Stevenage's buffer inside the top three was all but wiped out as a deflected goal sent them to defeat at Mansfield Town.

It was an 11th-minute shot that brought the Stags a 1-0 win, leaving goalkeeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala completely helpless.

And with Carlisle United and Stockport County both winning, it means Boro are now only a point ahead of the two chasers.

The one plus point was a last-minute equaliser preventing Bradford from taking three points.

It focuses the mind even more, six points is needed but there will need to be more quality.

The big team news prior to kick-off was would 16-year-old Makise Evans make a start.

The answer was no but he took a spot on the now full-strength bench.

There were two changes to the starting line-up from the win over Doncaster Rovers in midweek. Jake Reeves and Michael Bostwick came in for Jake Taylor and Jake Forster-Caskey.

Those two moved to the bench where there was one other change apart from Evans, Jonathan Tomkinson coming in for Dean Campbell.

The changes were designed to make life difficult and they restricted Mansfield to very few chances.

However, they found themselves a goal down by the break in very unfortunate circumstances.

There were chances to clear for the visitors, Max Clark was sucked into a challenge that he never got close too and then Bostwick slow to close down Lucas Akins.

However, the shot from Davis Keillor-Dunn was inoffensive, side-footed and bobbling towards Lo-Tutala.

But it clipped off a body in front of the goalkeeper, and was eventually awarded by the PA system to James Gale, taking it away from the Hull man and into an empty net.

Boro then saw Dan Sweeney take a daft yellow card for having a shot well after a foul had been awarded against them.

Mansfield didn't create much more though, a flick from Akins late on which went over the only effort of note.

And Boro had two efforts, Jamie Reid with a shot from the edge that flicked behind for a corner and then Jordan Roberts heading straight at Christy Pym.

A change at half-time signified the Boro boss was not happy with the way things had gone, Forster-Caskey replacing Bostwick, and the opening 10 minutes saw Boro on the front foot.

That soon tailed off though and Pym was relatively untroubled after the break despite some late pressure from the visitors.

Teenager Evans set a record as the youngest ever Boro player when he was sent on with 87 minutes played.

The odd flick was the best he could manage and one header down by Carl Piergianni rolled too close to the goalkeeper.

Mansfield had chances of their own, Rhys Oates twice blazing over while Keillor-Dunn was only inches away with a shot that skimmed the top of the net.

The result was greeted with delight by the Stags fans, as it should have been.

Boro will have to wait for more jubilation this season.


Stevenage: Lo-Tutala, James-Wildin (Evans 87), Clark, Reeves, Piergianni, Sweeney, Roberts, Gilbey (Horgan 74), Bostwick (Forster-Caskey 46), Reid, Rose (Taylor 63).

Subs (not used): Pryzbek, Smith, Tomkinson.

Booked: Sweeney 15


Mansfield Town: Pym, Hewitt, Akins, Johnson, Perch, Quinn (Law 71), Wallace, Gale (Oates 21, Harbottle 89), Kilgour, Keillor-Dunn (Maris 89), Boateng.

Subs (not used): Flinders, Reed, Swan.

Goal: Gale 11

Booked: Keilor-Dunn 14, Oates 52


HT: Mansfield Town 1 Stevenage 0

Referee: James Linnington (Isle of Wight)

Attendance: 6,863