Sky Bet League Two | Tuesday 9th March 2021 – One Call Stadium [Behind Closed Doors]
For weeks Mansfield Town have been guilty of the same old mistakes, errors and in some cases – stubbornness, a refusal to change and subtly tweak things, yet as proved last night in the 3-1 victory over league leaders Cheltenham, subtle tweaks were all that was needed.
Mansfield changed from the pressing 4-3-3 to a countering, high-octane 4-2-2 diamond – with boss Nigel Clough admitting he was “sceptical” about the change, but heaped praise on assistant Gary Crosby for the idea – which ultimately helped the Stags nullify Cheltenham’s threat from throws and set-plays, and at the other end allow creativity and flare to flourish to the tune of three goals.
Cheltenham’s goal on 50 minutes could be argued as a typical Mansfield goal to concede with defenders losing the goal-scorer, but a dominant side like Cheltenham will put good quality crosses into the box and have the power to convert them, what mattered more was the response.
The Stags could have easily crumbled and gone onto be easily beaten, but a lovely inside pass from Jason Law set up Bowery for a powerful effort to peg back Cheltenham after three minutes and pave the way for a Mansfield come back, full of desire and fight.
Law will rightly get a lot of plaudits for his role at the top of the diamond, pulling him back slightly allowed Reid and Bowery to push on and have space to punish – however credit should also be given to Stephen McLaughlin at the bottom end, sitting just infront of the back four he was excellent in breaking things up and sparking a number of counter attacks.
One win doesn’t make us safe, nor alter the fact we have weaknesses – but with players coming back into the fold we are certainly stronger going into the next four games, which includes a clash with bottom side Grimsby – prime opportunity to widened that buffer and take the final run of games with freedom rather than panic.
A huge well done to all of the players for last night’s display, the bare minimum for me now is that we don’t stutter again, especially when we have the potential and ability to really shine.
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Marek Stech | Kellan Gordon, Farrend Rawson, James Perch, Mal Benning | Stephen McLaughlin, Ollie Clarke © (George Lapslie 73), Stephen Quinn (Harry Charsley 88), Jason Law | Jordan Bowery, Jamie Reid
Unused Subs: Jamie Pardington, Corey O’Keeffe, Jake Wright, Keaton Ward, Tyrese Sinclair
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