Full Time Score Crewe Alexandra 0-3 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The Alexandra Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Timi Elsnik (2), Tyler Walker
Attendance 2,973 (300)
Craig Priest writes…
One of my biggest nightmares as a football fan is missing the game, yet sometimes that can be out of your control, and nothing you can do will change that. Thinking about our recent run of results, have we been stuck in the footballing equivalent of a traffic jam?
Last night at Crewe we finally seemed to get away from the stuttering nature of our play, playing for the most part with a freedom, hunger and desire to go out, press high and get goals – being rewarded with a fine 3-0 victory over a Crewe side who were no pushovers.
The breakthrough was in the team selection and in particular the selection of Timi Elsnik, who scored twice and really impressed. The freedom of the Stags' play came through Elsnik and Mellis seemed to be working in tandem, as one pushed forward the other sat in deep alongside Bishop, who again marshalled the midfield.
A 3-0 scoreline is somewhat kind on Crewe as David Flitcroft’s men created numerous chances where they were either denied or stumbled upon the same old story of poor end product, but more importantly it was the focus at the other end which pleased more – as there was no complacency at 3-0 up, which given our recent form is pleasing.
The big thing now is getting back to back wins and turning this unbeaten run into something a little more pleasing, I see no reason why that can't be achieved should we play with the same intensity and hunger.
For myself I was one of the unlucky ones stuck in the stand still traffic prior to the match, five minutes earlier and we may have been caught up in it ourselves which again when you take into consideration recent events, reiterates how valuable life is and that football is a game. What is 20 minutes missed when you have a lifetime of games? I hope whoever was involved is ok.
David Flitcroft made two changes from the side who drew with MK Dons, Hayden White returned from injury to replace the suspending Ryan Sweeney, whilst attacking midfielder Otis Khan missed out through injury, Timi Elsnik given the nod to start just off of the shoulder of the front two.
The Stags began the match with fewer away fans than usual as many, including myself, were stuck in traffic following an earlier accident on the way – but that didn’t prevent David Flitcroft’s men from showing intent from the off putting the hosts under pressure and grabbing the games opening goal on six minutes as a well worked free kick between Benning and Mellis, sent Elsnik driving forward – his low shot drilled into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
The hosts responded well but the Stags kept Dave Artell’s side at bay allowing Hamilton, Rose and Elsnik to get forward and seek the desired second, or first for the later arrivals!
Tyler Walker dragged an effort wide on 28 minutes but seven minutes later Elsnik showed him how it was done, grabbing his and the Stags’ second goal of the game, latching onto the ball after great movement through the middle, this time lofting the ball into the top corner of Ben Garratt’s goal.
The second goal gave Mansfield an edge with the ball and the kept it well and had further chances through Rose and Walker to make it three before the break, but Crewe hung on heading into half time slightly on top – a class save from Oljenik preventing them from halving the scoreline.
The Stags changes shape for the second half going with a 4-3-3 in search of the third goal to really kill the game, Hayden White moved across to right back, whilst Mall Benning dropped deeper to left back, CJ Hamilton moved up front, alongside Walker and Rose.
Mansfield’s shape change nearly paid off early as White and Rose both headed over, but it was nimble footwork from Hamilton on 61 minutes which saw the Stags grab their third, Hamilton’s cut back turned home from close range by Hamilton.
Three minutes later it should have been four as CJ Hamilton was sent through one vs one, the quick footed winger put the ball wide.
Elsnik deserved a hat-trick and it nearly came with six minutes to go, only a fine save from Garratt prevented Timi from taking home the matchball, whilst at the other end, a series of fine saves from Olejnik kept the Stags’ cleansheet intact, as Mansfield grabbed their second away midweek victory in as many weeks.
FULL TIME: Crewe Alexandra 0-3 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Hayden White, Krystain Pearce ©, Matt Preston, CJ Hamilton, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis (Calum Butcher 88), Mal Benning, Timi Elsnik, Tyler Walker (Will Atkinson 70), Danny Rose (Craig Davies 81)
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Lewis Gibbens, Omari Sterling-James Jordan Graham
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
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