Striker Ollie Palmer came from the bench this afternoon to seal Mansfield Town’s first victory over York City at Bootham Crescent since 2004, however the front man’s strike and the Stags’ win was somewhat overshadowed by a red card to defender Martin Riley after a violent clash with York substitute Richard Cresswell who was also dismissed.
Riley and Cresswell’s dismissals came just three minutes after Ollie Palmer had deflected Sam Clucas’ shot beyond Michael Ingham to put Mansfield ahead, the duo had come to physical blows in the Stags box with the former Leeds United striker appearing to have punched fans favourite Riley who subsequently retaliated as the two sides broke into a mini-brawl as the incident escalated.
Mansfield were made to grin and bare incidents from the off as tailing traffic saw the team coach arrive late to the stadium, a handful of players missed the majority of the warm up arriving at 2.30pm. Mid-way through the first half, influential midfielder Chris Clements was withdrawn with what seems to be serious knee injury – a major blow after striking up an impressive partnership with Jamie McGuire.
The Stags lateness spilled over to the game as they conceded the opener inside a minute, York’s Ryan Brobbel tapped into the Stags empty net after Lewis Montrose’s effort cannoned back of the crossbar after a quickly taken free kick.
Paul Cox had again stuck with the wing back system, he was forced into one change with Matt Rhead suspended – Calvin Andrew, who scored a late winner for the reserves midweek, was his replacement and was first too test Michael Ingham on seven minutes with a headed effort following excellent build up play between Beevers and McGuire.
Andrew’s header was the only bright moment the Stags had in the early parts of the game as the wing back system saw York pulling Stags all over the pitch, the tide would soon change however on 21 minutes when Lanre Oyebanjo tripped Lee Beevers in the area. Sam Clucas stepped up to take the resulting penalty and blasted beyond Ingham who stood no chance as the Stags got back on level terms.
Despite the level score line, Mansfield struggled to break down York who had lost their previous three games – Ben Hutchinson came the closest on 40 minutes as he headed into the hands of Ingham following Sam Clucas’ pinpoint cross, York offered little in terms of shots with Martin Riley, who appeared to be sporting a black eye, heading away the majority of attacking with captain Dempster, cutting out the rest.
Mansfield were then forced into a change in 42 minutes as Clements went down injured, Ben Hutchinson helped Clements off the pitch as the rest of the players rushed over in concern for their team mate. Replacement Anthony Howell put in some tough challenges as the Stags saw out the remainder of the first half.
Ollie Palmer and Lindon Meikle were then introduced at the break for Ben Hutchinson and James Jennings, Lee Beevers slotted in at left back as the Stags went 4-4-2. The formation switched opened up the match and Stags had numerous chances to take the lead, Michael Ingham proved to be the thorn in the master-plan however as he kept out numerous efforts from the impressive and lively Sam Clucas.
The Stags deserved a break through and it came on 76 minutes as Lindon Meikle picked out Sam Clucas on the edge of the box, his left footed drive was diverted beyond Ingham by the outstretched leg of Ollie Palmer who wheeled away to celebrate with the relieved travelling supporters.
Minutes later York substitute Richard Cresswell struck out at Martin Riley inside the Stags box as the hosts physically battled for a way back into the match – once the tempers had calmed, the referee had a long chat with his assistant before producing a straight red card for Martin Riley and, eventually, perpetrator Cresswell.
Both sides searched for a late goal, York attempted to level and Mansfield in search of breathing space. Mansfield defended resolutely with Calvin Andrew excelling playing out of position at left back for the remaining twelve minutes – challenges from Dempster and Sutton kept York at bay whilst Clucas, Meikle and Palmer all came close to adding that killer blow to York, who have now lost four on the spin putting them second bottom of the division – Cox’s Stags on the other hand continue to climb the table, making it six games unbeaten moving up to eighth.
FULL TIME: York City 1-2 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 3,513 (897)
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Stags: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers, Ritchie Sutton, Martin Riley, John Dempster ©, James Jennings (Lindon Meikle HT), Jamie McGuire, Chris Clements (Anthony Howell 42), Ben Hutchinson (Ollie Palmer HT), Sam Clucas, Calvin Andrew
Unused Subs: Liam Mitchell, Jake Speight, Lee Stevenson, Junior Daniel
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