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Mansfield Town 2 Stanley 3

21 December 2013

Two goals in stoppage time earned Stanley a dramatic win against Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium.

A brace from Kal Naismith and a late winner from James Gray snatched the victory.

James Beattie made one change to the side beaten by Exeter City a week ago with Josh Windass coming in for the unwell Danny Webber.

Both sides went into the match struggling for form. Stanley on the back of two defeats after a fine run, and Mansfield without a league win since the end of September.

This was evident in the early stages with little goal mouth action and Town defender Martin Riley needed lengthy treatment for a head injury.

But it was the home side who took the lead after 23 minutes courtesy of John McCombe when he met a corner, his initial effort crashed off the bar but he stabbed home at the second attempt.

Riley, donning a bandage after his earlier clash, was again in the thick of the action and was fortunate to escape the attention of referee Carl Boyeson when he appeared to handle in the penalty area when battling with James Gray.

Stanley did not let their heads drop and Lee Naylor saw his well struck free-kick edge over the bar just shy of half an hour.

Moments later, Nicky Hunt's right wing cross was headed back across goal by Piero Mingoia but 19-year-old Windass, making his first competitive start for the Reds, blazed high and wide.

As the first period came to a close, Stanley were forced to defend and were indebted to  Luke Joyce and Tom Aldred who made a number of timely interventions.

Whatever Beattie said at half-time proved effective as Stanley were level three minutes into the second half.

Naismith received the ball in the area from Mingoia and his shot took a deflection and flew past Alan Marriott in the Stags' net.

In an almost carbon copy of his opener, centre-back McCombe restored Mansfield's lead on 67 minutes as he bundled home James Jennings' corner after Marcus Bettinelli's superb save to keep his initial effort out.

On 81 minutes, Mingoia got the visiting supporters on their feet with an impressive mazy run down the left but no player wearing red was there to meet his square ball.

Four minutes from time, goalkeeper Bettinelli came to Stanley's rescue as he saved low with his legs from Daryll Westlake's close range effort following a quick counter attacking move.

And the importance of that save came to the fore in the frantic four minutes of stoppage time.

Naismith grabbed his second of the afternoon with a low strike into the bottom left hand corner  after Peter Murphy had held the ball up well.

And to cap a memorable period of injury time, James Gray's strike from inside of the box sparked wild celebrations from the bench and fans behind the goal, giving  everyone at the club an early Christmas gift.

The victory moves Stanley up to 17th in Sky Bet League Two.

Stanley: Bettinelli, Naylor, Aldred, Winnard, Hunt, (Bowerman 78) Mingoia, Murphy, Joyce, Naismith, Windass (McCartan 78), Gray

Unused subs: Liddle, Richardson, Hatfield, Wilson, Atkinson.


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