Stags Close In On Promotion Race

Mansfield Town 2-1 Colchester United (EFL League Two) 08.02.22

Mansfield Town are now just three points below the automatic promotion places after beating Colchester United last night.

Rhys Oates got the Stags off to a perfect start in just 19 minutes. The former Hartlepool man getting the ball on the half way line and sprinting past the U’s midfield to unleash a thunderbolt effort from all of 25 yards which flew past Sam Hornby in goal.

Lucas Akins might have made it two, getting on the end of a Stephen McLaughlin cross to poke straight at the goalkeeper, before John Joe O’Toole blazed over an in-direct free kick from six yards.

The second half was minimal which suited the home side who controlled the majority of the game without any real trouble, late on, in stoppage time, Bowery played in Clarke after cutting in from the left wing, the Stags skipper tripped over inside the box for an obvious penalty which Bowery himself dispatched coolly, rolling home into the corner and sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

There was time for an even later twist, as former Notts County winger Alan Judge curled home a free kick from wide of goal, but too little too late for the away side who sit 20th in the table.

Mansfield Manager Nigel Clough said after “I thought the three points were brilliant as always. It shouldn’t have been as close in the end. In the first-half I thought we were outstanding and the only thing missing was another goal or two.”

“We could’ve easily had another two or three in the first-half, the quality of our play deserved that.”

On Rhys Oates magnificent goal, the man who used to be known as ‘number nine’ during a playing career that saw him dispatch over 150 himself, stated “I think about two or three of them tried to kick him and foul him, which is what we would’ve told our lads to do.

“He kept going and stuck it in from about 25-yards. A very special goal.

“When you’re that last man and he’s running at you, you know that if he pushes it past you and you bring him down, you’re off.

“He decided to take it early and it was a great strike.”

Stags now fifth next face a tricky trip to fourteenth spot Bristol Rovers on Saturday. The Gas losing their first league game in six against Oldham last night whilst Mansfield, well they haven’t lost in League Two since November.

Mansfield Town: Bishop, McLaughlin (Wallace 77), Hewitt, O’Toole, Hawkins, Maris (Bowery 82), Quinn, Oates (Rawson 88), Stirk, Akins, Murphy (Clarke 74).

Colchester United: Hornby, Chambers, Smith, Wiredu, Hannant (Hannant 46), Judge, Sears, Kenlock, Kennedy, Tchamadeu, Wright (Edwards 65).

Venue: Field Mill (4,815)

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc Rhys Oates unleashes a thunderbolt for the games opener.

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