Full Time Score Mansfield Town 3-0 Tranmere Rovers
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Jorge Grant (2) Tyler Walker
Attendance 4,885 (451)
Craig Priest writes…
Waking up to see the Stags second in the League Table after a fairly comfortable 3-0 victory, it’d be very easy to get carried away and start dreaming, however you get the sense that with David Flitcroft at the helm – they’ll be no room for dreaming, just focus.
Focus is very much the key over the next week as the Stags face two sides fighting for polar opposites, on Tuesday it’s back to forest Green to replay the washout from earlier this season – the hosts very much holding their own at the top end of the division trying to stay in the play-offs and make ground on the top three, whilst next weekend, Macclesfield visit the One Call hoping another victory would lead them further away from the dropzone, and futher away from being the first side to go straight back down after promotion the previous season.
Should the Stags come through those two fixtures with maximum points, that would give some real momentum as the business end of the season draws ever closer.
The Stags boss has compared yesterday’s victory to “death by a thousand cuts” in the way Mansfield overcame ten-man Tranmere, there was certainly an element of sluggishness and again trying to over play, but to the Stags credit – the element of arrogance was nowhere to be seen, they knew one-nil wouldn’t be enough and duly obliged in adding to the tally before Tranmere could cause the upset they are capable of.
It’s that composed and professional approach which the Stags need to continue to harvest now, there are perhaps questions which still need to be answered with the right wing back situation and if that will help or hinder the development of CJ Hamilton - but it’s clear we have a manager who knows it’s not just about the next game, a manager who is passionate about developing players.
We also have a manager who can hold his hands up, admitted he perhaps rushed the decision to set up camp at the RH Academy so early – with full time training on the 3G Pitch causing a few injuries which could have been, and very nearly were, detrimental to key players. It’s very pointless training all week on a surface which is different to the one you play on when Saturday comes – that will no doubt be solved by utilising the training pitch at the One Call until such a time as the training ground is ready.
We have to be coy about our preparation and approach – here’s one for your book of quotes Dave…. Slowly, slowly catchy the league one monkey! COME ON YOU STAGGGGGGGGS!
With Hayden White ruled out for the rest of the season following a leg break at Colchester last weekend, there was a reshuffle to the stags back three, Matt Preston slotted back in alongside Pearce and Sweeney CJ Hamilton continuing at wing back.
It was a well balanced start to proceedings but it was Mansfield who came the closest on 14 minutes as the returning Matt Preston nodded Jorge Grant’s cross wide – eight minutes later it was the latters class which showed, he opened the scoring with a beautifully struck free-kick, after Walker was floored by Steve McNulty.
With nine minutes to go before half time Tranmere were reduced to ten men after their continuous fouling saw referee Ben Toner show Ollie Banks a second yellow card – Jorge Grant nearly added his second and Mansfield’s second with a minute of the first half remaining, his side footed flick landed wide of the post before CJ Hamilton’s header from Ajose’s cross was held by Scott Davies.
After the break, Walker saw two efforts go astray before Ajose was unlucky to not get on the score sheet from Grants cross on the hour – four minutes later Ajose’s well hit effort was parried by Davies, but straight into the path of Walker who converted his 19th goal of the season in all competitions.
A third Stags goals followed on 68 minutes as Walker was denied his second by Davies, Grant however was on hand to finish the job started by his best friend – game set and match.
Mansfield had a fourth chalked off on 76 minutes as Sweeney was judged to be offside from Grant’s corner, substitute Otis Khan along with Hamilton and Ajose did come close to adding number four, in the end it was just three – three MASSIVE points, moving the Stags into second.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 3-0 Tranmere Rovers
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Jordan Smith, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton, Jacob Mellis, Neal Bishop (Will Atkinson 69), Mal Benning, Jorge Grant, Tyler Walker (Otis Khan 75), Nicky Ajose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Danny Rose, Jason Law, Calum Butcher, Alistar Smith
Referee: Ben Toner
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