Sky Bet League Two | Tuesday 5th January 2021 – One Call Stadium [Behind Closed Doors]
Back in October, watching Mansfield Town was like living in a nightmare – but as we enter the new year, with our new manager firmly settled in, nightmares have turned to dreams with vastly improved performances and results – the latest a 2-1 win over play-off chasing Salford City at the One Call Stadium last night.
Backed by the riches of the class of 92 boys, Salford expect promotion every season and coming to a side who’d only won once at home prior to last night in the league – would have expected to tale home all three points. Mansfield Town had other ideas.
The Stags’ had a game in hand over second bottom Grimsby and really needed to put a bigger buffer between themselves and the Mariners – and after starting the weekends victory over Port Vale with a goal inside a minute, showed the same hunger and desire to put Salford under immense pressure from kick-off.
Mansfield’s first half pressing game was nothing short of phenomenal, Salford were stretched, panicked and forced into errors which the Stags thrived upon – I’d love to see or hear the stat on the amount of times our players intercepted possession in the Salford half, and then as a result, how many chances were created.
George Lapslie netted a brilliant goal to open the scoring before the inform Jordan Bowery pounced for the second goal – forcing Salford into a change in personnel and shape at the break, which is another testament to the way the Stags set up and played – for once we dictate how the game goes, not the opposition.
Salford’s change in shape pushed the Stags back a little but Nigel Clough’s men defended resolutely and kept finding new openings, and in truth were unlucky not to have been comfortably out of sight.
Tired legs maybe played a part in the visitors netting a scrappy late goal and making the last two minutes nervy, but ultimately Salford deserved nothing from the game and got just that – the victory lifting the Stags upto the dizzy heights of 15th – nosebleed territory.
The form guide makes for very eye opening viewing, had the league started 12 games ago – (11 league games under Clough, one under the caretakership of Richard Cooper) Mansfield would be THIRD!
However tempting it is to start dreaming, wishing, hoping etc – focus is needed on one word: FACT. The season did not start 12 games ago, it started 22 games ago and those extra ten games have killed us and put us into a battle at the wrong end of the table. It’s very easy now to start looking up and ahead – but do that too much, you’ll miss that massive pot hole, trip and fall.
The single most important thing about victory last night is the fact we’ve put a six point gap between ourselves and the drop zone – huge as several teams around us have games in hand on us, some two – which could make a big difference.
Our focus now shifts to the FA Cup, a very winnable game against fellow League Two side Cheltenham Town. Let’s get through, hopefully in normal time, and net ourselves some must needed income, which can then in turn can be drip fed to the transfer budget for Clough to strengthen.
The winning feeling is a beautiful one – long may it continue!
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Marek Stech | James Perch, Farrend Rawson, Ryan Sweeney, Mal Benning | Harry Charsley, Ollie Clarke ©, George Maris | George Lapslie, Jamie Reid, Jordan Bowery
Unused Subs: Aidan Stone, Corey O’Keeffe, Rollin Menayese, Andy Cook, Aaron O’Driscoll, Stephen McLaughlin, Tyrese Sinclair
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