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Vital away win for Stags

Posted onPosted on 25th Mar

Hartlepool United 2
Mansfield Town 4

THE Stags grabbed an unlikely away win to boost their hopes of staying in the Football League.

Two goals by James Jennings, who put the Stags in front in the first-half and then levelled after the break, looked to have earned a precious point in their League Two relegation battle.

Then Matt Rhead struck 10 minutes from time before James McGuire clinched the points in seven minutes of injury time.

Earlier keeper Alan Marriott was the hero when he saved Marlon Harewood’s penalty before half-time with the score level – his second penalty in two weeks after the Stags conceded a fourth spot kick in four matches.

The result, coupled with defeats for Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth and Torquay – and a draw for Northampton who were pegged back in the final minute by AFC Wimbledon – left the Stags seven points clear of the drop zone and an immediate return to the Conference.

Mansfield play AFC Wimbledon at the One Call Stadium this Saturday.

Harewood, a Stags January transfer target, cancelled out Jennings’ close range finish to level in an end-to-end first period.

After James struck for the home side at the start of the second half, Stags boss Paul Cox brought on wingers Lindon Meikle and Sam Clucas as second half substitutes for the second time in four days.

And just like in Saturday’s draw with Chesterfield, they made an impact.

In the 72nd minute Jennings’ free kick curled in and then Ollie Palmer struck the post.

Rhead headed in Lee Beavers’ cross to give the Stags a late lead and in injury time McGuire’s deflected drive on the breakaway secured victory.