Stags Endure Opening Day Defeat

Salford City 2-0 Mansfield Town (EFL League Two) 30.07.22

How many times does a fabulous pre-season of promise end with opening day of the league campaign defeat? Mansfield Town played nothing near how they did in recent weeks during the warm-up games for the 2022/23 League Two season proper which started Saturday, at Salford, with a crashing bang.

Stags Manager Nigel Clough stated after “We played more long balls in the opening twenty minutes” at the Peninsular Stadium than the club have done through the entire pre-season, Mansfield not good enough, Salford who are predicted to be amongst runners and riders come May, certainly smelt blood on their visitors.

The Ammies were ahead in just five minutes when Thomas-Asante Brandon out-muscled Stephen McLaughlin to send Callum Hendry through on goal to place left footed past Christy Pym.

Mansfield did fight back, Boateng, one of the few positives to come out of the day in Greater Manchester, sending Will Swan racing down the right before the Forest loanee crossed into Rhys Oates who’s toe on the whipped delivery was too heavy and over the bar.

On 28 minutes however, things got worse for Mansfield who went two behind, Maris bundled off the ball in midfield by McAleny, he sent Brandon through who calmly did the rest.

Ahead of half time, Elliot Watt did his best help Mansfield reduce the deficit, he ran into danger with his back to goal which allowed Will Swan through, the Stags man failing to round the keeper could only pull back to Boateng who’s low shot was wide, clearing a number of defenders stood on the line.

Another mistake by Salford in the second half led to Rhys Oates shooting at goal with Tom King diving to his right to palm away, late on McLaughlin then whipped in dangerously a cross which Oates could only stab at the goalkeeper who did well to claim the ball.

At the other end Pym had to get down low to his left to save a curling effort from McAleny, the goalkeeper on loan from Peterborough saving the Stags blushes from further embarrassment, on a day to forget for Nigel Clough’s men.

After the match, Manager Clough stated that he’s ready to get back on the training pitch and immediately put things right, commenting “First of all we analyse the game. We pointed out a couple of things after the match which is always good. We’ll sit down by watching the video and say ‘the last three or four weeks we’ve done this, today we didn’t do it. Why not?'”

Mansfield have a week to recover and prepare for their next match at home to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday, where Stags fans will hope to see improvement at Field Mill.

Salford City: King, Touray, Lowe, Watt, Watson, Hendry (Leak 87), Asante, McAleny, Nartey, Shephard (Bolton 79), Vassell.

Mansfield Town: Pym, Akins, O’Toole (Gordon 80), Harbottle (Gale 89), McLaughlin, Bowery, Boateng, Maris (Hewitt 61’), Quinn (Clarke 90), Oates, Swan (Lapslie 61).

Venue: Peninsular Stadium (2,721)

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc a bad opening day at the office for Mansfield well beaten at Salford.

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