Report: Carlisle 5-2 Stags
A second-half hat-trick from Charlie Wyke helped Carlisle to a 5-2 victory at Brunton Park, as Stags lost for the first time under new boss Steve Evans.
The final scoreline didn't appear to be on the cards at half-time, as both sides entered the break at 1-1. But a combination of poor Mansfield defending and lethal Carlisle finishing, saw the home side run out eventual winners in this Cumbrian goal-glut.
The win propelled Carlisle to the summit of Sky Bet League Two while Stags' will have much to work on in the next fortnight after a second-half collapse.
The final scoreline may have slightly flattered the hosts, but there was no doubt that they were deserved winners.
Defender Lee Collins returned to the Mansfield line-up after a groin problem, as Ashley Hemmings was moved to the substitutes’ bench.
Stags settled the better out of the sides and won two corners inside the opening six minutes.
The first flag kick, won by striker Matt Green, came to nothing, but the second was delivered to deadly effect.
After ex-Stags defender Michael Raynes brought down hitman Pat Hoban on the edge of the box, midfielder Chris Clements struck a free-kick against the wall to earn the second flag-kick.
And the same man delivered a pin-point corner into the goal area towards Hoban, who headed low beyond goalkeeper Mark Gillespie from inside the six yard box to give Stags’ the perfect start.
Hoban, brimming with confidence, then tried his luck from 30 yards, but it produced a routine save by Gillespie.
Stags’ goalkeeper Scott Shearer was called upon for the first time in the 12th minute. Carlisle full back Danny Grainger blasted a 30-yard free-kick, which the Glaswegian shot-stopper had to get down low to turn behind.
And Carlisle were level from the resulting corner in the 13th minute.
A short pass from the corner arc saw Nicky Adams whip the ball to the edge of the six yard box, where Jason Kennedy was allowed to head into the far corner of the goal.
Then Kennedy scuffed a shot from 12 yards after a right-wing assist from Tom Miller.
At the other end, Green did well from a tight angle to drift a right-flank cross into the home box which was poorly cleared, but as it dropped to Mitchell Rose on the edge of the box, the midfielder could only fire over.
In the 22nd minute, Luke Joyce conceded home possession in midfield, allowing Hoban to roam forward before dragging his low shot wide.
Six minutes later, following a Stags’ free-kick, Hoban sent a left-channel ball into the box which Carlisle only half-cleared. And after Gobern picked it up from 20 yards, the midfielder struck wide.
As the game passed the half-hour mark, Carlisle missed a golden chance to take the lead. Adams drifted a 35 yard free-kick into the pack, and after ghosting into the centre of the box, Raynes could only prod it wide.
With ten minutes of the first half remaining, Gobern unleashed another long range effort, this time from 30 yards, but was unable to test Gillespie.
Shearer had to keep out a double Adams' strike as half-time approached; the first from a close-to-touchline free-kick and the second, a save to his left following a shot from outside the box.
Carlisle were ordered to withdraw towels from one of the sidelines, used to dry the ball before the taking of home throws, after Steve Evans rightly informed the fourth official of the practice. But curiously, in time added on, a towel was still used to dry the ball on the far side of the ground.
In the final opportunity of the first half, Gobern did well to beat his man and cross. But Mitch Rose’s header from the brink of the goal area lacked the power to trouble Gillespie.
Carlisle were ahead just four minutes after the half-time interval.
Adams, in a central position, drifted the ball into the box and Wyke rose to send a deft, backward header which looped over Shearer and into the net.
Stags missed a great chance to level the contest two minutes later, with Clements the architect.
The midfielder delivered a fine free-kick into a congested box, 12 yards from the goal line, but Gobern headed onto the roof of the net from six yards.
Steve Evans made his first change of the match in the 57th minute as Stags’ searched for an equaliser with Ashley Hemmings introduced for Gobern.
As Mansfield attacked the Carlisle goal, Green found Clements on the right side of the box, where the midfielder teed up Rose to curl an attempt wide.
But it was Carlisle who were next to find the net as the game passed the hour.
Grainger sent a delicious left-footed cross into the box, laying it on a plate for Wyke to plant his header beyond a diving Shearer from ten yards.
Midway through the second period, forward Danny Rose replaced Pat Hoban for Mansfield.
Rose almost immediately picked up a loose Carlisle ball 30 yards out, and as Green took control, the Stags’ leading talisman hit it wide.
In the 71st minute, Rose’s shot from outside the box was comfortably saved by Gillespie.
Referee Seb Stockbridge then surprised the whole crowd by awarding Carlisle a penalty in the 80th minute. Following a home corner, the referee spotted something in the penalty area which nobody else did, and awarded a spot-kick.
And Wyke stepped up from 12 yards to send it beneath Shearer, diving to his left, to claim his hat-trick.
Carlisle's fourth goal was followed with Stags' final change as James Baxendale came on for Mitchell Rose.
Benning and Green then had attempts at goal, but Gillespie wasn't called upon to deny either.
Stags reduced the deficit in the 86th minute, however. Hemmings sent it into the box to Green, who knocked it central for Rose to chest down and fire home from close range.
Mansfield then had a chance to close the gap further following a Clements free-kick in time-added on.
As the ball came out of the home box, Benning hit a wayward attempt goalwards from 20 yards, and as it fell to Pearce inside the area, the defender prodded it towards goal but was denied by a superb Gillespie save.
But any faint hopes of a comeback were dashed in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Ex-Stags winger Reggie Lambe had time to pick his spot after lashing forward a left-flank cross, and with the aid of a deflection, it flew into the net to complete a 5-2 victory for the league's new leaders.
CARLISLE: Gillespie, T. Miller, Raynes, Brisley, Grainger, Lambe, Kennedy (McKee 70), Joyce, Jones, Adams (Asamoah 84), Wyke (S. Miller 82)
UNUSED SUBS: Crocombe, Atkinson, Ellis, Gillesphey
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Collins, Pearce, Benning, McGuire, M. Rose (Baxendale 81), Clements, Gobern (Hemmings 57), Green, Hoban (D. Rose 69)
UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Thomas, Hurst, Hamilton
REFEREE: Seb Stockbridge
ATTENDANCE: 4,822 (183 Stags’ fans)