Report: Mansfield 0-1 AccringtonMansfield Town slipped to just their second home defeat of the season as Luke Joyce’s early penalty gave Accrington Stanley a 1-0 win at One Call Stadium.
Stanley were the better team during a dominant first period in which they could have scored on more than one occasion.
The Stags, who had skipper Adam Murray sent off later on, were better after the re-start, but it wasn’t enough to get back on level terms as John Coleman retained his 100% win ratio since returning as Stanley boss a fortnight ago.
With three minutes gone on the clock, Mansfield had the first chance as Rakish Bingham brought the ball down and dragged a shot wide of Stanley ‘keeper Aaron Chapman's left-hand post. Moments later, the visitors were down the opposite end of the pitch with a chance of their own as Stanley's youth product Marcus Carver unleashed a shot wide across the face of goal.
Five minutes in and Stanley began to turn the pressure up a notch. In a three-on-two counter attack, West Ham loanee Sean Maguire threaded attacking winger Kal Naismith through on goal, but Sascha Studer remained equal to make a superb save. Nicky Hunt then swung a deep cross in from the right hand side, however it beat the keeper and the goal, going over and wide.
Accrington were then awarded a penalty on nine minutes. Studer was at the centre of attention immediately, having brought down Michael Carver in the area. Leading by example, skipper Luke Joyce converted the penalty confidently beyond Studer.
The on loan duo of John O'Sullivan and Sean Maguire continued to torment the home side's defence with their constant trickery and unpredictability.
On 18 minutes, O'Sullivan persevered and battled his way down the wing past Freeman whipping in a ball into the oncoming Maguire, who did everything but keep his shot on target.
On 24 minutes, the visitors worked their way down the right wing as an impressive Carver nodded the ball on to a potent Sean Maguire who lashed the ball rapidly at Studer, who ensured the score remained 1-0.
Mansfield remained patient and executed their second serious attempt of the game three minutes later. Frontman Matt Rhead brought the ball down and drilled a shot low and hard across the ground only for it to roll safely into the hands of an untroubled Chapman.
Half an hour into play, the hosts began to look vulnerable at the back. Riley played a weak back-pass to Studer who only just scurried the ball clear after oncoming pressure from the Stanley front men.
Minutes later, penalty appeals for handball were waved away by referee Scott Mathieson after Freeman attempted drilled the ball at several Stanley bodies with goal intentions.
John Coleman's men continued to switch through the gears as Kal Naismith breezed past Lee Beevers setting up the in-form Maguire who saw his shot saved impeccably by Studer.
Mansfield started to show more slightly more promise following a Murray set-piece on 35 minutes, however, before Stags could even get a shot away, Rhead was penalised for pushing in the area.
The Stags then began to bring their game to life as Bell played a neat ball into Lee Beevers who was flying down the right flank only to see his shot go wide of the goal, an opportunity he could've possibly taken better.
Paul Cox’s team began the second half the brighter side. On 50 minutes, Riley smashed a long ball up to Rhead who nodded it down to Fergus Bell who caught it ever so sweetly seeing it go just wide of the target.
The hosts kept grafting away and the chances kept on coming. Murray hooked a promising ball over followed a Rhead flick on from a throw-in. The skipper then remained committed to the task at hand and regained possession setting up Bingham who blazed it high and wide.
Following a long, intense midfield battle, between the two sides, the Stags had a free-kick on 67 minutes inside their own half. Adam Murray swung the ball in only for Matt Rhead to header the ball wide of the target.
Another half-chance for Cox's side went astray following Rakish Bingham's through ball to substitute Ollie Palmer, however it was too far for the forward to latch onto.
Bingham then struck from distance with a curling effort on 76 minutes, however it dipped over Chapman's bar.
Palmer then experienced his first sight of goal, but on loan Chesterfield 'keeper Aaron Chapman foiled the striker's chances of netting an equaliser.
Fergus Bell continued to build the hosts' confidence with another effort just outside the 18 yard box, but Chapman once again was the road block in the way of any Stags' supporter cheers.
Mansfield continued to knock at the door of opportunity as Palmer once again came close seeing his effort on 79 minutes go just inches wide of the post. Stanley were preparing for a Stags' onslaught.
Then in what appeared to be a harmless sequence of events, Stags’ skipper Adam Murray was dismissed on 81 minutes, having collided with Rob Atkinson in a battle for the ball.
Murray innocently passed the ball to the 'keeper to re-start play and was shown red by referee Scott Mathieson.
On 85 minutes, Stanley substitute Josh Windass tried his luck from distance when he lashed an attempt over the bar for the visitors - a rare opportunity in a second half where which had seen the hosts on top.
Mansfield then replied with an effort of their own with just over two minutes to go. Fergus Bell saw his shot originally blocked however his second attempt carved it's way through only to go over Stanley's bar.
With the clock ticking away deep into stoppage time, Ollie Palmer saw another low drilled attempt saved comfortably by the Stanley custodian, before Bell also saw a late free kick clear the upright.
Attendance: 2,699 (125 visiting supporters).