Magical Mansfield Hit Top Spot

Mansfield Town 5-1 Salford City (EFL League Two) 24.02.24

Albeit on goal-difference, the Sky Bet EFL League Two has new leaders in the shape of Mansfield Town following another, goal-scoring masterclass, at the One Call Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Hosting sixth-bottom Salford City, who themselves came into the game unbeaten in their previous eight outings, the visitors had no answer for the attack-minded Stags who, with five goals here, made it twenty goals scored throughout February.

Both of the Stags’ front two netted, as did their top scorer, as Nigel Clough’s charges ran riot; Will Swan would be first to find the back of the net, he opening the scoring inside twenty minutes when he got on the end of a cross from Aaron Lewis to flick a headed effort past the despairing dive of visiting shot-stopper, Alex Cairns.

The visitors had chances of their own, Junior Luamba being denied by Christy Pym minutes after the opener, but Pym couldn’t stop the same from equalising late in the first half, the Salford man beating several Stags players down the flank, cutting inside, and putting away a low effort at Pym’s near post.

With the contest looking like it was heading in level at the break, the hosts regained the lead with a second deep in stoppage time; a corner from Davis Keillor-Dunn was met by Baily Cargill at the far post, who fired the ball past Cairns.

A dozen minutes after the restart and the Stags upped the tempo when adding their third of the afternoon, this time Keillor-Dunn got his goal, his seventeenth of a productive season thus far – Lewis sent Stephen Quinn clear and, as Cairns came rushing out to meet him, he played the ball to the Stags’ leading scorer to put into an empty net.

The action continued, not that the visitors were happy when, as the game ticked into the final twenty minutes, Theo Vassell found himself the recipient of a straight red card from referee Craig Hicks, after he brought down Lucas Akins, and the Stags took advantage.

It would be Akins that would add the fourth for the high-flying hosts when, with nine minutes remaining, latched onto a ball from Lewis Brunt and fired low past Cairns for his twelfth of the season before, and as with the end of the first, deep into stoppage time, the hosts bagged another.

Clough had made several changes as the game moved into the final ten minutes, bringing on George Maris, Ollie Clarke and Hiram Boateng, and it would be the latter of those who’d wrap up the scoring, collecting a pass from Louis Reed to finish first-time, putting the seal on a 5-1 win.

It was to be victory that would see the Stags move top of the division, on goal-difference, from Stockport County (+38 to +29) after County were held to a goalless draw at home to Swindon, a result which them winless in their last four outings.

Next up for the Stags, it’s a trip to sixteenth place Newport County on Saturday 2 March, before back-to-back home games against MK Dons and Swindon Town, Clough’s side hoping to now put down a firm marker in the race for promotion, and, who knows, maybe the League Two title with it.

Stags: Christy Pym, George Williams, Aden Flint, Lewis Brunt, Baily Cargill (Jordan Bowery, 69), Aaron Lewis (Ollie Clarke, 83), Louis Reed, Stephen Quinn (Hiram Boateng, 83), Davis Keillor-Dunn (George Maris, 82), Will Swan (Tom Nichols, 69), Lucas Akins.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc that winning feeling continues for five star stags.

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