Full Time Score Mansfield Town 2-1 Bury
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) CJ Hamilton, Tyler Walker (Pen)
Attendance 4,959 (516)
Craig Priest writes…
Having not won on Boxing Day for ten years prior to yesterday’s clash, Stags fans were asking Santa for an added dose of luck mixed with optimism along with their three points – boy did the big guy delivery as the Stags buried the Ghost of Christmas past, against promotion rivals Bury.
Mansfield were again magnificent in their approach to the fixture and whilst they didn’t have it all their own way against a very good Bury side, Flitcroft’s men stood firm and kept on going until the rewards came, the only negative being throwing away the clean sheet by conceding a needless, cheap, penalty.
Overall Mansfield’s play is brilliant week upon week and we are really seeing the quality from individuals shine through, the pass from Mellis to CJ for the first goal a prime example, whilst Rose’s ferocious header to win Mansfield a penalty was the mark of the fine player he is.
We have a real flow about us at the moment and when you think about the players still to come back into the mix, I have to really stop myself getting carried away and thinking about what could be – it is vitally important to finish 2018 on a high on Saturday with another three points and then do the recruitment both early and well.
The Stags were unchanged from Saturday’s come from behind victory over Stevenage and were on the back foot inside the opening ten minutes, Conrad Logan called into action on two minutes to deny O’Connell, three minutes later the Stags shot stopper was back peddling but did enough to keep out O’Shea, who tried to chip the Stags glovesman from distance.
Mansfield had their first real chance on 15 minutes as Mellis and Elsnik worked a short corner, the latter feeding the former into the box where his fizzing effort was blocked well, a minute later Mellis was again denied – this time by the side netting following White’s pin point cross park ball.
The Stags were starting to get on top and typically it was Hamilton causing trouble, in over the top the lightening dinger turned defender turned striker turned legend, squared across the box to Bishop – who was denied by a perfect tackle from Ex Stag Stephen Dawson.
Mellis, Walker, White, Benning and Hamilton all had further efforts but couldn’t find the opening required, the match all square at the break.
Bury nearly found the opening for the Stags a minute into the second half as they headed the ball against their own bar, but cometh the hour and lightening struck – as Mellis lofted the ball over the top for CJ to chase and despite the excellent Joe Murphy saving the first effort – Hamilton nodded the looping lose ball into the net to put Mansfield ahead.
Rose replaced Elsnik on 68 minutes and ten minutes later both him and Walker were denied by Murphy, from the resulting corner Rose’s header caused havoc and the referee pointed to the spot, as Sweeney was upended chasing Rose’s flick – Tyler Walker took responsibility and converted expertly to double the Stags lead, netting his 15th goal of the season.
Atkinson replaced Mellis with five minutes to go and nearly made the perfect impact, collecting a loose ball in the middle and dancing his way through, firing wide of the mark once inside the Bury box.
Five minutes of time were added and in the fourth, Matt Preston’s sliding challenge inside the Stags box was too heavy – Jay O’Shea beat Logan from the spot to make it 2-1, fortunately – the full time whistle soon followed and Mansfield sealed three festive points.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 2-1 Bury
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Conrad Logan, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce, Ryan Sweeney, Hayden White, Jacob Mellis (Will Atkinson 85), Neal Bishop, Mal Benning, Timi Elsnik (Danny Rose 69), CJ Hamilton, Tyler Walker (Jordan Graham 88)
Unused Subs:  Jake Kean, Otis Khan, Calum Butcher, Jason Law
Referee: Ollie Yates
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