Lambe’s strike puts Stevenage to the slaughter
- Credit: Archant
Match report: Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 0
Stevenage suffered a third successive defeat with Reggie Lambe’s second half goal the difference between the two sides in this afternoon’s League 2 encounter.
Boro went into the match on the back of defeats at Shrewsbury Town and then at home to Oxford United last week, but Graham Westley’s men were unable to get the desired result against a stubborn and resolute Stags side.
The home side had the better of the chances with Chris Day twice pulling off good saves to keep his side on level terms, but when Lambe was played in by Matt Rhead early in the second period the Mansfield man made no mistake to hand Town all three points.
Starting their first games for Boro were U18 captain Ben Kennedy, who made his debut off the bench last week, and loan striker Danny Johnson, who joined on a one-month deal from Cardiff City in the week.
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Fellow loanee Bruno Andrade, who was at the club last season, also started as Westley made six changes from the Oxford reversal.
It was a tough opening 35 minutes for both players and supporters, with defences on top on a heavy pitch, but then the game sparked into life with just 10 minutes of the half remaining.
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First, Chris Clements tested Day with a free-kick from distance after Kennedy had brought down Jamie McGuire, but the keeper dived to his right to keep the ball out.
At the other end Andrade then wasted a great opportunity to put his side ahead.
Running on to a ball, he wrong-footed the defender and had just Lenny Pidgeley to beat but dragged his shot wide.
Day was then again tested when Ryan Tafazolli headed a corner towards goal on the stroke of half-time.
It looked as though the Mansfield man was about to put his side ahead, only for Day to get down low with the ball close to his body and pull off a wonderful one-handed stop to keep it level at the break.
The Stevenage goalkeeper could do nothing about Lambe’s opener six minutes after the interval, with the striker a half-time replacement for Billy Kee.
Running on to a Rhead knock down, the forward got in front of his marker and struck his shot mid-air and from close range to beat Day.
By this time Boro were playing too many long balls up front, and with their lack of height in the final third too few of them were sticking although when one was flicked into the path of Johnson by an off-balance defender he ran on at an angle and fired his shot into the side-netting.
Boro brought on Jo N’Guessan and Simon Walton for Bira Dembele and David McAllister as they looked for a way back into the game, while one-time Mansfield forward Chris Beardsley was then a replacement for Johnson.
Yet despite the changes and an injection of energy, the visitors were simply unable to find a way to break Mansfield down as the home side held on to move themselves out of the relegation zone.
Mansfield Town: Pidgeley, Sutton, Tafazolli, Rhead (Brown 84), McGuire, Beevers, Oliver, Elder, Clements, Kee (Lambe 46), Raynes. Subs: Studer, Riley, Bingham, Heslop.
Stevenage: Day, Dembele (N’Guessan 65), Henry, Wells, Charles, Whelpdale, Lee, McAllister (Walton 68), Andrade, Kennedy, Johnson (Beardsley 79). Subs: Beasant, Ashton, Millard, Storer.