Mansfield could only draw at home with Coventry City, despite the visitors being down to 10 men from the 14th minute. Two early Middlesborough goals helped the league leaders to victory over an improving Derby side.
Mansfield Town FC
Mansfield Town were unable to make it three wins in a row as they recorded a 1-1 draw in a dramatic game away at Coventry at the One Call Stadium.
After consecutive clean sheets and back-to-back wins against Newport County and Exeter City, Mansfield named an unchanged side.
The visitors started brightly and had a couple of chances inside the opening few minutes. Firstly Jonson Clarke-Harris saw his flicked effort deflect off a Mansfield defender and from the corner, Rod McDonald rose at the far post but saw his header saved by Stags goalkeeper Conrad Logan
The game changed in the 14th minute. First Coventry went close, Clarke-Harris’ low shot well saved by Logan. The keeper then sent a long clearance forward which released top scorer Danny Rose, Jordan Willis clipped the strikers’ ankles and was shown a straight red card.
It got worse for the visitors as from the resultant free-kick Mansfield midfielder Alex McDonald hit a low shot which struck teammate Kane Hemmings and rolled into the bottom corner with Coventry keeper Lee Burge wrong-footed.
A goal up and with a man advantage Mansfield were now very much in control and almost increased their advantage on the half-hour. Winger Alfie Potters’ corner found Rhys Bennett but he couldn’t keep his header down from a good position.
Despite Mansfield creating the better of the chances, they failed to increase their lead before the break. Early in the 2nd period, Hemmings had the ball in the net again after rounding Burge but the linesman’s flag cut short the celebrations.
At 1-0 Coventry were still in the game and almost grabbed an equaliser in the 69th minute. Ryan Haynes managed to work some space and get a shoot away which Logan did well to save.
Just a minute later the visitors had the perfect opportunity to get back on level terms. Alex McDonald lost his footing as he closed Clarke-Harris in the area and bundled into the Coventry forward to give away a penalty. Clarke-Harris picked himself up and buried the spot kick past Logan for an equaliser that was harsh on the Stags.
Mansfield almost got their noses back in front immediately as a Rose header found Hamilton who’s shot beat Burge but was blocked on it’s way to goal.
The home side continued to look the most likely to grab a late winner, McDonald went close with a free-kick before Ricky Miller went down under pressure in the area but received a caution for simulation rather than the penalty he was looking for.
There was to be no late drama and, having had a man advantage for the majority of the game, the Stags will be disappointed to have failed to take all 3 points.
Mansfield sit in 5th, comfortably in the play-off spots and only a couple of points from the third automatic promotion spots currently occupied by Wycombe Wanderers.
Derby County Ladies
Derby couldn’t halt the charge of Middlesborough who took an early two-goal lead and hung on to grab all three points.
Millie Bell and Emily Scarr put Boro’ on the road to victory before Andi Bell reduced the deficit before half-time.
However, Sarr added her second with an impudent effort, squeezing the ball under the wall from a free-kick, to move Boro’ six points clear of second-placed Huddersfield with three games in hand.
Derby can be proud of their performance and were perhaps a little unfortunate to emerge from the game with nothing.