Full Time Score Mansfield Town 4-0 Northampton Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorers Danny Rose (2) Timi Elsnik, CJ Hamilton
Craig Priest writes…
Mansfield Town answered their critics with a dominant four-nil win over Northampton Town, proving the difference a flurry of goals and three points can made, as the boos and ‘Flitcroft Out’ whispers, turn to cheers and a loud vocal backing for the Stags and their manager.
David Flitcrofts men showed a focussed and committed attitude to not rest on their laurels despite coming up against a Northampton side who had given up and got back on the team bus after an hour.
The Stags have shown practically week in week out that they were capable of scoring goals, however they’ve been punished when the second goal hasn’t dropped, by a lack of focus and in more recent weeks – a worried, scared and negative mental approach – a ghost Mansfield put to bed yesterday with a dogged display.
Danny Rose put in yet another committed display and capped an excellent display with two goals, after the game he apologised whole-heartedly to the fans over the Summer situation (not that he had to in my opinion) but good on him for fronting it up and repeatedly re-affirming his commitment to the cause. I fully believe that he’ll be off of the transfer list when it matters and the ONLY focus from all concerned should be ON the pitch – a focussed and firing Danny Rose, is a team climbing the table.
Prior to the match news broke about midfielder Alex MacDonald’s injury, potentially out for up to six weeks which is obviously a bitter blow – this does however open the door for Timi Elsnik (and Jacob Mellis once his suspension is over, I believe next week), an opportunity the Derby loanee seized with a fine display showing why he’s rated so highly, I felt his distribution was excellent, he settled well with Bishop and THAT opening goal – well it just goes to show that we do work on turning defence to attack.
Tactically the Stags management should be commended, especially on the first substation when Atkinson replaced Walker. A few voices where critically saying that we were closing the game off and shutting up shop in a negative way – far from it, putting CJ higher up gave Northampton something else to contend with and resulted in two more goals, whilst Atkinson again showed why he is a vital asset, solidifying the right hand side where Northampton were starting to find a bit of space.
The three points, four goals and clean sheets are what count the most and with the games now coming thick and fast – momentum is key with Oldham coming to town on Tuesday, a win would leapfrog us over Oldham and put us back up there and make things look a lot better.
October will be tough, but now we have this weight off of our shoulders, we kick on, do it again and come out of the other side smiling – a proper change in fortune.
Midfielder Alex MacDonald missed out with an ankle injury giving Timi Elsnik his first league start since arriving on loan from Derby County, Hayden White also missed out again, whilst Craig Davies returned to the bench.
The Stags knew goals would be key to shaking off their frustrating spell of draws and started with real intent as Bishop’s early cross to Elsnik was headed away before Danny Rose was next to connect to Bishop’s delivery – Rose couldn’t get enough on it to trouble the visiting keeper.
Northampton won a corner on five minutes but it would result in them conceding as, as the Stags dealt with the corner, Timi Elsnik was first to latch on to the clearance and sprinted box to box, before curling into the bottom corner left footed from the edge of the Cobblers box.
CJ Hamilton and Tyler Walker both tested David Cornell but couldn’t add that elusive second goal early on, and as the Stags entered a stale period, the visitors had their opportunity to pull the game level on 25 minutes – Bobby Olejnik held comfortably onto Kevin Van Veen’s effort.
On the stroke of half time both sides had chances but couldn’t add to the score-line, Bobby Olenik making a fine save with his legs to deny the visitors, before Timi Elsnik came close to adding his second goal of the game, forcing a fine stop from Cornell.
Mansfield headed into the second half a goal to the good but knew a killer second would be critical and nearly grabbed the goal within the opening minute of the second half, Otis Khan curling wide from twenty yards.
Four minutes later Khan forced a finger tip save from a dead ball before Walker turned Elsnik’s cross wide on 56 minutes.
The goal would soon follow just moments later as Danny Rose showed tremendous tenacity to chase down a back pass after winning a succession of tackles to forced the visitors backwards, eventually sliding home from a narrow angle.
Rose soon held an apologetic hand up as he tried an audacious lob from the half way line, on 70 minutes he came a little closer, controlling Sweeney’s pass before seeing his well hit shot saved by Cornell who prevented a cricket score.
Will Atkinson replaced Walker on 74 minutes with Hamilton going up front – any thought of shutting up shop were wrong as the Stags continued their hunt for goals – Neal bishop the closest as his near post header from a Khan corner was saved at point blank range with 11 minutes to go.
Two minutes later CJ Hamilton proved why putting him up front was a master stroke as excellent work from Atkinson set him up for the Stags third, Hamilton finishing well from a tight angle.
Three goals and three points would have been fine, but hungry Mansfield weren’t finished – Danny Rose completing a job well done three minutes from time, as he scooped in Hamilton’s assist.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 4-0 Northampton
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton, Timi Elsnik (Calum Butcher 90), Neal Bishop, Mal Benning, Otis Khan (Craig Davies 87), Tyler Walker (Will Atkinson 74), Danny Rose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Omari Sterling-James, Jordan Graham
Referee: Trevor Kettle
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