Stags Thump Harrogate For Four

Harrogate Town 1-4 Mansfield Town (EFL League Two) 24.10.23

And the unbeaten run continues as Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town turned up the heat in Harrogate on Tuesday night to register consecutive, 4-1 successes and stretch their run to nineteen matches.

Not for the first time in recent seasons did the Stags put on an attacking performance of the highest calibre and, but for the home shot-stopper Mark Oxley, it could have easily been many more.

Even before the opening goal, which arrived just eight minutes in, the Stags could have led as Louis Reed, George Maris and Lucas Akins both had chances to score, setting the tone for what was to come for the shell-shocked hosts.

It was in-fact Mansfield that opened the scoring after just eight minutes when the two defenders combined to score; a corner from George Maris was headed back across goal by Aden Flint, and Lewis Brunt is on-hand inside the area to steer a right-footed effort into the bottom corner for his first goal in Stags colours.

After the opener, the home goal became pretty much a shooting gallery as Louis Reed, saw an effort saved, Davis Keillor-Dunn tried his luck, as did Ollie Clarke, Jordan Bowery, Maris, and three attempts from Lucas Akins – it was that intense.

Harrogate occasionally found their way forward with Jack Muldoon and Kayne Ramsay both seeing chances blocked, before the other end took another assault, this time Keillor-Dunn have three opportunities on goal, Flint, Akins and Reed also trying their luck.

All this in the opening half hour or so as Oxley’s goal led very much a charmed life; soon enough the cracks opened, and Akins was on-hand not once, but twice, in a matter of minutes, taking his tally to send for the season with a quick-fire brace.

The first came after Keillor-Dunn and Akins efforts were ping-ponged in the home penalty box, the ball eventually falling to Akins who wasted little time in firing into the bottom corner; two minutes later and the Stags hitman had his second, and their third of the night when another effort from Keillor-Dunn, forever a nuisance, is deflected into the path of Akins and he stabs the ball home from close range.

Going in three down at the break awoke the shell-shocked hosts a little and they came out with some intent from the restart; both Matt Daly and Abraham Odoh creating early hope with the latter pulling an easy save from visiting ‘keeper Christy Pym at his back post.

Keillor-Dunn then fired a great effort wide as the visiting Stags continued to hunt for more goals and, although Sam Folarin, and another from Odoh, gave the hosts glimmers of hope, the final twenty minutes was just as frenetic as what had gone before.

Akins missed two great chances to claim a hat-trick, the first of which was saved by Oxley with the ball arrowing for the top corner, then came the killer fourth and again Keillor-Dunn was involved, he bursting through the out-of-sorts home defence before squaring to Maris, and he fired a left-footed effort, first time, into the bottom corner.

A plethora of changes were made by the hosts as the game moved through the final, fifteen minutes, Clough giving minutes to that of James Gale, Callum Johnson, Hiram Boateng, George Williams and Will Swan.

The hosts did manage to notch a late consolation when, with ten minutes left on the clock Levi Sutton shot past Pym from outside the box, but it was just that, a consolation, the Stags continuing their relentless peppering of Oxley’s goal as even the substitutes tried their luck in the closing stages.

Four goals to one was where it finished, the Stags sitting in fourth place in EFL League Two, six points behind leaders Stockport County, and with a game in hand – they also boast the only unbeaten record in the land as they stretched that unbeaten run to nineteen games.

Eighteen of those (eight wins, ten draws) have come since the start of the current campaign, scoring thirty-three goals along the way, with mid-table Walsall at home next, on Saturday 28 October, followed by the Carabao Cup fourth round clash, at home to Port Vale, on Halloween (31 October, KO 19:45) by the end of which that run could well stand at twenty games….

Mansfield Town: Christy Pym, Jordan Bowery, Aden Flint, Lewis Brunt, Calum Macdonald (Callum Johnson, 75), Aaron Lewis (Hiram Boateng, 75), Louis Reed, George Maris (James Gale, 74), Ollie Clarke (George Williams, 79), Lucas Akins, Davis Keillor-Dunn (Will Swan, 79).

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc celebrations after a convincing display for Mansfield.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *