Lincoln City 0-1 Mansfield Town, Tuesday 26th February

Matt Green

Matt Green

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MATT Green’s last gasp goal gave Mansfield Town a thrilling victory at struggling neighbours Lincoln City - which was enough to finally push Stags into the play-off spots at Sincil Bank.

Although not the best away display in Stags’ superb recent run, it was still a seventh away win in eight trips and an eighth win in nine games overall.

Green’s winner in the second minute of stoppage time also meant Paul Cox’s men had taken maximum points from three tricky away games in seven days to leap into fourth spot.

Mansfield looked a little jaded after the euphoria of Saturday’s win at Luton, when they also grabbed a late winner, and managerless City created the first half’s best chances with Alan Power and Vadiane Oliver both inches wide.

In an exciting first 45 minutes Matt Green had a header blocked on the line while John Dempster forced a good save from Paul Farman.

The second half saw less chances. But Green buried the one that counted before Mansfield-born Imp Dan Gray was red-carded in stoppage time, and Mansfield can now look forward to the visit of bottom club Telford on Saturday.

Murray sliced a hopeful 30-yard shot well wide from a half-cleared Jennings free kick in the first 50 seconds as Stags were the first to threaten, backed by a huge, noisy following from North Nottinghamshire.

Nicolau then tested Marriott from distance, the keeper safely there.

But a fourth minute break down the left should have produced the opening goal. Fofana provided the burst down the left and then rolled a pass inside to Power, who should have finished first time but took a touch, looked up and curled the ball just wide of the far post.

Power then rolled a 25 yard free kick to Nicolay whose low shot was tamely wide.

Jake Jones beat namesake Luke Jones on the edge of the box to get sight of goal only to see Jennings leap in the way to block his finish.

There was more danger as Beevers conceded another free kick wide on the left of the box which Power sent right across the centre of the six yard box and wide of the far post with no getting a decisive touch.

Green did superbly well to get to the left by-line and pull a low pass back to Stevenson, who was quickly closed down before he could capitalise.

Jones’ pass offered Daniel a shooting chance which took a deflection and looped dangerously across the City goal for a corner on 23 minutes.

Jennings put the corner to the near post where Green’s flicked header was blocked on the line.

The ball came back out to Jennings whose ball in was flicked on towards Dempster whose close range header was superbly turned round by Farman.

City cleared the second flag kick and broke quickly, Sheridan having two men free to his right as he drew the last defender and then squared to Oliver who, with only Marriott to beat, wastefully rolled his finish wide.

Lincoln came close again when Miller’s long free kick was helped on to Power, who seemed to control with his hand but was allowed to get away a rasping volley over the bar which would have stood had it gone in.

Stags had another let-off on the half-hour as another home counter-attack saw Power try to put Nicolau in one-on-one. Marriott raced out his box to make the tackle, but the ball rebounded off the striker and rolled agonisingly wide of the open goal.

Mansfield were living precariously and Jake Jones hurried a decent shot just over from a half-clearance.

On 32 minutes Daniel did have the ball in the home net, but the whistle had already gone after he was spotted handling to control the ball before applying his finish.

A Beevers long throw was only cleared as far as Murray, who sent a header straight at Farman.

The Imps won their first corner on 37 minutes, headed over by Beevers for a second, which was superbly claimed by Marriott.

Dempster blocked Nicolau off the ball on a home break on 39 minutes and, once the ball was out of play, he was shown a yellow card.

There was a hold-up when Beevers stayed down for treatment after a challenge with Power, but he was fit enough to return after a quick trip down the tunnel.

So a lively first half ended goalless with City making the better chances and the happier of the sides going into the break.

Seven minutes into the a much less frenetic second half, Lincoln conceded a free kick right on the right hand corner of the box which the visitors believed was inside, Jennings free kick poor and easily cleared leading to yet another worrying home counter which fizzled out.

After the ball had struck Briscoe’s hand, it was City’s turn to be angry as he was allowed to go on only to strike his cross too powerfully to give Stevenson a chance of getting there.

Sheridan led another break which, when halted, was lucky enough to see the ball drop back to him to volley over.

Power’s trip on Stevenson on 61 minutes earned him a caution, Demspster just unable to squeeze Jennings’ free kick in at the far post.

On 63 minutes Rhead took over from Stevenson to give Stags more muscle up front.

Green went down under Garner’s challenge in the box but a penalty always looked unlikely.

The 65th minute saw a change on the wing for Mansfield as Meikle replaced Briscoe.

Luke Jones brought down Jake Jones in a battle of the Jones’ on 69 minutes to take the game’s third booking.

Power put a free kick into the Stags’ box which Marriott came for only for Rhead to get there first and nod past the open goal as everyone held their breath for a moment, the ball bouncing for a corner.

City had a couple of half-chances as Sheridan fired over the near angle from a tight position while Turnbull was too high with an attempted lob of Marriott.

Farman then had to make a brave save to stop Dempster from close range as he tried to stab home a Rhead flick from Jennings’ free kick.

That encouraged Mansfield as they won two successive corners with no reward.

Meikle went down on a break as the ball ran away from him and was rightly booked for the dive.

Soon after Meikle fired a shot wide of the far post from the right.

Five minutes of stoppage time were added. And in the second, hotshot Green struck to snatch the winner.

Daniel, on the edge of the box, slipped the ball to Meikle to his right. He quickly fed Green who slipped the perfect finish past Farman from seven yards.

That sparked wild scenes in the corner as Green held a corner flag aloft as he was mobbed by an overspill of celebrating supporters.

In a sixth minute of stoppage time, there was uproar as Rhead was flattened by Gray who, after a consultation with the linesman was sent off to end a miserable night for the Imps.