STAGS OUT OF DROP ZONE
A 79th minute penalty from Wayne Corden gave the Stags a valuable point at Huddersfield and moved the side out of the relegation zone.
Huddersfield: Senior, Moses, Gavin, Brown, Sharp, Holland, Irons, Mattis, Schofield, Booth, Smith. Subs: Stead, Worthington, Thorrington, Heary, Jeffery.
Mansfield: Welch, Doane, Eaton, Day, Hassell, Corden, Curtis, Disley, Mendes, Christie, Lawrence. Subs: Pilkington, Williamson, Gadsby, Mitchell, Larkin.
Referee: A Bates (Staffordshire).
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Huddersfield 1 Stags 1: Corden penalty saves point
SPOT king Wayne Corden earned Mansfield a precious point from their big relegation clash at fellow-strugglers Huddersfield's plush McAlpine Stadium last night.
Unchanged Stags had the edge in a tense first half but fell behind when Martin Smith curled the ball inside the far post six minutes after the break with keeper Keith Welch rooted, believing it was going wide.
However, the visitors piled on the pressure and deservedly levelled 11 minutes from time when Corden netted a second vital penalty in four days after Jason Gavin had handled.
Hassell twice made important early interceptions as the home side tried to force the pace.
But Mansfield, roared on by a huge following at their backs, created danger of their own when Corden made space for a teasing cross, only for Christie to completely miss his attempted overhead-kick finish.
On 14 minutes home keeper Senior had his first save to make as Corden cut in and drilled a low shot on target.
Mendes' pace was causing the Terriers problems on the right, and when he sped past two defenders and crossed low Christie went down too easily under a challenge from Gavin with no question of a penalty.
Senior twice comfortably gathered Corden free kicks from promising positions. But Smith was again the danger man as he set up Holland who miscued his finish from 16 yards.
Irons then had an 18-yard shot deflected inches wide for a corner on 31 minutes.
Mansfield enjoyed another good spell of pressure but were almost caught on the break as Day slipped when trying to stay with Booth down the right, the striker's cross then almost creeping under the bar, Welch turning it over at the last minute.
Pacy winger Thorrington replaced Mattis at the break for the visitors.
Stags had an early injury scare when Hassell stayed down holding a knee after a memorable run that began with an interception in his own half and carried him storming into the Terriers' penalty box. Much to Mansfield's relief he was able to continue after treatment.
But disaster struck shortly afterwards when Huddersfield grabbed the lead out of the blue on 51 minutes, leaving keeper Welch red-faced.
Smith broke down the right, and from 20 yards sent a curling shot across goal. Welch was happy to stand his ground as he thought the ball was going wide of the far post, but to his horror it curled just inside and nestled in the net.
Clearly stunned, Mansfield stepped up the offensive, forcing two corners while Lawrence had a hopeful shot punched out by Senior.
With the home fans finding their voice for the first time all night their team were responding with their best spell of possession so far.
And Curtis pulled off a timely tackle on Smith in the box as he shaped to tuck away Schofield's low cross.
Mansfield slowly re-asserted their authority and Holland almost put through his own goal, under pressure from Disley, from a low Mendes cross, the ball passing narrowly wide for a corner.
The home side survived a torrid scramble when that came over and Mansfield continued to build their corner count forcing three more without profit.
The Stags bench began to ring the changes with Larkin replacing Lawrence up front on 71, and then going with three at the back five minutes later as Willamson replaced Doane.
It almost paid off within a minute as Christie turned sharply to get in a spearing low shot from 18 yards which Senior did well to clutch.
But the equaliser was not long in coming. Eaton's long free kick 11 minutes from time was headed on by Disley but prevented from reaching Larkin by the hand of Gavin. The referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty, and ice-cool Corden stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way.
Welch was the hero three minutes from time as he kept out Thorrington's low finish with his knees after Smith found him unmarked.
HUDDERSFIELD: Senior, Moses, Gavin, Brown, Sharp, Mattis (Thorrington h/t), Irons (Heary 62), Holland, Booth, Schofield (Stead 89), Smith. Subs not used: Worthington, Jeffery.
STAGS: Welch, Christie, Hassell, Eaton, Lawrence (Larkin 71), Doane (Williamson 76), Day, Curtis, Corden (Gadsby 90), Mendes. Subs not used: Pilkington, Mitchell.
REFEREE: Tony Bates of Stoke.
SCORERS: Huddersfield - Smith 51. Mansfield - Corden 79 (pen).
CAUTIONS: Mansfield - Mendes 84 (unsporting conduct)
STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Bobby Hassell.
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