STAGS BACK ON TRACK WITH WIN
The Stags recorded a well deserved victory at Kennilworth Road tonight despite conceding two late goals. A 9th minute goal by Liam Lawrence was added to by Scott Sellars on 23 minutes. Shortly after half time Iyseden Christie made it 3-0 and the Stags appeared to be cruising to victory. However, two goals in the last 5 minutes from Howard and Nicholls set up a nervous last few minutes but the Stags survived to record a much needed 2nd win of the season. Full report to appear later.
Emberson , Boyce , Perrett , Bayliss , Davis , Brkovic , Spring , Nicholls , Hughes , Crowe , Howard
Subs: Neilson , Robinson , Coyne , Fotiadis , Holmes
Pilkington , Clark , Moore , Lever , Delaney , Lawrence , Williamson , Disley , MacKenzie , Sellars , Christie
Subs: White , Corden , Larkin , Reddington , White
Stags end miserable run
DESPITE an agonisingly nervous finish Mansfield Town halted their miserable run with a superb tonic 3-2 victory at Luton Town last night.
After six straight defeats manager Stuart Watkiss had accused his players of not giving 100 per cent, and they responded in the best possible way by romping into a shock 3-0 lead.
Mark Lever and Neil Moore were magnificent in the heart of defence, which shut out the Hatters until the last five minutes, when two goals in as many minutes saw Mansfield clinging on for the final whistle.
The victory was even more crucial with bottom-placed Cheltenham beating Swindon, which sets up Saturday's clash with the Robins at Field Mill.
Liam Lawrence set Mansfield on their way on nine minutes with Scott Sellars, whose only other goal for the Stags came on this ground last season, making it 2-0 on 23 minutes.
Iyseden Christie curled the third just after the break while Craig Disley also spurned two one-on-ones as Mansfield gave the Hatters a real run around until those nervy closing stages.
Stags made two changes from Saturday's 6-1 nightmare at Oldham with Wayne Corden dropped to the bench and Peter Clark out with a knee injury.
That saw a return in the centre of defence for Lever, with Damien Delaney moved across to left back.
Sellars returned for his first start in six games to play just behind Christie up front.
Interestingly, Moore was handed the captain's armband instead of youngster Lee Williamson.
Mansfield almost shocked Luton in the fourth minute after Disley had won a free kick 10 yards into the Luton half.
Sellars floated it forwards and Lever got in a flicked free header that sailed just wide with the defence rooted and more time than he thought.
Christie then just failed to connect with an overhead kick from a Lawrence cross 10 yards from goal.
It was a supremely confident start by the Stags, stroking around some crisp passing and belying their recent results.
Luton did threaten on eight minutes whn a razor-sharp pass by Hughes put Crowe in on goal, only for Moore to slidein with a superb rescuing tackle.
Immediately Mansfield punished some poor defending at the other end with the opening goal on nine minutes.
Perrett failed to make a simple clearance and simply presented the ball to Lawrence six yards from goal. He steadied himself and made some room before poking his finish past Emberson.
The home fans were becoming increasingly restless as Mansfield continued to totally dominate, forcing two unproductive corners.
Lawrence again tested Emberson with a low 18-yard shot from a poor clearance, but the keeper was well behind it.
The Hatters fans even booed manager Joe Kinnear when he replace Paul Hughes with Chris Coyne on 23 minutes.
And their misery was complete from the restart when McKenzie found Sellars on the edge of the box, and he teased the defence before picking his spot with a low finish just inside Emberson's left hand post.
Mansfield really should have added a third on 28 after breaking quickly from a Luton corner. Disley exchanged passes with Williamson to go one on one with the keeper. But, as at Oldham on Saturday, he was denied by the goalie's legs.
Luton had their best chance on 32 when, from a short free kick, Spring's low shot forced Pilkington down into a save, but he could not hold on. Perrett looked a certain scorer with the follow-up, but the keeper spread himself brilliantly to block the finish.
Both sides came close as half time approached with Howard powering a header over for Luton and, for Mansfield, Moore seeing his header from Stags' third corner, deflect inches wide.
Luton gambled by using their two other substitutes at half time and pushed three up front.
The Hatters inevitably went straight at the Stags and Nicholls had a shot deflected fractionally over.
But Stags stung them with a third goal on 50 minutes. From a free kick down the left, Christie found Sellars who timed his return through ball to perfection, and Christie's finish was exquisite off the outside of his left boot, curling low round the keeper and just inside the post.
Mansfield survived one or two real scrambles while Howard saw a header drop on top of the net.
The Stags were still creating the better openings, and Christie flashed a shot across the face of goal while Disley, breaking quickly onto McKenzie's through ball, speared his finish just wide.
On 72 minutes Howard thundered a header against the Mansfield crossbar from Crowe's cross.
Luton desperately sought a consolation and Robinson headed a corner against the bar while Fotiadis blasted wide from five yards.
Howard finally found a way past Pilkington five minutes from time with a well-placed header, and two minutes later Stags were suddenly up against it when a hopeful 25-yard shot from Nicholls somehow found a way through everyone and past the unsighted Pilkington.
LUTON: Emberson, Spring, Perrett, Nicholls, Crowe, Boyce, Brkovic (Robinson h/t), Howard, Hughes (Coyne 23), Bayliss Fotiadis h/t), Davis. Subs not used: Neilson, Holmes.
STAGS: Pilkington, Delaney, Clarke, Moore, Lever (Reddington 86), Lawrence, Disley, MacKenzie, Williamson, Sellars (A. White 86), Christie. Subs not used: J. White, Corden, Larkin.
REFEREE: Barry Knight of Orpington
scorers: Mansfield - Lawrence 9, Sellars 23, Christie 50. Luton - Howard 85; Nicholls 87.
CAUTION: Luton - Bayliss 12 (foul on Disley), Nicholls 53 (foul on Lawrence).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Mark Lever.
Report from BBC.co.uk
After eight Nationwide League games without a win, Mansfield stunned Luton with a victory to move above the Hatters in the table.
Luton started slowly and a mistake by Russ Perrett led to Liam Lawrence shooting Mansfield into the lead on nine minutes.
Scott Sellars doubled the advantage on 23 minutes and Luton changed their formation in vain, using all three substitutes in an effort to find a winning formula.
But Mansfield, defending carefully and looking dangerous on the break, went further ahead on 50 minutes through Iyseden Christie.
And not until the last 20 minutes did Luton figure as an attacking outfit.
Steve Howard and Perrett saw headers hit the crossbar before Luton staged a late revival with the former heading home on 85 minutes and skipper Kevin Nicholls reducing the arrears further a minute later.
But Luton could not find an equaliser and went down to their third home defeat of the season.
Report from footymad.net:
Mansfield Town ended a run of five straight defeats with a 3-2 victory at early season relegation rivals Luton Town.
But the Stags made their small travelling army of supporters sweat for victory by conceding two late goals against the Luton team, who were unbeaten in their previous five matches.
Goals by Liam Lawrence, the evergreen Scott Sellars and Iyseden Christie had seen Mansfield race into a 3-0 lead after 50 minutes. That advantage was deserved against the Luton team that produced their worst performance since Joe Kinnear took over as manager in February 2001.
Luton could still have snatched the point, however, with Steve Howard and Steve Robinson both hitting the crossbar before Howard and Kevin Nicholls found the net in the final five minutes.
Mansfield went in front after nine minutes when Lawrence took advantage of a Russell Perrett mistake to shoot into Carl Emberson's bottom corner from inside the six-yard box.
Sellars doubled the visitors' lead on 23 minutes when he ran unchallenged into the Hatters penalty box before shooting low past Emberson.
Kinnear had used all three of his substitutes by the start of the second half and changed his formation twice, but it was the Stags who scored again after 50 minutes.
Christie looked suspiciously offside when he collected Sellars' intelligent pass but no flag was raised and the striker curled an exquisite shot into Emberson's bottom corner with the outside of his left foot.
Luton finally found some passion in the game's closing stages and Howard headed in Sol Davis' free-kick after 85 minutes.
Nicholls then ensured a grandstand finish when he beat Kevin Pilkington with a low 25-yard shot, but it was too little too late for Luton and Mansfield's fans returned up the M1 celebrating maximum points
Match Statistics (Luton/Stags)
15 Goal Attempts 12
5 On target 7
8 Off target 5
2 Woodwork 0
8 Corners 6
12 Fouls 12
0 Offside 0
Latest | September 2002