Full Time Score Morecambe 0-1 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The Globe Arena
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Neal Bishop
Attendance 1,355 (144)
Craig Priest writes…
After weeks of frustration Mansfield Town secured their first away win of the season with a determined display at Morecambe, thanks largely to a solid performance from Neal Bishop.
The central midfielder & elder statesman of the squad was sorely missed on Saturday when the Stags drew with Swindon, his display at Morecambe made up for his absence as he provided the dose of grit & determination that David Flitcroft’s men have been crying out for, highlighted particularly with his goal & the determination to not let the opposition get a break away.
On paper it goes down as another narrow victory where seemingly we've failed to land the killer blow, and whilst there's an element of truth to that, the Stags deserve credit for their resilience in the first half playing against a strong wind and a side who don't let you breathe.
I do think the Stags need to adopt that energy a little more, but to consider we've had two away games in quick succession, one with ten men for a good hour, we've still played with intent and purpose and take a bit of positive form into the next bank of games, which again includes two on the road.
The Stags can come through this period unbeaten but now need to start tightening up on the little things such as petty, petulant bookings, Jacob Mellis at Swindon where he kicked the ball away and Matt Preston last night where he needlessly chased after the ball and got into handbag spat being prime examples. These oddments add up and during this period of fixtures in close proximity, we need bodies available.
Three points are all that matter on reflection, over the past few days we've put a few things to bed, by way of keeping tight at the back and collecting three points, the objective now is get back to back victories.
David Flitcroft made two changes from the side who battled brilliantly to draw with ten men at Swindon, CJ Hamilton moved to right wing back to cover for the suspended Will Atkinson with Tyler Walker brought in up front – Neal Bishop was also back from a ban and straight into the middle of the park, Timi Elsnik having to settle for a place on the bench.
The Stags were playing against the wind in the first half but it was they who enjoyed the early gusts as the stags sent in a looping cross, which cannoned off the post before Barry Roche could beat it away.
The hosts then were at the Stags with intent, Bobby Oljenik collecting well on seven minutes as A-Jay Leith-Smith hit an effort from the edge of the box.
Mal Benning nearly scored a spectacular goal on 12 minutes as Khan sent in a lofted pass, Benning, attacking from full back, hit on the volley and struck the inside of the post, before a grateful Roche collected the goal bound effort, a minute later Matt Preston rose highest to connect with another Khan delivery – this one headed over the bar.
Oljenik gave to the Stags’ rescue on 24 minutes as Leitch-Smith found himself in space on the edge of the box, but for all the hosts attacks – the question of an opening goal was still without a reply.
The answer came blowing in the wind on 36 minutes, Otis Khan’s corner headed away but only into the path of Bishop who controlled well before rasping an effort with power beautifully into the bottom corner of the net.
Otis Khan came close to adding a second six minutes later but was denied by Roche, whilst Danny Rose flung himself through the air with seconds of the first half to go, alas he couldn’t connected properly with Benning’s hanging cross.
After the break Benning let fly just seconds in from distance as the Stags looked for a second, the ambitious effort zipped wide of the target.
Neal Bishop was at it again on 53 minutes as he hooked a volley towards goal, this one fly over the bar before CJ Hamilton got into a great area moments later, a good challenge from Sam Levelle stopped the flash of lightning from striking.
Tyler Walker was then denied by Roche as was Rose on 77 minutes as the Stags piled on the pressure, Rose was again denied by Roche six minutes from time as he hit a sweet volley.
Six minutes of time were added, during which the Stags defended smartly and saw out the match – collecting a much needed win on the road.
FULL TIME: Morecambe 0-1 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis (Timi Elsnik 80), Mal Benning, Otis Khan (Calum Butcher 83), Tyler Walker (Jordan Graham 90+5), Danny Rose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Omari Sterling-James, Jason Law
Referee: Robert Lewis
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