Sky Bet League Two, Saturday 30th October 2021
When Danny Johnson blasted his second minute penalty into the Mansfield sky, Stags fans would have been forgiven for fearing the worst given recent results and performances, credit then to Nigel Clough’s side who dug deep to churn out the type of performance we knew they were capable of, to finally record a long overdue victory.
Rhys Oates got the ball rolling on 18 minutes, scoring a fine goal before turning provider in the second half for Danny Johnson, who turned into an empty net to help the Stags faithful breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Clough was without George Lapslie through suspension but was boosted by the return of Elliott Hewitt and Stephen McLaughlin, meaning there was no room for excuses when it came to having more senior players on the pitch.
Credit where its due too, as the Stags played well, moving the ball and having much more about them in terms of shape and idea – Rhys Oates as an out and out striker alongside Johnson is very dangerous and as more players come back into the fold between now and the next league fixture, a titter of excitement begins to bubble away.
None more so than having Kellan Gordon back down the right hand side, he came off of the bench for the injured McLaughlin (a concern!) and despite the expected rustiness, immediately gave us the option to play wider down the right, thus avoiding playing everything down the left through Quinn.
If we can stretch the game across the middle with both wide players getting forward, the likes of Clarke, Maris, Charsley and Lapslie, when back from suspension, can really cause damage and get on the ball.
The victory will do wonders for the camp and lifts a horrible cloud which was hanging over us, we’ve still got a long way to go but now have the opportunity to press on and collate a good sequence of results during a November period where we’ll spend a lot of time on the road.
A huge well done to Nigel, his staff and the players – all we’ve wanted for weeks is that level of determination and endeavour, because when that happens, positive results happen. That winning feeling, you just can’t beat it!
STAGS: Bishop, McLaughlin (Gordon 62’), Hewitt, Rawson, Charsley, O. Clarke, Maris, Johnson (Sinclair 84’), Hawkins, Quinn, Oates (O’Toole 90+2’) UNUSED SUBS: Shelvey, Bowery, Burke, Gale
Attendance: 3,831 (630)
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