STAGS MISS CHANCE TO SEAL PROMOTION
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Stevenage
Walker 83. Guthrie 71, Chair 90+2
Attendance: 6390 (209 from Stevenage)
Date: 27 April 2019
Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town missed the chance to effectively seal promotion, losing 2-1 at home to Stevenage this afternoon. The Stags went behind after 71 minutes, but a goal from Tyler Walker after 83 minutes made it 1-1. With MK Dons losing 2-0 at Colchester, a late winner for the Stags would effectively have sealed promotion barring a ten goal swing in goal difference at MK Dons next Saturday. The Stags threw men forward but got caught on the break in the 2nd minute of stoppage time as Ilias Chair scored a fine goal to win the game for Stevenage, and keep the visitors in with a chance of reaching the play-offs. It was a bitter blow for the Stags.
The situation is now this:
If Tranmere draw or lose to Bury on Tuesday night in a game postponed from today, then the Stags will need to draw at MK Dons next Saturday to ensure promotion.
If Tranmere beat Bury on Tuesday, then the Stags will need to win at MK Dons next Saturday to ensure promotion (though a draw for the Stags would be enough if EITHER Tranmere then draw/lose in their final game at Crawley, OR Bury then lose their final game at home to Port Vale).
The situation could have been worse. Forest Green led at Crewe with three minutes to go, but conceded two late goals to lose. Had they won, they would have been level on points with Mansfield and MK Dons going into the final day of the season.
Played in a very strong wind, this was a poor performance from Mansfield. Stevenage had the strong wind behind them in the first half and should have been ahead at the break, but for Conrad Logan making two excellent saves, and a header which skimmed off Krystian Pearce’s head which hit the post rather going into the net for an own goal. The Stags created nothing in the first half. In the second half, Mansfield pinned Stevenage in their own half for long periods with the wind behind them but created few clearcut chances before Stevenage took the lead after 71 minutes. The excellent Ilias Chair, on loan from QPR, crossed from the right, Kurtis Guthrie controlled on his chest and fired past Logan. The Stags continued to have most of the possession and had chances to equalise as substitutes Jorge Grant and Danny Rose missed chances, Jacob Mellis had a powerful shot parried away and CJ Hamilton’s shot from the rebound was blocked when on target. The Stags drew level after 83 minutes when Conrad Logan’s huge ball forward, assisted by the wind, was nicked past the advancing keeper by Tyler Walker for an opportunistic goal, his 26th of the season. Suddenly there was real hope that the Stags could find a winner which would have effectively sealed promotion. CJ Hamilton got into the area on the right, but sent a cross-shot badly wide. With the Stags pouring players forward, Stevenage broke after 90+4 minutes and Ilias Chair fired a fine shot past Logan from the edge of the box. A very good goal, and one of such quality that it deserved to win the game.
The Mansfield crowd, a sell-out for home fans, who gave great support throughout the game, were stunned into silence. It was a huge anti-climax. The Stags have the chance to go again next Saturday, but will need to play much better than this. A performance like against Exeter or Morecambe recently is needed to get the Stags over the line.
Mansfield made one change from the side that lost at Oldham. Tomlinson came in for Grant. Stevenage were unchanged from the last game, a draw with Exeter. Stevenage were in good form, unbeaten for four games, three wins and that draw. Joel Byrom, a former Stag, was in midfield for Stevenage. Johnny Hunt was an unused substitute. Their star man is Ilias Chair, on loan from QPR. Before the game, the Stevenage media manager told me that Chair is far too good for League Two, based on recent performances.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Mansfield Town waste chance to all but seal League Two promotion after 2-1 home defeat to Stevenage
chad.co.uk, by JOHN LOMAS, Saturday 27 April 2019
Ilias Chair broke Mansfield Town hearts with a stoppage time winner as Stags wasted a chance to all but seal automatic promotion in a 2-1 home defeat by Stevenage this afternoon.
Chair caught Stags out pushing for a winner to seal a smash and grab win for a Stevenage side still in with outside hopes of the play-offs.
With rivals MK Dons losing at Colchester, Stags could have made next weekend’s last game at MK a little easier for themselves.
But they found themselves behind to a goal against the run of play by Kurtis Guthrie on 71 minutes.
Tyler Walker’s 26th goal of the season revived home hopes on 84 minutes, but they were ultimately punished for going for broke for a winner at the death.
Mansfield made one change, which was in midfield where Will Tomlinson took over from Jorge Grant, who dropped to the bench.
Stags began the day in the top three only on goal difference ahead of MK Dons, who play at Colchester.
Stags’ other promotion rivals Bury had their trip to Tranmere postponed until Tuesday due to a waterlogged pitch to prolong the tension.
The game kicked off in a tremendous atmosphere and referee Drysdale produced a yellow card after only three minutes after Timlin hacked down Tomlinson.
But the Stags slowly began to build up a head of steam and push the visitors back into their own box.
Keeper Farman had his first save to pull off on eight minutes as Benning flashed a free kick towards the near post from 25 yards out on the right and Farman dived to his left to turn it round his post.
On 15 minutes a lovely backheel from Mellis put Tomlinson into space for a low shot that Farman again had to push round at full length.
Walker then sent Hamilton on his way on the right, but his shot was well over.
But there was danger on 22 minutes as Stags failed to clear a free kick from the left and Nugent had clear sight of goal only to see Logan superbly beat away his finish from 10 yards.
A minute later alarm bells were ringing as Guthrie’s flicked header took a deflection onto the post and out for a corner.
Suddenly the home tension was almost unbearable as Stevenage racked up a string of corners.
On 31 minutes Guthrie burst past three opponents into the box and went down under a challenge, but Drysdale said no penalty.
A minute later Logan made another save as he clawed round a long range effort from Chair, and soon after Sonupe drilled a low shot just wide as the home fans turned up the noise to try to lift their players.
Stags were angry on 41 minutes as Nugent tripped Hamilton as he tried to burst clear into the box and no card was shown.
But a tense half ended goalless.
A minute into the restart Tomlinson was booked for his foul on Sonupe.
Farman had to push a Benning corner away as it threatened to curl straight in as Stags began to press hard, winning four early corners.
On 58 minutes the visitors got upfield for the first time and Sonupe was wide with a shot on the turn.
Seconds later Walker was wide from 20 yards as the ball sat up invitingly for him to prod it goalwards.
Still desperately needing a goal, Stags sent on striker Rose in place of midfielder Tomlinson with 25 minutes to go.
Rose soon had a chance but his header sailed over from Benning’s cross.
Instead it was the visitors who took a shock lead against the run of play as Guthrie controlled a cross, turned and smashed a low volley past Logan.
Stags quickly sent on Grant for Jones as the pressure mounted.
On 79 minutes Mellis had a shot parried by Farman and Hamilton saw his follow-up superbly blocked by Nugent.
But on 84 minutes Stags were level. Logan’s kick caught on the wind and Walker nipped through the defence to beat Farman to it and guide it into the empty net.
In a last throw of the dice, MacDonald replaced Benning on 90 minutes.
But, as they pushed forward, Stags were caught out in the third added minute of five as Chair fired a low shot inside the left post from the edge of the box to break home hearts.
MANSFIELD: Logan; Sweeney, Peace, Preston; Jones (Grant 73), Bishop, Tomlinson (Rose 65), Mellis, Benning (MacDonald 90); Walker, Hamilton. Subs: Smith, Atkinson, Turner, Hakeem.
STEVENAGE: Farman, Wildin, Timlin, Cuthbert, Byrom, Sonupe (McKee 81), Chair (Wilkinson 90+4), Vancooten, Guthrie, Nugent, Martin. Subs: Byrne, Hunt, Revell, Gibson, Smyth.
REFEREE: Darren Drysdale of Lincolnshire.
ATTENDANCE: 6,390 (209 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Krystian Pearce.
League Two: Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 2
by Lee Power
Stevenage kept their play-off hopes alive thanks to an injury-time winner from loan star Ilias Chair.
Kurtis Guthrie gave Boro the lead at the One Call Stadium, only to see Tyler Walker get the Stags back on terms.
But QPR youngster Chair further endeared himself to the Stevenage faithful to ensure they will go into their last match of the season still in with a chance of climbing into the top seven.
Boro boss Dino Maamria named an unchanged starting line-up from the Easter Monday draw with Exeter City but saw Michael Timlin pick up a yellow card with only three minutes played.
Chair saw a shot blocked by Matt Preston moments later, before Paul Farman produced an important stop at the other end to prevent Malvind Benning's free-kick creeping in at the near post.
Farman got down to his right to push Willem Tomlinson's shot behind for a corner, after a neat flick from Jacob Mellis on 16 minutes,
But Boro had a great chance to open the scoring midway through the first half when Scott Cuthbert's flick on the edge of the box found Timlin, who teed up Ben Nugent, but his shot was saved by Logan.
And the visitors were inches away moments later as Terence Vancooten's floated cross for Guthrie was intercepted by a Mansfield defender, who saw the ball hit the post and go behind for a corner.
The set-piece then reached Timlin at the far post, but his scuffed shot was cleared by the hosts for another corner.
And after Guthrie had penalty claims waved away having gone down in the box, Boro almost took the lead on 31 minutes when Chair let fly from range, only to see Conrad Logan produce a fingertip save to keep the scoreline blank.
Emmanuel Sonupe fired a right-footed shot from outside the box wide of the left-hand post two minutes later, but CJ Hamilton then broke through and was taken down by Nugent, who escaped censure, before Benning's free-kick was blocked and cleared.
Maamria's men would have been disappointed to still be on level terms at the break, given the possession enjoyed and chances created in the opening 45 minutes.
And the Stags made a bright start to the second half, without seriously testing Farman, other than asking him to claim a series of crosses.
Sonupe dragged a shot on the turn wide on the target just before the hour mark, but Nugent did well to intercept Benning's inviting cross and head behind, before substitute Danny Rose headed over for the home side.
Boro stunned the home crowd with 19 minutes left when Chair picked out Guthrie, who chested the ball down and volleyed past Logan to break the deadlock.
But the visitors were grateful to Nugent for a stunning block to deny Hamilton, after Farman had pushed out a shot from Mellis on 78 minutes.
Mansfield were back on level terms seven minutes from time, though, when Logan's long kick caught the Boro defence out and Tyler Walker took advantage to net his 17th second-half goal of the campaign.
And it looked like honours would finish even until the second minute of stoppage time when Chair fired a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner of the net for a late winner to leave them two points off the play-off spots as they end their campaign with a home match against Cheltenham Town at the Lamex on May 4.
Stevenage: Farman, James-Wildin, Timlin, Cuthbert, Byrom, Sonupe (McKee 81), Chair (Wilkinson 90), Vancooten, Guthrie, Nugent, Martin. Unused subs: Byrne, Hunt, Revell, Gibson, Smyth.
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