The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By John Brind­ley

ALEX MacDon­ald’s bril­liant swerv­ing 25-yard win­ner six min­utes from time pre­served Mans­field man­ager Steve Evans’ faith in a foot­ball god.

The mid­fielder gave the visi­tors their de­served re­ward for an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance – but two con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sions in a fran­tic fi­nale had Evans vent­ing his con­sid­er­able touch­line fury right un­til the end.

Evans was apoplec­tic when ref­eree Ni­cholas Kin­se­ley waved away penalty claims af­ter Kane Hem­mings was sent tum­bling, then could barely watch when Coven­try were awarded a free-kick in the last sec­onds of added time.

Con­fi­dent goal­keeper Con­rad Lo­gan saved well from Jodi Jones to en­sure jus­tice was fi­nally done.

“To not give that penalty was dis­taste­ful,” Evans said. “Then we were a minute and a quar­ter over when the free-kick was saved.

“We were sec­ond best for 15 min­utes but, from then on, there was only one good team on the pitch. I didn’t think Coven­try cre­ated a real chance.

“We were still ad­ven­tur­ous in the sec­ond half but it was never go­ing to be easy to see the game out.

“It was a great strike by Macca – the ball has swerved twice in the air.”

Af­ter a storm­ing Coven­try start in which both strik­ers, Jor­dan Pon­ti­celli and Marc McNulty, went close, Mans­field were hugely im­pres­sive.

The visi­tors cre­ated four chances in one golden six-minute first-half spell with Lee Burge deny­ing CJ Hamil­ton and Paul An­der­son, Hem­mings shoot­ing just wide and Danny Rose bril­liantly hit­ting a post.

It was a mixed af­ter­noon for the Stags striker cur­rently be­ing linked with a move to the Ri­coh Arena. His com­pet­i­tive in­stincts and skill wor­ried the best-per­form­ing de­fence in League Two but he was booked for sim­u­la­tion in the sec­ond half.

Mans­field’s dom­i­na­tion con­tin­ued af­ter the break with Hamil­ton send­ing a shot across goal af­ter a driv­ing run into the box and MacDon­ald sweep­ing a 52nd-minute ef­fort onto the roof of the net af­ter an eye­catch­ing pass­ing move.

Then Hem­mings high­lighted his worth at both ends of the pitch.

He held his head in his hands in the 69th minute when his lovely curl­ing ef­fort drifted just wide be­fore be­ing back on his own goal line ten min­utes later to nod clear a header by sub­sti­tute Max Bi­amou.

That was a rare Sky Blues chance be­fore they launched a fu­ri­ous re­sponse to MacDon­ald’s goal.

Lo­gan dived at Pon­ti­celli’s feet to pre­vent the striker get­ting a clear shot at goal be­fore the late drama left man­ager Mark Robins with a far dif­fer­ent view of events.

“We had to deal with a few things that were below the belt – and, as for Steve Evans, he has to live with what he does on the touch­line,” he said.

“We are the best side in the di­vi­sion but need to work out how to fin­ish moves off.”

PIC­TURES: Richard Parkes

STAR MAN ALEX MacDON­ALD Mans­field KING OF THE SWINGERS: Alex MacDon­ald cel­e­brates his late win­ner for Mans­field

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