Mansfield Town's preparations for the league two season continued in disappointing style this weekend as the majority of the squad were tested against Coventry City and Boston United.
First up was League One Coventry on Friday evening, a 90th minute penalty saw Stags beaten as they twice squandered the lead after goals from trialist Calvin Andrew and the impressive Sam Clucas.
Less than 15 hours later, the remainder of the squad were embarrassed as they gifted Conference North outfit Boston three cheap goals and could only respond with a second half strike from substitute Ben Hutchinson.
TEAM SHEET: Coventry City (H)
AUDIO HIGHLIGHTS: Coventry City (H)
TEAM SHEET: Boston United (A)
AUDIO HIGHLIGHTS: Boston United (A)
FULL AUDIO: Boston United (A)
Two goals from Ben Hutchinson and further strikes from Ross Dyer and trialist Jordan Ball saw Mansfield Town crowned champions of the newly formed Green Energy Challenge Trophy.
The Trophy is expected to be competed between the Stags and the Wrens annually as the respective chairman of both clubs continue their childhood friendly rivalry and the two clubs continue to form strong ties.
Stags were in control throughout, Manged by Richard Cooper whilst Adam Murray and boss Paul Cox headed elsewhere as the search for a striker continues.
Matt Green was again the hero last night as he scored twice to help Stags come from behind at Hereford, moving them two points clear at the top of the table with ONE game remaining.
Green, along with Lindon Meikle, put in a man of the match display as Stags demonstrated their desire and belief to overturn Ryan Bowman's eight minute opener.
Lindon Meikle's clipped cross made the leveller on 37 as Green nodded in, before substitute Matt Rhead flicked into Green's path in the dying seconds to steal the points and make it advantage Mansfield going into Saturday's show down with Wrexham.
The match is available in two parts due to a recording fault, meaning there are roughly three minutes not recorded (60-63)
Matt Green's 24th goal of the season yesterday could well have sent Mansfield back into the football league, however the promotion tale took another twist as Stags lost their grip on top spot, losing 2-1 at Braintree.
Stags were two points clear at the top of the table prior to kick off and would have gone five clear had they won at Braintree.
Matt Green got the Stags off to an excellent start on eight minutes as he fired them ahead from Lee Beevers' exquisite long range pass. The Stags, buoyed by the opener kicked on but failed to get a second, Green slammed against the post whilst Daniel, Briscoe & Stevenson all saw efforts blocked.
The second half was a total nightmare, Braintree levelling on the hour mark through Matt Paine with a tame long range effort which should have been closed down, before Kaine Sheppard netted what proved to be the winner 14 minutes later.
Stags then cursed Braintree keeper Nathan McDonald as he thrice denied Matt Rhead, time proved to short in the end and Braintree wrecked the Stag Party, ruined further by the 5.15pm kick off as Kidderminster moved back to top of the table, beating Wrexham 2-1.
Simply Mansfield need to win their next two matches to go up as Champions.
Mansfield Town got back to winning way's yesterday in beautiful Barrow as the coolly saw off a resistant and tough Barrow side by four goals to nil.
Paul Cox's Stags responded brilliantly to defeat in Wrexham less than 42 hours prior to kick-off at Barrow to break yet more club records, the victory at Holker Street is the clubs 12th away win of the season - the most ever collected in a single single, beating the previous total of 11.
Four goals at Holker Street added to the EIGHT scored at the One Call Stadium in early February also totals up to make another record, the 12 in total scored against Barrow is a new club high for the most goals scored against an opponent (combined home and away) in a season.
It could have been oh so different had Alan Marriott not put in a man of the match performance, his penalty save and subsequent save of the rebound on 27 minutes from Richie Baker completely changed the swing of the game as lady luck switched sides. Barrow struck the post twice, hit the bar and forced Marriott into a number of fine stops throughout the match.
Matt Green grabbed his 21st of the season to open the scoring on 29 minutes as a fluent move saw Junior Daniel unselfishly pull the ball back across the six yard line allowing Green a typical poachers strike. Louis Briscoe was then upended on 41 minutes earning the Stags a penalty which Green coolly tucked home before three players laid claim to Stags third goal on the hour mark. Adam Murray claims his free kick went in whilst Lee Stevenson claimed a touch and celebrated as if he'd scored, sprinting to the away support of 300 and ripping his top off, whilst John Dempster slammed the ball into the net at the far post - he awarded the goal by the Press Association who had the same view as us inside the press box, blocked by the numerous pillions.
Stevenson then wrapped things up in the final minute, tapping over the line following Matt Rhead's unselfish assist - the late goal keeps Stags level on goal difference with Kidderminster as they ran out 3-0 winners at home to Lincoln. The Harriers remain top but have SIX points to play for now whilst Stags are a POINT behind with a huge TWELVE to play for, the first of two remaining games in hand comes on Tuesday as Stags host Macclesfield.
Matt Green's 20th strike of the season, his 50th club goal in all competitions for Stags, didn't prove enough for Stags to put another three points on the board as their winning run came to an end at Wrexham last night.
Luke Jones controversially saw a goal ruled out five minutes into the second half before his thunderous header bounced off the bar and saw Green tap home on 53 minutes.
Alan Marriott then fumbled Dean Keates' free kick as Wrexham levelled on 68 before a fluent move saw Danny Wright smash home the winner eleven minutes later.
Defeat for Stags leaves them as they were, in second place a point behind Kidderminster however they now have TWO games in hand, against Macclesfield on Tuesday at the One Call and then the trip to Hereford the following week.
Luke Jones was the man of the moment once more yesterday as his 7th goal of the season proved the decisive factor for the Stags 11th straight victory, this time seeing off Tamworth at The Lamb ground.
It was yet another scrappy game which could have pivoted either way, Tamworth threw everything at Stags in their quest for safety but Paul Cox's side stood firm in keeping up the pace with Kidderminster.
At the other end Liam Mitchell kept out his former club on countless occasions as Mansfield knocked on the door so hard, they came away with bruised and blooded knuckles. Jones, outstanding at the heart of the Stags back four, proved his menace at the other end too, driving home debutant Greg Taylor's deep free kick on 61 minutes in front of over 1,100 Stags fans, who out numbered the home fans 3 to 1.
Jones vital goal keeps Stags in a frustrating second as Kidderminster came from behind to beat Braintree with the fortune of an Iron own goal, they remain top but have the agony of watching on as Stags have three games in hand, the first coming on Thursday night when Cox's men goto Wrexham who now trail Stags by eight points in third - having played the same amount of games as us and of course us still to play twice.
A solid defensive display from Luke Jones helped Stags move to top of the Blue Square Premier last night as they triumphed over promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers by two goals to one at the New Lawn.
An own goal from Rovers' Eddie Oshodi following Lindon Meikle's 29th minute effort opened the scoring before Lee Stevenson doubled Stags' lead two minutes into the second half following an interchange with Matt Green.
James Norwood set up a tense finish as he netted five minutes from full time to make it 2-1, however determined as ever, Stags hung on and claimed top spot in the blue square premier, remaing their tonight (Saturday) after Wrexham's goalless draw with Luton - this sets up a classic encounter midweek when Stags travel to Wrexham.
Due to a recording fault, the audio uploaded may be slightly distorted - for best results please have your volume down low
Matt Green was the man of the moment last night as his 91st minute strike sealed all three points for Stags as they moved up into the play-offs and continued their assault on the title despite a truly awful display.
It was a case of being as the Stags defensive display being as woeful as the Imps finishing for the most part of the ever fiery encounter. Mansfield surviving numerous openings created by the rampant hosts, on any other night it could have been oh so different.
Junior Daniel saw a goal chalked off during the first half whilst Stags were bizarrely awarded a free kick rather than a penalty during the second.
In the end the game was sealed by Green who slipped a shot beneath Farman in the 91st minute following Lindon Meikle's cushioned assist following a Jennings cross, much to the delight of the Stags fans who went crazy as Green peeled away to celebrate passionately with the corner flag....
The Stags now move up to 4th with 15 games remaining, five points behind leaders Wrexham with not only a game in hand on the FA Trophy finalists but them to play both home and away.
Lee Beevers was arguably the key man for Stags yesterday at Kenilworth Road as he put in a man of the match performance which included playing on through the pain barrier.
The former Walsall man dislocated his shoulder midway through the first half and had it popped back in by physio Simon Murphy and local paramedics before returning to the pitch.
A hostile atmosphere as ever provided the back drop to another fierce encounter which had more twists and turns that spaghetti junction, Lindon Meikle's late strike sealing a 3-2 win and Stags first victory at Luton since 2002.
Matt Green opened the scoring on 31 minute from the penalty spot before Luton took advantage of Beevers' injury six minute later, netting the leveler as a pain and oxygen filled Beevers waited to return to the action - Scott Rendell netting the hatters goal.
On the stroke of half time Junior Daniel put Stags back in control as he stroked home, however within a minute of the second half a slip from John Dempster allowed Andre Grey to drive home Luton's second equilser of the match.
The final ten minutes were tense as managerless Luton searched for a win, however a later counter attack proved to be the difference, Chris Clements (restored to the line up moments before the match for the injured Howell who pulled up in the warm-up) saw his shot saved by Tyler - substitute Lindon Meikle thundered home the rebound in the 90th minute to seal the match.
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