Stags Stay Top With Win

Newport County 0-1 Mansfield Town (EFL League Two) 02.03.24

Nigel Clough’s charges continued their march in the upper echelons of Sky Bet League Two after Mansfield Town ground out another win, away to fellow promotion-chasers Newport County, on Saturday afternoon.

The only goal of the game at Rodney Parade came five minutes into the second half, via George Maris’ ninth of the season, which not only gave the Stags a 1-0 win but also sees them open a three-point advantage on the joint-second paring of Stockport County and Wrexham (fourth place Crew Alexandra are five behind the leaders).

Both sides had headed chances inside the opening twenty minutes, Maris heading over following a cross from Stags’ top-scorer Davis Keillor-Dunn after a couple of minutes, whilst Evans nodded wide for the hosts as the game ticked towards the twenty minute mark, the two feeling each other out.

The home shot-stopper, Townsend, wasn’t troubled too much in the first, and of those he did have at him, he gathered the attempts on his goal well as the two sides went in goalless at the break; even the opening throes of the second saw another headed effort go wanting, this time Hiram Boateng heading wide a George Williams cross.

The only goal of the game arrived shortly after when, within five minutes of the restart, the Stags led after a bursting attack would see Baily Cargill deliver a telling, low cross, and Maris was on-hand to steer home number nine, past Townsend, from close.

Maris, then Cargill, both had efforts in quick succession, shortly after the opener, but to no avail, the former curling wide of goal, and the latter, seeing yet another headed effort, thwarted by Townsend in the home goal.

A series of substitution followed for the Stags, Clough changing things up as the game moved through the final half hour, the closing stages seeing Cargill’s driven effort palmed away by Townsend, then, in stoppage time, the home ‘keeper came out to claim a pass from Stephen Quinn ahead of Stags sub, Aaron Lewis.

Townsend’ efforts between the sticks for the hosts firmly keeping his side not only in the game, but with a chance of getting something from it, the Stags however holding out for all three points which sees them out in front atop of the division, with a dozen to go.

Prior to the game the Stags boss was quoted as saying of his sides efforts thus far this season: “All these things, being second top scorers, having the best defensive record, if we have got those and don’t achieve our aim at the end of the season, it will be worthless really.

“We have done nothing so far apart from being top after two thirds of the season.”

Looking ahead for Clough and his Stags, it’s now a case of back-to-back home games when they play host to fifth place MK Dons on Tuesday 5 March (KO 19:45), followed by the visit of Swindon Town, currently in seventeenth, on Saturday 9 March, they looking to build on their current form of five wins in their last six outings.

Stags: Christy Pym, George Williams, Aden Flint, Lewis Brunt, Baily Cargill, Ollie Clarke (Jordan Bowery, 61), Louis Reed, Hiram Boateng (Stephen Quinn, 61), George Maris (Aaron Lewis, 71), Tom Nichols (Lucas Akins, 61), Davis Keillor-Dunn (Stephen McLaughlin, 84).

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc George Maris celebrates scoring for Mansfield.

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