VIDEO: MATCH ANALYSIS - Improved Stags fall short again

Mansfield Town v Barnet.'Mitchell Rose pulls the trigger in the 12 minute.
Mansfield Town v Barnet.'Mitchell Rose pulls the trigger in the 12 minute.

The one moment of genuine top quality in the game settled Mansfield Town’s home clash with Barnet in favour of the visitors as dangerman John Akinde’s goal earned the Bees a 1-0 win.

Unsurprisingly Stags were booed from the field at the end of a second home game in a row without a win or a goal.

But for a large chunk of Saturday, injury-hit Stags went about their business with much more verve and invention than last week’s home 0-0 draw with Cambridge and had enough chances to find the net in a tight, but entertaining game.

Instead they were stunned by a 57th minute sucker punch from Barnet’s first on-target effort of the afternoon.

Click HERE to see video highlights of the match

Click HERE to read the match report

Click HERE to read Stags boss Adam Murray’s thoughts

Click HERE to read Barnet boss Martin Allen’s comments

Click HERE to read Tim Morriss’ blog on the game

Click HERE to read Martin Shaw’s blog on the game

Mitch Rose’s square pass failed to find Rhys Bennett on the edge of the visitors’ box and the Bees broke quickly.

Luke Gambin sent Akinde away down the left and he burst into the home box, went past Krystian Pearce as if he wasn’t there, and lifted a cool, accurate finish over Scott Shearer and inside the far post.

That still left over half an hour for Stags to hit back.

But Barnet defended superbly and deserved their bit of luck near the end as sub Darius Henderson saw his header from a Kevan Hurst cross smothered on the line by the keeper.

The game is best summed up by the fact that home keeper Scott Shearer was not given a save to make, having only to throw himself forwards to smother a couple of dangerous crosses.

Otherwise the momentum was all towards the visitors’ box.

Stags had swapped formations and gone with wing backs with Forest loanee Alex Iacovitti making an impressive debut as part of a three-man defence.

But he soon found himself part of a back four as Stags’ current injury jinx continued with George Taft limping off with a hamstring problem after just 22 minutes.

He was originally hurt in a collision with Akinde and soon after went down again after a challenge with Shaun Batt and that was the end of his afternoon.

Nevertheless, Mansfield were on the front foot for much of the first half and created more than they did in the whole of the previous Saturday’s bore draw.

Matt Green had the best chances but a goal eluded him.

Early on he got into the box on the left for a one-on-one from Danny Rose’s delightful pass down the left off the outside of his boot, but keeper Josh Vickers did well to make himself big and turn Green’s attempted lift over him from a tight angle out for a corner.

Green sent a tame header at Vickers on 36 minutes, the game’s first on-target effort, and two minutes later he saw a downward header from a corner that lacked any real power headed off the line by Elliott Johnson.

He was also inches away from reaching a low CJ Hamilton cross to the near post from close range.

Mitch Rose had a ferocious shot blocked by Barnet skipper Michael Nelson and Mal Benning had a low 20 yard effort turned aside as the frustration mounted.

Ashley Hemmings zipped one over from 25 yards early in the second half, but it was Barnet who took a rare chance and clung on for their first win at Mansfield in 16 years.

The game marked a surprise return to action for striker Danny Rose, wearing a protective mask over his fractured eye socket.

He was outstanding for the first half-hour, survived a worrying high boot to the head, but he had to drop deep to get involved in the action at times and faded fitness-wise as the game wore on.

Mal Benning impressed as a wing back, skipper Lee Collins led by example in central midfield and CJ Hamilton excited and frustrated fans in equal measure as wingers are prone to do.

But perhaps most eye-catching was the debut of Forest loanee Iacovitti in defence.

The 19-year-old looked assured on the ball, showed good anticipation and strength and a footballing brain beyond his years.

With Kyle Howkins and Taft both out injured, he looks set to quickly become an important figure.

So after two weekends in which a win might have sent them top, Stags head for Hartlepool on Saturday in 10th place with just 15 fit outfield players.

Also, three of their next four games are away from home; though on away form so far that won’t be a bad thing for a side that have struggled to find their feet at home up to now.