ACCRINGTON Stanley secured three consecutive wins for the first time in 2014 with a 1-0 victory at Mansfield Town and sent themselves into the top half of the League Two table in the process.

Luke Joyce’s first half penalty proved to be the difference between the sides in a game which saw the Reds dominate the first half and defend stoically in the second.


Manager John Coleman made one change for the game at Field Mill with Marcus Carver coming in for Josh Windass and the visitors started on the front foot with Carver pulling a shot just wide inside the first couple of minutes.

Home goalkeeper Sasha Studer was a busy man in the opening exchanges as he was forced to save with his legs from Kal Naismith after the Scot had been threaded in by Sean Maguire before the Mansfield number one was at the centre of the game’s first big talking point.

Carver chased a long ball down the right channel and got a toe to the ball as he got into the penalty area before Studer could get there, resulting in the goalkeeper bringing him down.

The assistant referee flagged, ref Scott Mathieson pointed to the spot and Joyce stepped up, sending his kick into the left corner of the net to register his second goal of the season.

Mansfield were now a goal down and on the ropes, with Studer saving a chip from Maguire before Naismith tricked his way down the left and crossed for the Irishman who got a low shot away only for Studer to save with his legs.

Paul Cox’s team made very little progress in Stanley’s half, with Matt Rhead’s tame low shot the only real save Aaron Chapman had to make.

At the break Stanley may have been disappointed to only lead by one but Coleman must have expected a response from their hosts and that is what happened, with a change of shape increasing the threat from the Stags.

Set pieces brought pressure for the hosts but clear chances remained hard to come by with Rakish Bingham firing off target before a Fergus Bell strike was deflected to Chapman.

Stanley were thankful to defender Rob Atkinson, who threw himself in front of an effort from sub Ollie Palmer inside the box to prevent what looked like a certain goal as the pressure increased.

Captain Adam Murray was the man driving Mansfield forward but he headed for the showers early when a late challenge on Atkinson was somewhat harshly punished with a red card by Mr Mathieson.

This decision turned anger in the stands at the performance to anger at the officials and that feeling intensified when sub Lee Molyneux was only booked for an untidy tackle on Jamie McGuire.

The more Mansfield pushed the more of a threat Stanley were on the break.

Atkinson saw a header cleared off the line and substitute Josh Windass fired over.

Mansfield did commit numbers forward but the Stanley defence continue to do their job with Tom Aldred to the fore in a series of goal mouth scrambles.

Stanley’s last visit to Field Mill saw two goals in stoppage time but there was not such drama this time as the final whistle heralded a second consecutive clean sheet and Coleman’s 100 per cent record at the helm still intact.