Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Mansfield claim narrow win over Northampton in first leg of play-off semi-final

Mansfield claimed a first-leg lead over Northampton (Nigel French/PS)
Mansfield claimed a first-leg lead over Northampton (Nigel French/PS)

Mansfield take a slender 2-1 lead into the second leg of the League Two play-off semi-finals after a superb battle with Northampton at the One Call Stadium.

First-half goals from top scorer Rhys Oates and Jordan Bowery saw Mansfield 2-0 up and sitting pretty by the interval, but Ali Koiki’s reply after 61 minutes has left the tie in the balance.

Mansfield carved out the first chance of the game after five minutes as Jamie Murphy found Stephen McLaughlin on the left and his low drilled cross passed inches in front of the outstretched leg of Oates as he slid in.

At the other end, home keeper Nathan Bishop was forced to dive to his right to turn aside a superb 25-yard effort from Louis Appere in the 11th minute.

But the home side grabbed the lead two minutes later. McLaughlin laid the ball off to Bowery who sent a cutting pass to Oates, coming into the right-hand side of the box, and he buried a low shot under the body of keeper Jonny Maxted.

The home side then doubled their lead after 32 minutes through Bowery.

Newcastle loanee Matty Longstaff switched the play to the left with a great ball in front of Jamie Murphy. He got to the byline and drilled the ball hard across goal and Bowery was there to bury a finish at the far post.

Three minutes later Oates tried to go it alone on the left but his low shot from distance was wide as Stags went in at half-time in control.

Oates almost made it 3-0 just three minutes into the second half as he turned his man neatly with a great first touch from James Perch’s pass and forced Maxted to make a great save from his powerful finish.

Sam Hoskins was not far away from pulling one back in the 53rd minute as he tried to curl a 25-yard finish across Bishop from the left but saw his shot go just wide of the far post.

However, Northampton were back in the tie just after the hour mark.

Breaking quickly down the centre, Mitch Pinnock passed to Appere who found Koiki on the edge of the box, and he tucked away a low finish which took a deflection on its way past Bishop.

Northampton continued to press and John-Joe O’Toole made a great block to deny Hoskins with Josh Eppiah’s close-range follow-up deflecting inches over for a corner from which Fraser Horsfall headed wide.