ROSE DELIVERS THREE POINTS
IT WAS very much a case of a scrappy 1-0 away win, meaning that little bit more at the tail-end of the season for Mansfield manager Steve Evans as his side ground out a vital three points at Stevenage.
This wasn’t a match that will particularly live long in the memory, but it could lead to something special for the Stags, who are now just one point away from a play-off place with two games left.
Despite having to see out a hefty chunk of stoppage time at the death, they were solid enough to the point that Stevenage never really threatened to deny them.
Evans said: “We’ve beaten a good side away from home, like we did at Wycombe, and if results and performances continue then we’ve a good chance in the next two games of doing something.
“When you get seven or eight minutes of added time and you get three or four decisions that the fourth official can’t explain, it means a little bit more at the end of the game.
“We’ve come through the Easter period like everyone else has, so we eased it down a little bit to make sure we had lots of energy.
“I felt we were going to need that and we did need that, especially late on under a lot of pressure.”
Stevenage gave a first start to 18-year-old Mark McKee and he almost had a dream start when he half-volleyed into the side netting after nine minutes when well-placed.
Mansfield ended the first half strongly and came extremely close when Danny Rose’s header from Joel Byrom’s corner was cleared off the line by Jobi McAnuff.
The Stags’ pressure paid off, however, as Stevenage failed to get the ball clear before it eventually fell for Rose, who rifled his shot into the roof of the net crucially.
MacDonald threatened a second for the visitors when he brilliantly burst past two defenders, but he undid his good work by making a real hash of his finish.
Stevenage lacked punch up front all afternoon, with the closest they came to an equaliser being when substitute Ben Kennedy’s clever chip dipped just over the woodwork with 19 minutes left.
With Stevenage hanging on to their play-off place, their boss Darren Sarll said: “They're a very experienced and established group of players and they played the game that way.
“They played lots of long balls, lots of direct balls into our final third, with very little passage through the midfield area.
“I wouldn’t have thought for the neutral that the game would have been too pleasing on the eye.
“As always, we tried to play and tried to pass but it didn’t work for us. Once they got that goal – it was a real sloppy piece of marking from us – they got something to hold on to and all they’ve got to do then is bank up.”
STAR MAN RHYS BENNETT Mansfield HAVE SOME OF THAT: Danny Rose of Mansfield Town scores the first goal for his team and celebrates Inset: Tempers flare at the final whistle after a tense encounter