Full Time Score Mansfield Town 1-0 Port Vale
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) CJ Hamilton
Attendance 4,316 (459)
Craig Priest writes…
It’s fair to say the opening two months of this season were full of frustrations, and even in recent weeks with so many positives, there was still one weight hanging over the Stags’ shoulders – getting back to back league victories.
That weight has now been lifted thanks to a magical flash of lightening from CJ Hamilton, who is rapidly developing into a prize asset helping to set Mansfield’s league two campaign on fire.
We all knew of CJ’s talent when he arrived under Adam Murray and showed flashes of it as a winger under Steve Evans, but since the arrival of David Flitcroft, like so many others, the tag of one trick pony has bolted, and we’ve got one hell of a utility player on our hands who can effect from anywhere on the pitch.
Yesterday was far from a routine victory, it was a professional job which could have gone horrible one had we taken the arrogant approach when Vale went down to ten men just past the hour mark with the Stags a goal to the good.
Teams react differently to going a man down and it didn’t really effect Vale’s game plan as they were bypassing the midfield anyway with direct play, trying to get throws in good areas to utilise the long throw, credit should therefor go to the stags’ focus and resoluteness to cherish their lead and hold onto it.
Clean sheets and protecting what you’ve worked for is sometimes more important than drilling a team into the ground, and that’s exactly where the Stags put their focus yesterday to earn a much deserved victory.
The games keep coming thick and fast, starting with the trip to Charlton for the FA Cup replay on Tuesday before Saturday’s crunch game with Lincoln where, with victory, the Stags could make real progress with their ambitions
David Flitcroft reverted back to the side which drew with Charlton last Sunday, a side which included skipper Pearce who wasn’t called up for Barbados, meanwhile fellow defender Ryan Sweeney didn’t have a game for the Republic of Ireland U21s.
It was a slow and frustrating start to the match which took the Stags fifteen minutes to register the first real effort, as Mellis fizzed one just wide of the target, a minute later CJ Hamilton had the back line chasing a blur, weaving a way through before hitting the post.
Vale’s Tom Pope nearly caused his old boss a headache on 19 minutes but couldn’t get his header on target, whilst with ten minutes to go before the break, Tyler Walker was denied by Leon Legge who made a fine tackle at the heart of the visitors defence.
It was going to take something special to open the scoring and that’s exactly what happened on 41 minutes as CJ Hamilton dropped his shoulder and curled beyond the keeper.
After the break the Stags were out of the traps quickly and it took a solid save from Scott Brown to deny Tyler Walker, before Danny Rose replaced Craig Davies.
On 63 minutes the visitors were down to ten men as Manny Oyeleke picked up his second booking of the match for tripping Bishop, with eight minutes to go Rose should have made it two-nil as he took advantage of Brown’s slip, after failing to score in the empty net he squared to Walker, who fired wide, deep into five additional minutes – Rose was then denied by Brown following a fluid counter attack.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 1-0 Port Vale
STAGS [3-4-3]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystain Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney (Timi Elsnik 77), Hayden White, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis, Mal Benning, Tyler Walker (Jordan Graham 86), Craig Davies (Danny Rose 54), CJ Hamilton
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Calum Butcher, Will Atkinson, Alistar Smith
Referee: Martin Coy
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