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Match Reports

Town suffer heavy defeat away at Mansfield

14 February 2024

Match Reports

Town suffer heavy defeat away at Mansfield

14 February 2024

A ruthless Mansfield made their chances count to come away 9-2 victors at The One Call Stadium and emphatically end Town's unbeaten start to 2024.

With both teams enjoying successful seasons, Town came into this one with the intention of retaining their play-off spot and making it seven games unbeaten in the league. As for the home-side Mansfield who currently sit 2nd in the table, their aim was to make it three points tonight with the hope of closing the gap on league leaders Stockport County.

Simon Weaver opted to field the same eleven that started at the weekend in that 1-0 win over Colchester. For Mansfield it was a very different side to the one that thrashed Forest Green on Saturday with manager Nigel Clough making four changes, those being: Akins, Boateng, Bowery, and Quinn entering the fray.

It was a quick start for Mansfield who piled on a lot of early pressure onto the Town defence as well as enjoying the majority of the possession. The home side made their early dominance count as 12 minutes into the game Mansfield were awarded a penalty for a foul on Cargill. Abu the culprit tugged the back of his shirt and the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. Akins stepped up and slotted it to the left-hand side of the goal sending Belshaw the wrong way.

Town tried to respond quickly having a couple counter attacks in quick succession, one of which resulted in Boateng picking himself up a yellow card for halting Dooley in his tracks.

On 20 minutes, Mansfield doubled their lead as Dooley got dispossessed in his own half and was made to pay as Boateng drove through the final third and whipped the ball beyond Belshaw’s reach.

It went from bad to worse 10 minutes later as Boateng grabbed his second of the night as another cheap giveaway in midfield led to Keillor-Dunn shifting the ball quickly to the feet of Boating  who picked the ball up in-field and he had loads of time and space to pick his spot.

A couple minutes after, Quinn almost got his name on the scoresheet with a ferocious strike which rattled the crossbar after making a bursting run from midfield.

Under a minute after it it was four as Mansfield’s build up play in attack was ruthless. After incisive passing on the edge of the box, the ball found its way to Nichols who set himself and struck a left footed shot across goal which trickled its way into the bottom corner.

Mansfield who were hungry for goals made it a half to forget for the travelling Town fans who saw their team go 5-0 down heading into the break as Keillor-Dunn notched himself a brace from 8 yards out. Town once again being makers of their own downfall giving the ball away cheaply and over committing in attack led to the goal scorer finding himself unmarked in the box and kept his composure to find the net.

A half to forget for Weaver and his men who would be looking for any positives to take out of the second half.

It didn’t get any easier for Town as Boateng made it a hat-trick for him on the evening. The Mansfield attack ran riot in a delightful passage of play for it to result in a calm finish into the corner from Boateng.

Weaver decided it was time for some changes on 53 minutes giving game time to March, Sutton, and Burrell in replace of Abu, Dooley, and Muldoon.

A minute after the substitutes were brought on Town did get a consolation goal via Thomson as Daly found himself free in the middle of the park and picked out a lovely weighted through pass into the path of Thomson who made no mistake 1v1.

A shock to all in the stadium Town got two in quick succession as the substitute March made his impact by weaving on the edge of the box before striking the ball against the post and Odoh was there to capitalise on the rebound.

Five minutes later just past the hour mark, Akins made it two for himself from a sweeping move through the thirds. Maris picked his pass to Akins who’s shot which was partially blocked by Gibson couldn’t prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.

With half an hour to go, Town made two further changes bringing on Sivi and Bloxham in replace of Odoh and Daly.

On 75 minutes Mansfield made it 8-2 with the pick of the bunch. Sutton had a wayward touch and gets the ball stolen off of him and the substitute Swan curls the ball into the top right-hand corner. Every shot seemed to have found the net!

Two minutes later Swan added his name to the scoresheet for the second time as he made a late darting run into the box and a pinpoint ball into the six-yard box led to Swan sweeping a delicate finish into the near post.

Town will now aim to bounce back against another tough test in Crewe at the weekend and a chance to put the result behind them in the search for a play-off spot as they enter the business end of the season.

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