Northampton Town 1-0 Mansfield Town (EFL League Two) 14.03.23
It was a bad night in Northampton in midweek for Nigel Clough’s Stags, but it could have easily been much worse at the Sixfields Stadium.
One red card (Stephen Quinn, midway through the second) could easily have been two, on any other day, following visiting Stags ‘keeper, Christy Pym, bringing down Louis Appere just before the half hour.
Anything more than a trip would have spelt disaster for the Stags, who remained in eighth place following the 1-0 defeat, that goal, came from the resultant penalty given away by Pym, who received a caution for his efforts, was duly despatched by Sam Hoskins.
Then, midway through the second period, Stephen Quinn saw red for a two-footed challenge on Kieron Bowie, the Stags seeing out the final, twenty-five plus minutes, with ten men.
The Stags had their chances, Jordan Bowery heading wide, from twelve yards, following a cross by Lucas Akins, in the early stages of the game, before Danny Johnson was seen to send an effort wide, from outside the box, before thirty minutes were registered.
Ollie Clarke, on what was a landmark appearance for the Stags, came close to equalising ten minutes before the interval, but his effort slid wide of Lee Burge’s goal; Johnson also having another effort before the break.
The second half was a little over a minute old when Alfie Kilgour blocked a smashed effort from Hoskins, the hosts pushing for a second, before the Stags’ wide-men fired numerous crosses into the home box, to no avail.
Second half substitute, Rhys Oates, on for Johnson, saw his goal-bound effort saved by Burge with fifteen remaining, with both sides looking for goals as the game wore on.
The visitors though, suffered more injury woes late on when Stephen McLaughlin, on for Davis Keillor Dunn just after the hour, was replaced with less than ten minutes remaining, his replaced, Jason Law, quickly finding his way into the referee’s notebook as well.
On the plus side, it was captain, Ollie Clarke’s, 100 appearance for Mansfield, and the promotion/play-off picture is just about as you were for the Nottinghamshire side.
Ahead of this weekends’ matches, Clough’s charges still have games in hand on the sides around them in the League Two promotion race; although two points separate the three sides sitting in second, to fourth, the sides from fifth, down to tenth, there’s just a seven point split – Stockport County (pld36, pts59), Bradford City (pld35, pts59), Salford (pld36, pts 56), Mansfield (8th, pld34, pts55), Sutton United (pld37, pts55), and Barrow (pld36, pts52).
Next up in the Stags’ ongoing push for promotion, a trip to fifth place Stockport, on Saturday 18 March, before welcoming mid-table Grimsby Town the following Wednesday, 22 March.
Mansfield Town: Christy Pym, James Perch, Alfie Kilgour, Riley Harbottle, Lucas Akins, Jordan Bowery, Ollie Clarke, Kieran Wallace (Hiram Boateng 28), Stephen Quinn, Danny Johnson (Rhys Oates 65), Davis Keillor Dunn (Stephen McLaughlin 64; Jason Law 83).
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc sunk by the Cobblers – action from Sixfields.