Mansfield Town were defeated for the first time since November after a 3-2 loss to Accrington Stanley at One Call Stadium this afternoon.
Stanley winger Piero Mingoia put the visitors in front after just three minutes before Matt Green got the Stags back on level terms with an excellent left-footed finish.
Former Stags’ striker Billy Kee volleyed the visitors back in front before Terry Gornell extended their lead with a finish from close range.
A superb free-kick from Chris Clements just before the 90-minute mark set up a tense five minutes of injury time, but the Lancashire outfit hung on to take all three points.
Adam Murray made two changes to the side that drew with York City on Monday, with winger Nathan Thomas and midfielder Jack Thomas coming in to replace Matty Blair and Craig Westcarr, who were both named as substitutes.
The visitors started the game with blistering speed and they were ahead within two minutes.
Josh Windass, son of famous forward Dean, tricked his way past Mitch Rose in the right-back position before whipping a cross into the middle of the Stags’ box where Piero Mingoia was arriving to sweep the ball home left-footed.
The visitors then controlled much of the first twenty minutes with chances falling to both Windass and former Stags Billy Kee, but a combination of good defending and good goalkeeping kept the deficit at one goal.
As the half wore on, Stags began to grow into the game and a good passing move by midfielders Chris Clements and Jack Thomas and striker Matt Green resulted in the latter almost latching on to a lofted ball forward by Clements, but it was just out of the striker’s reach.
Windass looked threatening every time Stanley came forward and he was next to test the Stags’ resistance after latching on to a cross-field ball, but his tame shot was saved by Brian Jensen.
After a clash with Billy Kee saw the Danish stopper require treatment for a head injury, Jensen regained his composure to make a fantastic from Stanley captain Sean McConville.
Windass then threaded a ball through the Stags’ back line to the Accrington skipper, but Jensen stood tall to block his goal-bound effort.
Then, the Stags got back on level terms, as they sprung into life.
Chris Clements played a ball forward from the middle of the park and Stanley defender Tom Davies looked to be in control before stumbling whilst in possession and allowing Matt Green to dispossess him.
Green galloped into the box and steadied himself before hitting an arrowed left-footed effort into the bottom corner of Jason Mooney’s net, via the post.
Stags dominated the rest of the first half, with Green forcing numerous saves from ‘keeper Jason Mooney.
Adam Murray’s side had the wind in their sails as they looked to take the lead after Green’s equaliser.
The forward beat Davies on the right-hand touchline before advancing into the box and attempting to square the ball to winger Reggie Lambe, but his cross was gathered at full stretch by Mooney at the feet of the Bermudian.
The teams emerged for the second half and Stags were on the offensive from the start.
Reggie Lambe picked up the ball on the edge of the box but he couldn’t connect properly with his shot and Mooney collected.
Manager Murray introduced winger Matty Blair in place of Nathan Thomas and the substitute was immediately involved after taking up his place on the right of midfield.
The influential Chris Clements played a defence-splitting pass to Blair who cut the ball back to Green, whose flick just evaded the incoming Reggie Lambe. The winger recovered to lay the ball back to Jack Thomas, but his left-footed shot flew over the bar.
With Stags having the better of the second half chances, Accrington took the lead against the run of play.
Defender Lee Collins’ clearance was blocked by substitute Shay McCartan and after Mitch Rose attempted to clear on the edge of the box, the ball looped up for Billy Kee to slam the ball past Brian Jensen to give the away side the lead for the second time in the match.
The visitors then extended their lead after substitute Adam Buxton floated a cross to fellow substitute Terry Gornell, whose initial header was tipped onto the post before following it up to smash home to rebound.
Midfielder Chris Clements then curled a beautiful free-kick into the Accrington net from 25 yards to set up a nervy finish, but Stags couldn’t find an injury-time equaliser as Stanley held on for the win.
Stags XI: Jensen, Rose, Collins, Pearce, Adams, Chapman ©, Clements, N Thomas (Blair 53), Lambe (Yussuf 76), J Thomas, Green (Westcarr 64)
Subs not used: Shearer, Beardsley, Tafazolli, McGuire.
Accrington XI: Mooney, Pearson, Wright, Davies, Halliday, McConville (Buxton 77’), Conneely, Crooks, Mingoia (Gornell 71’), Windass (McCartan 67’), Kee.
Subs not used: Etheridge, Barry, Proctor, Wakefield.
Attendance: 3,271 (144 away)