Mansfield Town's awful away form continued on Friday evening as two mistakes saw Paul Cox's Stags fall to a 2-0 defeat at Dartford in front of the Premier Sports TV Cameras.
The Stags look comfortable for the first 44 minutes but on the stroke of half time switched off as Ryan Hayes' quick throw was smashed home by Darts skipper Elliot Bradbrook.
From the restart Gary Roberts gave the ball away and Ryan Hayes quickly romped forward to curl home a sublime and unstoppable second for the hosts prior to half time.
A series of saves fro Liam Mitchell during the second half saw the scoreline remain at 2-0, at the other end a lack luster forward line never looked like scoring, the team seemingly out of confidence away from home.
Two goals midway through each half from Jake Speight were enough to send Stags through to the FA Cup first round yesterday, as they ran out 2-1 winners over Blue Square North outfit Workington AFC at Borough Park.
Andy Todd's 32nd minute long ball helped open the scoring in what as a tough encounter for Mansfield, Matt Green's flick to Speight saw the leading hit man easily slot home.
Substitute Ben Hutchinson set Speight for his second on 66 minutes with an accute flick to the left of the box, Speight again tucking underneath the keeper.
Late on Shane Redmond gave away a cheap penalty which Gareth Arnison converted with five minutes remaining, he Irish keeper claiming numerous late crosses to ensure Mansfield's place in round one.
FULL AUDIO (First few minutes missing to recording fault)
Matt Rhead was the hero yesterday at the One Call Stadium as Mansfield finally put an end to a grey run of form, the burly hit man heading in a Geohaghon throw in the 89th minute.
It was another scrappy affair and one which could have gone either way, the visitors having numerous chances to seize on Stags errors thoughout the first half.
Loanee keeper Liam Mitchell came to the Stags rescue midway through the second half when he pulled off a sublime save to deny Matt Taylor a point blank header. A slip from Mitchell, Geohaghon & Sutton in the final minute nearly saw the visitors capitalize however Adam Murray, who misses next weeks trip to Workington after picking up his 5th booking of the season yesterdat, cleared to Substitute Louis Briscoe who won a throw after charging forward. What happened next was what Mansfield needed, Geohaghon's bullet finding Rhead who nodded in through a crowd of players to smash the rising tension into a million pieces.
Attendance: 2019 (60)
Referee: Ross Joyce
Assistants: Graeme Fyvive - Luke Watson
Fourth Official: Craig Grundy
Mansfield were again left feeling the bur of frustration tonight as they failed to beat David Holdsworth's Lincoln City, the teams playing out a goalless draw.
Cox made seven changes for the Stags following injuries to John Thompson, Exodus Geohaghon, Chris Clements and Anthony Howell - the later two during Monday's training session. The seven changes, which included player-coach Andy Todd helped improved Mansfield's play from Saturday and did, in our oppinion at least, provide a platform to build upon - the build up to Matt Green's first half offside effort the prime example.
At full time the players were booed off the pitch with a minority of supporters said to have hurled abuse, amoungst other things, at Cox, his coaching staff and the players - a sad story to hear.
Once again it was curse of the 4-3-3 as a pathetic display from Mansfield resulted in a 4-1 thumping at the hands of Cambridge United. The Stags weren't helped by loosing two defenders during the first half, John Thompson withdrawn with a suspected broken leg, revealed later to be bad bruising, before Exodus Geohaghon tweaked his ankle ligaments.
The Stags were flat footed and trailed 1-0 at the break following Michael Gash's 9th minute opener, he struck again on 50 minutes before further goals from Tom Elliott and Ross Jarvis had killed the game. Jake Speight scored a late consilation deflecting in Anthony Howell's effort but it was nothing to write home or smile about, the Stags putting in a frankly pathetic display.
Full Audio, for those than can bare it, can be found below -
Commentary from Craig Priest & Stephen Thirkill
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