Stags Leave It Late For Victory

Mansfield Town 2-1 Colchester United (EFL League Two) 03.12.2022

Late goals have been tough pills to swallow for Mansfield Town this past week, but, on Saturday afternoon, with the visit of Colchester United, the Stags swung that pendulum with a late show of their own.

Cup defeats to Sheffield Wednesday (FA Cup) and Everton U21 (EFL Trophy), both by a 2-1 score, were done so with late goals, Michael Smith with a late brace for the Owls at Hillsborough, and stoppage time goals from Liam Higgins and Thomas Cannon for the Toffees at Goodison Park, were hard to take.

At home though, Nigel Clough’s side boosted their play-off hopes with a late win of their own and are one of seven sides split by four points, between Barrow in fourth, and Walsall in tenth, the Stags holding seventh, on thirty-three points.

Victory though, it saw the hosts come from behind to get it, Alex Newby opening the scoring for relegation-battling Colchester, after just ten minutes with a right-footed free-kick into Christy Pym’s bottom left corner, the goal coming after the hosts had seen an effort from Stephen McLaughlin saved by Kieran O’Hara in the visiting goal.

Following a handful of offside chances from the visitors, Hiram Boateng would see his effort, arrowing into the bottom corner from outside the box, saved well by O’Hara, whilst Colchester’s Luke Hannant would see his effort blocked, the hosts soon getting on level terms.

Elliott Hewitt would be seen to deliver a cross into the six-yard box for the onrushing Will Swan, he proceeding to head the ball into the top corner, out of O’Hara’s reach, for his seventh goal of the season; now in the ascendency, a couple of quick-fire chances fell the way of the Stags, as Swan, and George Lapslie, proceeding to see efforts blocked.

A further effort, this time from Rhys Oates, was blocked, as the game headed towards the interval with the two sides level at 1-1.

The usual back-and-forth began the second period, the Stags looking to maintain the momentum they had at the end of the first, chances soon beginning to flow, for both sides.

Boateng and Hewitt would see chances go begging following shots from outside the box, the first being saved well by O’Hara, the second, high and wide, whilst the visiting Daniel Chesters, when being played in by Alex Newby, saw his shot saved by Pym down low to the left.

Further chances continued to be missed by the hosts around the hour mark, Clough’s side hammering away at Colchester’s back-line but to no avail, the visitors slowly serving up a few, late chances of their own, Pym seeing a shot from an Emyr Huws flash wide of the upright.

Huws again had a chance as the game headed towards stoppage time, one which would have been a killer considering the luck served this past week, however, the set-piece concludes with the shot from the Colchester man going wide of goal.

Immediately before what proved the winner, late substitute, Lucas Akins, would see his shot saved by O’Hara in the middle of the goal however, moments later, and a cross from Stephen McLaughlin, was headed home by the Stags sub, in the 92 minute, the goal, it was the hundredth of his career.

Next up for the Stags, following a big three points against Colchester, is a trip to second place Stevenage Borough on Saturday (10 December) afternoon, Clough’s side very much looking to cut the ten-point gap between the two sides.

Mansfield Town: Christy Pym, Elliott Hewitt, Oliver Hawkins, Riley Harbottle, Stephen McLaughlin, George Maris, Hiram Boateng, Stephen Quinn (Ollie Clarke 80), George Lapslie, Will Swan (Lucas Akins 90), Rhys Oates.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc the Stags celebrate Lucas Akins late winner.

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