Gillingham 1-1 Mansfield Town (EFL League Two) 30.09.23
Two of the top five sides clashed at the Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Gillingham played host to the undefeated Mansfield Town, Davis Keillor-Dunn rescuing a point for the visitors.
One of two sides still undefeated in League Two, the other being third place Swindon, the Stags actually fell behind inside two minutes after the hosts pounced on a loose back-pass between Lewis Brunt and Christy Pym.
Connor Mahoney capitalised on the loose ball and, keeping possession himself, lays off a low cross for Macauley Bonne, the former Colchester United, Leyton Orient, Charlton and Queens Park Rangers finishing neatly past Pym for his first goal for the club.
It could have been worse as well, the hosts creating several, further chances, as the half wore on, Gills captain Shaun Williams, and Bourne again, both passing up great opportunities to extend their advantage; Stags captain Aden Flint blocked Williams’ effort, and Pym pulled off an acrobatic save to deny Bonne.
The Stags though, they snatched an equaliser with less than teen minutes to play in the first period; a free-kick having been awarded, referee Jacob Miles allowing it to be taken quickly by Ollie Clarke who himself had been tripped midway inside the hosts half. Clarke’s quick-thinking released the darting run of Keillor-Dunn and the Scotsman who finished low past Jake Turner in the home goal.
It would see the visiting Stags go in level at the break and, during the second, both sides had a couple of chances in which to claim victory; Akins and Maris both registered missed opportunities for the Stags, Scott Malone and Bonne with similar for the Gills at the other end.
A former Stag, George Lapslie, was brought on for the hosts for the final half hour, and, although chances continued to be created, neither side could provide the vital, finishing touch; Aaron Lewis curling an effort wide with fifteen remaining, and Ashley Nadesan crashing one over from close-range in the final throes.
It was another point on the board for Nigel Clough’s unbeaten side in what is, currently, a rather tight top ten, five points separating early pace-setters Notts County, and tenth place Barrow, the Stags sitting fifth, just two adrift of the top two (Crawley level with County on 20 points apiece).
There’s three, consecutive home games now for Clough’s charges, before the derby with County in the middle of the month – first up, Wrexham visit on Tuesday (3 October) night, then Wimbledon visit the One Call Stadium (Sat. 7 October), before Doncaster make the short trip over a week on Tuesday in the EFL Trophy (10 October).
Stags: Christy Pym, Jordan Bowery, Aden Flint, Lewis Brunt, Calum Macdonald (Bailey Cargill 45), Louis Reed, Aaron Lewis, Ollie Clarke (Will Swan 80), George Maris, Davis Keillor-Dunn (James Gale 94), Lucas Akins.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc another point on the road for the Stags.