Northampton Town 0-1 Mansfield Town: Stags clinch play-off final berth after win at Sixfields
Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Mansfield Town have booked a place in the EFL League Two play-off final following a 1-0 defeat of Northampton Town in the second leg of their semi-final tie at the Sixfields Stadium.

Having won the first leg 2-1 at home, the Stags extended their advantage as Stephen McLaughlin scored what turned out to be the only goal of the match in the 32nd minute.

Mansfield will face the winner of the other semi-final tie between Port Vale and Swindon Town with the Robins holding a 2-1 leading heading into their second leg tomorrow.

The play-off final is set for May 28 at Wembley Stadium.

Story of the match

Northampton were in the mood from the off and in the first minute, Sam Hoskins curled a cross to Josh Eppiah, whose glancing header was saved by the fingertips of Neal Bishop.

The hosts continued to apply pressure looking for the goal that would level the tie and in the 24th minute, it took a timely intervention from Lucas Akins on an Eppiah cross to the back post.

Five minutes later, Rhys Oates rounded Fraser Horsfall on the left wing before crossing the ball across goal, which took a deflection before being collected by Liam Roberts.

In the 32nd minute, Mansfield got the goal they were looking for as Akins played in Stephen Quinn, who was in an offsides position but left it for Elliott Hewitt. He sent it to McLaughlin, whose first-time strike beat Roberts.

On 40 minutes, a floated cross into the Stags box fell to the feet of Hoskins who wasted the opportunity by blasting it over the crossbar with Bishop off his line.  

The visitors had a chance to increase their aggregate lead as Akins' half-volley from the edge of the box could only find a cluster of Northampton players.

The Cobblers appealed for a penalty three minutes into the second half as Jack Sowerby went down on the right side of the box, but the referee waved play on.

With the hosts consistently pressing, Mansfield had a chance against the run of play. Hewitt got to the byline and found Jordan Bowery at the far post, his header finding Quinn, whose overhead kick was off-target.

Resolute defending by Mansfield saw them repel every chance Northampton got and despite a brief stoppage of play after fans ran onto the pitch, nothing could dampen the Stags' joy.

Man of the match: Stephen McLaughlin

He was his usual towering self on defence and sealed the tie with a goal, showing why he was the Players Player of the Year.

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