Notts County 1-4 Mansfield Town (EFL League Two) 14.10.2023
Notts bragging rights belong to Nigel Clough and Mansfield Town after a second-half goal-blitz afforded the Stags a 4-1, ‘Nottinghamshire Derby’ day victory at Meadow Lane, against Luke Williams’ now second place side, Notts County.
Victory for the Stags, who were a goal down in the opening minutes, coupled with results elsewhere later on in the afternoon in EFL League Two, saw them move joint-third, on goal-difference, and a point behind their hosts.
A crowd of some 16,638 turned out at Meadow Lane for what was enthralling game of football, the highest at the crowd since the hosts’ play-off defeat to Coventry City in 2018, coincidentally by the same score, although it didn’t look that was early on.
William’s County side had led the way at the top of the table, and scored plenty of goals to boot, prior to this derby, and it would be they who led as early as the third minute after some good play down the right led to Dan Crowley’s not being dealt with and eventually crossed Christy Pym’s goal-line.
The game, it continued to open up from that moment on, Stags’ playmaker, and leading scorer, Davis Keillor-Dunn cut in from the left and smashed an effort off Sam Slocombe’s upright midway through the half, before the home shot-stopper required treatment after a collision with Lucas Akins.
Dan McGoldrick’s back post cross was cleared by the head of Calum Macdonald when under pressure from the advancing Aaron Nemane, then back up the other end, Slocombe found himself stranded and relying on his defenders, John Bostock and Aden Baldwin, to clear impending danger.
Immediately before the equaliser County could have been two goals ahead, Connell Rawlinson releasing the ever-dangerous Macauley Langstaff, but his effort curled wide of Pym’s goal, then the Stags levelled; Bostock would be seen to lose the ball and, after Akins and Maris combined in the area, released Louis Reed who slotted home past Slocombe, from ten yards.
Ollie Clarke would then see his effort take a couple of deflections before going wide, and Rawlinson, a thorn on the flank, made another darting run into Stags territory before seeing Crowley’s eventual shot cleared off the line, the two sides going in level at ones-apiece at the interval.
With both sides easing in the second period, Slocombe was called into action on the hour to save an effort at the second time of asking, from Maris, following a low cross into the box from Clarke; less than ten minutes later and Nemane fired an effort into Pym’s side-netting after great work by McGoldrick through the middle of the park, each side seeking that all-important second goal.
Then came the final twenty minutes of the game, and Mansfield stepping up through the gears, a Keillor-Dunn corner was headed by Baily Cargill for 2-1, then, just five minutes later, another corner from Keillor-Dunn met the head of Akins, his effort crashing against Slocombe’s upright, the ball falling to Aden Flint who smashed home his first Stags goal from close-range.
Again having missed a chance immediately before, the Stags added a fourth to their haul with eight minutes remaining, and again Keillor-Dunn was involved; he turned the County players inside out in the box before releasing Akins, the Stags striker slotting past Slocombe at the County back post and putting the seal on a 4-1 win, and with it extend that, unbeaten start to the season.
Standing at impressive, seventeen matches (won seven, drawn ten), the Stags have now netted 29 goals in all competitions and will welcome next weekend’s visitors, second bottom Forest Green Rovers, to the One Call Stadium brimming with confidence; County meanwhile, and having endured what is their third league defeat of the season, will dust themselves down and go again next week when they face a tough trip to seventh place Gillingham.
Notts County – Sam Slocombe, Richard Brindley, Aden Baldwin, Connell Rawlinson, Aaron Nemane, John Bostock (Jim O’Brien, 57), Sam Austin (Tobi Adebayo-Rowling), Daniel Crowley, Dan McGoldrick, Macauley Langstaff
Mansfield Town – Christy Pym, Jordan Bowery, Aden Flint, Baily Cargill, Calum Macdonald, Louis Reed, Aaron Lewis (George Williams, 90), Ollie Clarke (Callum Johnson, 90), George Maris (Hiram Boateng, 78), Lucas Akins (Will Swan, 83), Davis Keillor-Dunn (James Gale (83).
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc unbeaten Stags upset the league leaders to close the promotion race gap.