Mansfield Town made it four back to back away league victories yesterday as they came from behind at Southport to win 2-1.
Outstanding performances from Junior Daniel, Lee Beevers, Luke Jones and Ritchie Sutton just to name a few helped Stags get through, however one man to particularly impress was Lee Stevenson - the attacking midfielder ran the show and certainly deserved his second goal in as many games.
Prior to the match Stags had only won once all season when conceding the first goal, the win at Kidderminster on August 18th, so naturally there were concerns for Stags when Shaun Whalley put the hosts into a sixth minute lead.
Stags skipper Adam Murray was tenacious in the midfielder and dragged his battling side level on 19 minutes as he thumped a rebounded effort past Tony McMillan in the Southport goal. Lee Stevenson netted what proved to be the winner in a game full of Stags chances on 54 minutes, turning well on the edge of the box to fire a left footed effort underneath McMillan.
It was a case of paying the penalty for relegation threatened Stockport County last night, the miss of a seventh minute penalty proved costly, especially for County boss Jim Gannon who following the 3-1 defeat was dismissed from his post.
For Paul Cox it was all smiles and huge relief as the Stags got back to winning ways, however it took a while for his four changes to settle and in truth Stags should have been two behind in the opening ten minutes, Stockport's Danny Hattersley the guilty party missing a free header before stepping up and driving wide Stockport's 7th minute spot kick after Ritchie Sutton handled in the box.
Relieved from the penalty miss the Stags managed to kick on aand eventually led on 38 minutes, Anthony Howell upended on the edge of the box earned Stags a free kick which Junior Daniel thundered home.
Three minutes later it was two, Lee Beevers' deep free kick flicked on by Jones into the path off Green, his cross-cum-shot tapped in at the back post by Lee Stevenson.
On the stroke of half time John Dempster was fouled by Andy Halls following an Adam Murray corner, Matt Green showed Hattersley how to take a penalty, smashing down the middle for his tenth goal of the season.
After the break Stockport stepped things up and grabbed a consolation nine minutes from time, substitute Alex Meaney tapping into an open goal after Danny Whitehead's shot cannoned back off the post.
Matt Green was the pick of the bunch yesterday for Mansfield Town however there was little to smile about as Kidderminster continued their rampant run, beating a lack lustre Stags 2-0.
Goals from Mickey Demetriou and Lee Vaughn put harriers into a 2-0 half time lead, a solid defensive display in the second half was enough to withstand Stags pressure - Mansfield unable to claw the game back despite the dismissal of substitute Sean Clancy following his reckless challenge on Lee Beevers three minutes after coming from the bench.
The Stags now head into Tuesday's midweek game with Stockport County hoping for an upturn in fortune, they now sit in 10th place in the table nine points off the play-off's with a mammoth four games in hand.
A controversial hand-ball goal from substitute Luis Suarez proved the only difference yesterday as Mansfield Town stood toe to tow with seven time FA Cup winners Liverpool at the One Call Stadium.
Stags put in a performance to be proud of on a day where over 7,000 people filled the One Call Stadium hoping to see an FA Cup giant killing - the 2-1 scoreline doesn't tell the full story and I doubt the greatest writer in all the land would be able too either, the truth is - despite the millions of pounds worth of talent in the Liverpool squad, the Premier League giants were hanging on for deer life and only scraped through to round four, where they face an away trip to Oldham.
Naturally it was Liverpool who started the brightest, debutant Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring with a first time finish on eight minutes following a sublime pass from Jonjo Shelvey, however Stags enjoyed their share of the chances and at the break, were only one behind.
The second half saw Liverpool on the ropes as Mansfield pushed and pushed in search of a leveler, Brendan Rogers through on Jordan Henderson and Luis Suarez to help dig Liverpool out of lumber, the latter doing so on 58 minutes, his initial shot was well saved by Marriott before Liverpools talented hit man controlled with his hand and stroked into the empty net.
Despite the hammer blow Stags still fought and were rewarded twenty minutes later, Matt Green drove home through the crowd after Lindon Meikle's pull back - Liverpool clung on and in truth, should have been facing an Anfield Replay, keeper Brad Jones pulled off two excellent saves to keep the Reds in the game, the clock against Stags and eventually, Liverpool squeezed through.
HIGHLIGHTS (With Craig Priest & Stephen Thrikill)
A man of the match performance from Junior Daniel yesterday helped Stags back to winning ways as they saw off rivals Alfreton 3-0 at the Impact Arena.
In what proved to be a comfortable win, Stags controlled throughout and made amense for the disappointing performance and result in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day.
Despite early chances it took Stags until the 43rd minute to open the scoring, Exodus Geohaghon completing the job after John Dempster had nodded Chris Clements corner back into the mix from the back post.
Daniel then doubled Stags lead six minutes into the second half when he turned in a low cross from Lindon Meikle after Green had saw his effort palmed away. The Stags wrapped things up on 71 minutes, Dempster credited with the final touch following Clements' low free kick.
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