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Mansfield Leave It Late to Win Again, but damaging defeats for Hinckley and Derby

Mansfield moved into the automatic promotion places but left it very late to beat Morcambe in the Sky Bet League Two. Derby County Ladies were on the receiving end of two late goals as they exited the WPL Cup and Hinckley battled hard but couldn’t match Sale in the big clash at the top of the National League Division Two North.

Hinckley RFC

The top two clashed in the National League 2 North but Hinckley were unable to take revenge for their defeat at Sale earlier in the season.

After a brutal opening, poor lineout work from Hornets gave Sale the opportunity to hack on from their half and a saw Hinckley carry over the line to give Sale a 5m scrum. A series of pick and drives from the scrum by the Sale forwards eventually saw No. 8 Jake Barron force his way over the line for the opening score. Johnson converted to put Sale 0-7 ahead.

It was not until the 37th minute that there was any further score when Johnson converted a penalty for Sale but a couple of minutes later Hornets cut the deficit when a series of pick and drives on the Sale line saw Dave Peck score. The conversion was missed but Hornets were back in touch at 5-10 with half-time approaching. However, two penalties in quick succession gave Johnson the opportunity to extend the Sale lead and Hinckley found themselves going into the break 5-16 down.

The second period did not start any better for the hosts when prop Oscar Harper received a yellow card and Sale went for the corner. Initially, Hinckley cleared their lines but a loose ball on half-way was hacked on by Sale and Scott Hamilton was bundled into touch. Good work from the forwards saw Sale gain the penalty under the posts and Johnson converted once more to put Sale 5-19 ahead.

Hinckley needed something to get themselves back in the game and, from the kick-off, they were able to gain a penalty 30m out which Wilson converted. This finally gave the home side some momentum. A tip tackle saw Sale lose a man to the bin, with a second following 10 minutes later. The pressure eventually told on 70 minutes when Alex Salt went over in the corner after Mitch Lamb had been hauled down just short.

With the score at 13-8 and around 10 minutes to go Hinckley were back in the game but as the chased the game a wayward pass in the Hornets’ 22 was picked off by Sale Winger Arron Reed and he scored under the posts. Johnson’s conversion took it to 13-26 and it looked like game over.

However, this Hinckley side are certainly fighters and from the kick-off, they forced their way into the Sale 22 and a third yellow card for Sale saw them down to 13 men. From the resultant line-out, Hinckley looked to be in under the posts but the ball was lost over the line and Sale seemed to have survived. For once, however, poor work from the Sale pack saw the ball turned over and Callum Dacey went over for Hinckley but it was all too late, and Sale held on for an important victory.

Whilst this defeat does not mean that Hinckley are out of the promotion race, they remain second in the table, but, with other teams in the chasing pack having games in hand, the task has become much more difficult. Next up is the local derby with South Leicester at Welford Road who will be desperate to re-assert local bragging rights after losing at Leicester Road earlier in the season.

Mansfield Town

An injury-time winner moved Mansfield Town into the Sky Bet League Two automatic promotion places following a thrilling 2-1 victory over Morecambe at the Globe Arena this afternoon.

It was the hosts who went into the break ahead after shading proceedings in the first 45 minutes. The Shrimps took the lead when attacker Callum Lang intercepted a short back pass by Mansfields Krystian Pearce before rounding ‘keeper Conrad Logan in the 31st minute.

It was a sub-par first half from the Stags and Manager Steve Evans made a double change at the break, sparking a much improved send half performance.

The visitors finally got a deserved equiliser in the 70th minute when striker Danny Rose tapped home winger CJ Hamilton’s pullback after the winger had played a delightful one-two with substitute Will Atkinson. Mansfield were now looking the better side and it seemed only a matter of time before they got their noses in front.

However, in a similar manner to last weeks victory over Cheltnam, the Stags left it late to make the pressure tell.

In the last minute of injury time, left-back Mal Benning fired home from the edge of the box, despite claims from the dressing room that frontman Jimmy Spencer got the final touch, to move Mansfield into third place in League Two.

It’s certainly tight at the top of the division but Mansfield find themselves on a good run and have moved to strengthen the squad with the signing of highly-rated midfielder Adam King on loan from Premier League Swansea for the rest of the season. The Stags beat several League one clubs to secure the temporary deal.

Derby County Ladies

Derby crashed out of the WPL Cup in dissapointing fashion, surrendering a 2-0 lead to lower league opposition and eventually losing the tie to a late goal.

Derby visited Brighouse looking for revenge after the hosts had inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the Ewe Rams in the FA Cup last time out.

It certainly started well for the visitors as first Karagh Tait and then Hannah Ward netted from distance to give Derby a 2-0 lead, which they held going into half-time.

But this was very much a game of two halves. A change in personnel at half-time seemed to have an immediate effect on Brighouse and they got themselves back into the game in the 49th minute with a well-taken goal from Jodie Redgrave. Suddenly Derby were holding on and Sarah Morgan was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card for a foul on the edge of the area, Hannah Ward the covering player who saved the keeper from seeing red.

It looked as if the Ewe Rams might hang on for the win but a penalty in the 87th minute was converted to give Brighouse the equaliser. But worse was to follow for County as with the game seemingly heading for extra-time Brighouse beat the offside trap and Redgrave added her second to give the home side a place in the fourth round.