Colchester win not enough for Mansfield to secure play-off spot
Mansfield missed out on the League Two play-offs by the narrowest of margins despite winning 2-0 at Colchester. The Stags secured victory through goals from Riley Harbottle and James Gale at the end of each half but it was not enough to pip Salford to seventh place. Both Mansfield and Salford finished level on 75 points but the Ammies, who lost 1-0 at home to Gillingham, claimed a play-off berth courtesy of a better goal difference of just one. Colchester goalkeeper Tom Smith denied Davis Keillor-Dunn, Harbottle and Hiram Boateng while Alfie Kilgour's header flew just wide as Mansfield pushed hard for the breakthrough at the JobServe Community Stadium. It looks as though the teams would go into the break still locked at 0-0 but Town, beaten in last season's League Two play-off final, went ahead in first-half stoppage time. Harbottle headed home Keillor-Dunn's free-kick, which had been awarded after defender Tom Dallison had controversially been penalised for a foul on Will Swan midway inside the Colchester half. Boateng fired just wide for the Stags early in the second half as the visitors looked to build on that Harbottle goal while Keillor-Dunn's curled effort from the edge of the box bounced off the bar. Colchester then hit the woodwork themselves just before the hour when John Akinde's close-range effort struck the crossbar, after Christy Pym had done well to deny Connor Hall.
Swan spurned a great chance to increase Mansfield's lead late on after firing wide and Kilgour blocked Freddie Sears' goalbound shot. Substitute Gale wrapped up Mansfield's victory in the seventh minute of stoppage time with a low finish from from Lucas Akins' pass, but it was too little too late for Nigel Clough's men as they just missed out on a play-off spot.
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