Calvin Andrew wrote himself into Mansfield Town folk law yesterday as he scored the only goal of the game as the Stags beat arch rivals Chesterfield for the first time in ten years. The ink on Andrew’s name won’t be as bold though as that of goalkeeper Alan Marriott, whose stunning display between the sticks played a huge part in the momentous victory over the league leaders.
Paul Cox’s men put in a brave-hearted display and despite being opened up on numerous occasions, gave there all to claim victory as they fought like troupers to bat away everything the hosts threw at them.
Over ten thousand supporters packed into the stadium to create a typical derby-day atmosphere, the vising support of 1,992 made the most noise as they aimed to back their side onto victory, Paul Cox stuck with the side which beat Northampton 3-0 at the One Call Stadium last weekend.
Hosts Chesterfield topped the division going into the match having won seven of their opening eight matches, they made the brighter start as James Jennings was forced to turn behind a low cross for a corner. Danger man Gary Roberts swung the ball in but failed to pick out any blue shirts as the sea of Amber rose dominantly to clear their lines.
Alan Marriott then kept Mansfield in the fixture on 12 minutes as a fluent move from the hosts saw Jimmy Ryan let fly from distance, the Stags custodian did superbly to palm the ball to safety. Moments later at the other end, the terrier like Jamie McGuire spurned Mansfield’s first effort of the match firing wide of the target – Sam Clucas also hit a half-effort wide on the spin from Hutchinson’s low pass.
There was soon danger for Stags as the conceded a free kick on the edge of the box on 23 minutes, Roberts stepped up to strike but saw his effort cannon off the wall – Anthony Howell headed away the resulting corner but the hosts kept on the pressure, the Stags hanging on to eventually see the ball flash behind for a goal-kick.
On the half hour mark Alan Marriott again came to Mansfield’s rescue as Eoin Doyle broke free to get one v one – the Stags shot-stopper palmed away the effort before Ryan Tafazolli swept the loose ball away.
Seven minutes later and Mansfield’s supporters were sent into sheer jubilation as they grabbed the lead. Ben Hutchinson swung in a pinpoint corner which Calvin Andrew bulleted home with his head, the striker sprinted the entire length of the pitch to celebrate with the Stags fans.
Soon after it should have been two as Clucas teed up Hutchinson, the front man rattled the post with a driven effort – at the other end as Chesterfield searched for a leveller, they also rattled the paintwork but failed to peg back the resilient Stags.
After the break the intensity remained, Gary Roberts wasted a free kick for the hosts just minutes into the first half whilst at the other end, Ryan Tafazolli came agonisingly close to netting in-front of the Stags support as he headed a free kick wide on 54 minutes.
Marriott was again down low three minutes later to keep out Roberts’ low cross, Ritchie Humphries had the chance to net with the follow up but wasted the opportunity as he blazed over at the far post to the jeers from the Stags faithful.
Chesterfield raced forwards in desperate search of the equaliser but in every clearance, Mansfield’s stern defence grew in confidence, smashing away attack after attack. Substitutes Lindon Meikle and Matt Rhead combined and came so close to sealing the points – livewire Meikle cut the hosts apart with his right sided run before picking out Rhead with a low pass – the big front man saw a powerful effort palmed away by home keeper Tommy Lee who was well positioned.
Six minutes of time was added on and Stags had to endure a barrage of attacks, however four minutes into the six – they were given breathing space as Gary Roberts was shown a straight red card for hacking down James Jennings in the Stags penalty box. The final minutes seemed like hours but when the referee blew the full time whistle, the away end erupted in noise as Mansfield Town ended Chesterfield’s unbeaten run to climb to third in the table – their first victory over Chesterfield since Liam Lawrence’s dramatic 90th minute header ten years ago.
The sides will meet again a week on Tuesday at the One Call Stadium in the JPT.
FULL TIME: Chesterfield 0-1 Mansfield
Attendance: 10,015 (1,992)
Referee: Robert Madley
Stags: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers, Ritchie Sutton, John Dempster ©, Ryan Taazolli, James Jennings, Jamie McGuire, Anthony Howell, Ben Hutchinson (Lindon Meikle 62), Sam Clucas (Matt Rhead 80), Calvin Andrew (Junior Daniel 76).
Unused Subs: Ollie Palmer, Lee Stevenson, Jake Speight, Keiran Murtagh
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