Stevenage looking over their shoulder as Stags lead the charge following victory at the Lamex
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Victory for Mansfield Town has left Stevenage clinging on to the play-off places by the skin of their teeth.
Danny Rose scored the only goal of a poor game to move the Stags up to eighth as they head the chasing pack that has the scent of Stevenage in their nostrils.
Darren Sarll’s men remain in the last play-off place, seventh, on 66 points, but three sides are breathing over their shoulder just one point back.
Carlisle dropped two points late on at Crawley and slipped to 10th, but with Wycombe Wanderers’ success over already-promoted Doncaster and Mansfield’s win at the Lamex the pressure is building.
Today’s result leaves the club needing wins at both Yeovil Town next weekend and at home to Accrington Stanley on the last day of the season to ensure their promotion dream does not fade away, but without a win in their last four matches they’ll need to put this result behind them as quickly as possible and hope for better performances in the coming two games.
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There was a minute’s silence before the game in honour of Ugo Ehiogu, the former Aston Villa and England defender who was a regular at the Lamex with his Spurs U23 side, a team for which Boro loanee Connor Ogilvie was a squad member.
Ogilvie started this match at left-back with Ronnie Henry returning on the right of the defence while intriguingly there was also a first start for academy product Mark McKee.
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Sarll said recently that the young forward could be the best young player the club has produced, and while at 18 he is still raw there were encouraging signs as he rattled wing-back Hayden White at times and had an early chance which he fired into the side netting.
The teenager moved to the left as the first half progressed but he had began out right of the three players behind fellow teenager Kaylen Hinds, 19, a foul on whom led to an early free-kick that Dale Gorman struck straight at Mansfield keeper Jake Kean.
Boro had the better of the early exchanges before the first half became something of a slog, which suited the visitors more.
The visitors have quality in the forward areas, specifically in former Spurs academy player Shaquile Coulthirst, but it was Rose who caused Boro the bigger headache.
Rose had an early sight of goal with a low, drilled shot that Jamie Jones got behind, but with just over seven minutes of the half to go he had a flurry of chances, putting away the third.
His first, from a corner, saw his far-post effort scooped off the line by Jobi McAnuff. Moments later the striker was teed up by Coulthirst only to see his shot deflected off target, but when the corner came in it fell the way of Krystian Pearce whose shot was blocked and the rebound fell to Rose who fired it in for the lead just before the break.
Early in the second half a mistake at the back from Boro invited more pressure, but Ben Whiteman’s deflected shot failed to catch out Jones as it trickled wide.
And for Sarll that was enough, with McKee’s time coming to an end as Ben Kennedy entered the field of play. Not long afterwards he was joined by fellow substitute Jamie Gray, with the 18-year-old coming on for his debut to replace Hinds.
Kennedy was quickly into his groove out on the right, and a nice move involving Henry saw the substitute attempt to chip Kean from the edge of the Mansfield box only to see his effort float onto the top of the netting.
Stevenage were for the most part left frustrated by their guests though and unable to fashion any chances of note, even in the seven minutes the officials added on to the 90 as the Stags held on for all three points.
Stevenage: Jones, Henry (Tonge 77), Ogilvie, Wilkinson, King, Gorman, Lee, McAnuff, Pett, Hinds, McKee (Kennedy 55). Subs: Day, Franks, Wells, Gray, Ntlhe.
Mansfield Town: Kean, Bennett, Benning, Pearce, Taft (Collins 74), Byrom, Whiteman, MacDonald (McQuire 82), White, Rose (Green 70), Coulthirst. Subs: Jensen, Potter, Hoban, Arquin.