Griffin completes wonderful Boro comeback

Mansfield Town 2 Stevenage Boro 3 Charlie Griffin grabbed his first goal for the club as Boro completed a wonderful comeback against 10-man Mansfield Town to strike a crucial blow over one of their promotion rivals. Boro got off to the worst possible st

Mansfield Town 2 Stevenage Boro 3

Charlie Griffin grabbed his first goal for the club as Boro completed a wonderful comeback against 10-man Mansfield Town to strike a crucial blow over one of their promotion rivals.

Boro got off to the worst possible start when Kyle Perry grabbed a brace in the first 15 minutes but the striker blotted his copybook with a moment of madness just before the break when he stamped on Lee Boylan's face before being shown the red card.

It was the game defining moment as Boro roared back into the contest. Chris Beardsley struck before the break to pull one back before the impressive Yemi Odubade levelled matters from close range.


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Griffin's moment arrived in the 69th minute and Boro fans will be hoping it is the first step the former Salisbury man takes to filling the boots of last season's top goalscorer Steve Morison.

Boro got off to a nightmare start going behind in the second minute when they failed to clear a Gary Mills free-kick and there was Perry to rifle home from close range and give the home side a dream start.

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Perry certainly looked in the mood in the opening stages with the Boro back line struggling to cope with the Stags' striker and only a wonderful save from Chris Day prevented him from doubling Mansfield's lead in the ninth minute.

But there was nothing Day could do seven minutes later when Perry did strike again with a precise finish. The 23-year-old was leading both Mark Roberts and Jon Ashton a merry dance and his clever finish had left Boro with a mountain to climb.

Michael Bostwick had a half chance soon after to get his side back into the contest but his 20-yard effort flew harmlessly over after being teed up by Boylan.

But it got worse for Boro soon afterwards when Mitchell Cole hobbled off as he failed to shake off the after effects of a heavy challenge from Scott Garner earlier on.

Odubade came on in place of the former Grays man and immediately looked lively.

Boro showed once again that they are made of stern stuff as they desperately sought a way back into the contest but, once again, a lack of cutting edge was undermining their efforts.

Bostwick got on the end of a Joel Byrom corner but saw his effort cleared off the line while Eddie Odhiambo had a golden opportunity when put through, but his left-footed shot flew over.

Perry almost grabbed his hat-trick in the 37th minute but Bostwick cleared off the line then the Mansfield hero was at the centre of controversy when he appeared to stamp on Boylan's face after a collision.

It was clearly a red card offence but, neither the referee nor linesman had appeared to have seen the incident. Fortunately for Boro, the fourth official intervened and, five minutes after the original offence had been committed, Perry was deservedly given his marching orders.

The home fans were disgusted at the decision but there was little they could say to defend Perry, whose assault on Boylan meant the former Cambridge man had to be substituted.

Their mood was darkened further just before the break when Beardsley's fine header reduced the arrears after a good cross from Boylan's replacement, Charlie Griffin. It was nothing less than Boro deserved and set the second half up perfectly.

Mansfield were always going to get 10 men behind the ball in the second half and Boro took up the invitation to get forward at every opportunity.

Mansfield had a major let-off in the 56th minute as they had Alan Marriott to thank for preserving their lead when he saved from Griffin and Beardsley.

But just before the hour-mark Boro levelled matters through Odubade, who tapped home after great work by Beardsley.

Boro didn't rest on their laurels however and piled forward looking for a winner. If manager Graham Westley could have chosen one man to get the goal then it would have been Griffin, who has struggled at The Lamex Stadium since his summer move from Salisbury.

But Griffin finally had a slice of luck when he was presented with an easy chance to get the winner. Laird played Odhiambo in on goal but his effort was well saved by Marriott.

Unfortunately for the Stags, the ball fell for Griffin, who gratefully rammed the ball home.

Laird could have put the seal on a wonderful comeback with a left-footed curler but Marriott did well to parry away.

Mansfield Town: Marriott, Silk, Garner, Jones, Armstrong, Briscoe (Speight 72), Mills, Somner, Williams (Porter 64), Duffy (Istead 72), Perry, Subs not used: Sandercombe, Istead, Graham, Speight, Porter.

Boro: Day, Henry, Ashton, Roberts, Laird, Odhiambo, Byrom, Bostwick, Cole (Odubade 25), Boylan (Griffin 45), Beardsley (Albrighton 80). Subs not used: Bayes, Long.

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

Attendance: 3,251

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