic Blizzard, with Gary Dicker sitting deeper.
It was County who took the game to their Nottinghamshire opponents and with just a couple of minutes in Michael Rose's through ball found Dickinson, but his shot was blocked. With the wind in their sails, County managed to force a few corners early doors, but failed to find a way through.
Gary Dicker's headed effort was well saved by Carl Muggleton in the Mansfield goal, whilst Tommy Rowe, still searching for his first goal since his treble at Rotherham in February, was inches away from Dickinson's cross.
Mansfield, unbeaten in their last three games, had a few chances themselves; the impressive Nathan Arnold was allowed to skip through the County defence but his shot was straight at John Ruddy, Jelleyman's deep cross was headed back across the face of goal but again Ruddy was first to it, then a deep Hamshaw cross fell to Johnny Mullins who ghosted in at the back post to head goalwards and with the gasps behind the Cheadle End goal the ball bounced wide with Ruddy for once beaten.
Mansfield were never going to arrive at Edgeley Park and allow County to play their game and with a battering ram like Jefferson Louis, it was always going to be physical. Dickinson was doing very well holding the ball up despite the sometimes over exuberant Stags' defenders and as County were trying to create a bit more urgency, a controversial moment five minutes before the break gave Mansfield a shock lead.
Hamshaw's devilish cross fell to Michael Boulding, and as Ruddy came to collect it looked like the loanee stopper had felled the former County target, but the ball somehow managed to go in off Gary Dicker and the cross bar and whilst the linesman was flagging for an infringement, after much deliberation the referee gave the goal.
In all fairness there was no real complaints from the County boys and huge credit must be given for them to brush themselves off and go in search for the equaliser, and after forcing Mansfield back towards the break, veteran keeper Carl Muggleton managed to fumble a routine Stephen Gleeson corner into his own net.
Many of the elder Hatters' wouldn't have been surprised at the slightly balding Muggleton's latest gaff after his far-from-successful month at Edgeley Park back in March 1990, but with Mansfield Town his fifteen club in a career that started in 1986 at Leicester City, a schoolboy error gave County a much needed springboard.
County were given a superb chance just after the restart as Rose's powerful cross was knocked off the line by Keith Briggs. the two-time former Hatter was a half time sub and was welcomed with a great ovation by the Edgeley Park crowd.
Ten minutes into the second half, and County huffing and puffing and struggling to break down a resolute Town defence, Gannon made two changes. Jason Taylor made way for Adam Proudlock and Anthony Pilkington replacing the out of sorts Stephen Gleeson.
This gave County a much more attacking feel and immediately went at Mansfield. Rowe's hapless form continued as his long range effort sailed harmlessly wide, and Proudlock, sporting a new crew-cut hair style and also a few inches on the waistline, certainly didn't look out of place as he created a few chances for County with a mixture of neat flick-ons and well weighted passes.
Rose's corner almost went straight in as Mansfield were caught ball watching, Pilkington's darting run looked to have unlocked the Stags' defence but a timely interception kept the home side at bay and from a similar cute one-two Jamie Smith got to the bi-line but once again the visitors held firm.
Then, with time running out, a rare moment of genius eventually ground down The Stags. Tommy Rowe, again flattering to decieve after a few ineffective performances since his coming of age in South Yorkshire, collected the ball twenty five yards out and drove at the defence, with a little jiggery-pokery, he danced into the box before he was cynically taken down by Jake Buxton. The red card looked harsh but it gave County the opportunity to take the lead.
Liam Dickinson neatly dispatched the spot kick to send the Cheadle End into raptures.
With Mansfield running out of ideas and looking more and more likely to concede again, County swarmed all over the visitors. Dickinson spurned a superb opportunity, and Rowe and Blizzard were denied by Muggleton. Then, with Mansfield pushing men forward for a relatively undeserved equaliser, Adam Proudlock robbed Alex Baptiste on half way, drove hard at the Mansfield defence before squaring for Dickinson, and with the whites of Muggleton's eyes, he decided against slipping the ball to the unmarked Proudlock and shot straight at the keeper.
Michael Rose had the Cheadle Enders out of their seats when his superb first time twenty-five yard volley zipped past the outstretched Muggleton, but where County have been guilty of wasing chances and losing games, it was far from pretty, but at the final whistle it was job done. Three points and a leapfrog over Darlington into fourth.
County - Ruddy, Rose, Smith, Owen, Raynes, Dicker, Blizzard, Gleeson (Pilkington), Taylor (Proudlock), Rowe, Dickinson. Subs Not Used - S Logan, C Logan, McNulty.
Mansfield - Muggleton, Mullins, Buxton, Baptiste, Jelleyman (Briggs), Hamshaw, Dawson (Wainwright), D'Laryea, Arnold, Boulding, Louis (Horlock). Subs Not Used - White, Brown.
Att - 4,982
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