Clarke On Target As Mansfield Town Earn Vital 1-0 Win Over Barrow To Move Into The Automatic Promotion Places
Ollie Clarke’s goal was the difference between the two sides as the Stags extended their unbeaten run to 11 games in all competitions and moved to within three points of league leaders and rivals Notts County.
In a match where three points were imperative, Mansfield Town got the job done after Clarke’s goal in the 72nd minute.
The task was made even easier when Barrow full-back Junior Tiensia was sent shown a straight red card for a tackle on Aaron Lewis.
The win moved the amber and blues into the automatic promotions places whilst Barrow fell into the bottom half of the League Two table.
Stags boss Nigel Clough made two changes from the 1-1 draw against Colchester United as Ollie Clarke replaced Hiram Boateng in midfield and Will Swan started in place of James Gale in attack as George Maris returned to the bench.
Barrow manager Pete Wild also made two changes from the side that drew last weekend against Newport County. Robbie Gotts and Emile Acquah came into the starting XI as they replaced Tom White and Dom Telford.
The first chance of the first-half fell to the Bluebirds as Acquah teed up Gotts but the midfielder failed to hit the target with his shot.
Up the other end, Louis Reed faked his shot before he broke into the box and fired a goalbound effort which was deflected out for a corner by George Ray.
Moments later, Tiensia released an effort with the outside of his foot but curled his shot wide of Christy Pym’s goal.
Gotts worked hard to win the ball as it fell kindly for Acquah who forced Pym into a save to deny him.
Another chance for Barrow saw Gotts fire an effort goalwards but Aden Flint flew in to block the shot and clear the danger.
Acquah had another chance as Gotts cut the ball back to the forward but he fired his effort over the bar.
Clarke found himself on the ball inside the box as he released a shot, however, the Barrow defence were quick to block the shot.
The first chance of the second-half fell Barrow’s way as Dean Campbell’s cross found the head of Rory Feely but he failed to keep his header down.
On the hour-mark, Swan turned and fired a shot which was deflected over the bar as the Stags looked to up the pressure and find the crucial breakthrough.
Substitute Gerard Garner cleverly worked some space for himself to fire a shot off with his effort deflected into the palms of Pym.
In the 72nd minute, the Stags took the lead as Swan cut the ball back to Clarke who arrowed the ball into the bottom corner.
To make matters worse for Brrow, Tiensia was shown a red card for a tackle on Lewis as the Bluebirds went down to 10 men for the remaining minutes of the game.
The scoreline remained unchanged as Mansfield Town ran out 1-0 victors to remain unbeaten in League Two and kept their unbeaten home record intact.
The loss was Barrow’s first defeat in five games as they dropped down to 13th, three points away from the Play-Off places.
Nigel Clough’s Stags are in action midweek as they face Peterborough United in the Third Round of the Carabao Cup before they face an away trip to Gillingham in League Two.
Barrow have a full week of rest before they return to home comforts as they take on Doncaster Rovers at the SO Legal Stadium next Saturday.
Mansfield Town XI: Pym; Bowery, Flint, Brunt, MacDonald (Cargill 77′); Lewis (Boateng 85′), Reed, Clarke (Maris 77′); Keillor-Dunn, Akins, Swan (Gale 85′)
Barrow XI: Farman, Feely, Ray, Canavan, Tiensia, Spence (Foley 73′), Gotts (White 82′), Campbell (Telford 83′); Proctor, Acquah (Garner 55′), Worrall (Chester 55′)