Magnificent Mansfield Town produced an emphatic performance as they romped to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose.
The Stags, dominant throughout against the Silkmen, went ahead through Matt Green six minutes prior to half-time, before Lindon Meikle doubled the advantage after some fabulous work from Louis Briscoe on the right-flank.
Luke Jones added a third goal in the closing stages as Paul Cox’s side recorded an excellent three points that moves them up to seventh position in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.
Macclesfield frontman John Paul Kissock saw his deflected low drive comfortably gathered by Shane Redmond in the fourth minute, as the hosts started the game in the ascendency.
The Stags enjoyed their first chance when Adam Murray’s long ball down the left flank was superbly met by Green, who beat two defenders to cut inside, before he blazed over Lance Cronin’s goal from within the area.
Chris Holroyd slotted home after a delightful through ball from Kissock, only to see his celebrations cut short due to a raised offside flag as Macclesfield began to dictate the midfield battle.
The Silkmen again came close to an opener on 17 minutes, when Keiran Murtagh threaded a fine ball out wide to Charlie Henry, whose powerful shot was fortuitously gathered by Redmond, despite Holroyd lurking dangerously in the six-yard box.
Chris Clements curled an effort wide as the visitors began to enjoy more possession midway through the first period, whilst the midfielder saw a separate shot again drift wide of the post moments later after a right-wing cross from Briscoe.
Mansfield upped the ante as the first period progressed and started to force their mid-table opponents into a series of unforced errors.
Ryan Jackson’s sloppy pass was superbly intercepted by Green, who drifted goalwards and saw his stinging 25-yard drive parried wide by Cronin, before the Silkmen shot-stopper denied Luke Jones from Clements’ subsequent set-piece delivery.
Cronin looked far less convincing, however, when he almost fumbled Ben Hutchinson’s speculative low drive straight into the path of the onrushing Green, but managed to atone for his mis-judgement by clutching the ball into his grasp at the second attempt.
Clements then saw a low shot saved by Cronin on the half-hour mark, before Silkmen midfielder Sam Wedgbury let fly with a thunderous 30-yard attempt at the other end, which drew a fine save from a somewhat surprised Redmond.
Mansfield then grabbed the only goal of what was a largely tepid first half on 39 minutes, as Green capitalised on some pedestrian Macclesfield defending inside their own six-yard box, and rose highest to direct Clements’ pin-point left-sided corner into the net.
Nevertheless, the Silkmen finished with a flourish and tested Redmond on three occasions prior to the half-time interval.
The Stags shot-stopper showed expert reflexes as he re-adjusted his body in order to divert Henry’s scuffed 20-yard attempt over the woodwork, before he then got down well to save a low drive from Jackson in the first minute of added time.
Mansfield began the second period on the front foot and could have doubled their lead when Green advanced goalwards, only to be bizarrely flagged offside and distracted by the linesman, after he had intercepted yet another sloppy back-pass from Jackson.
Wedgbury then drilled a low effort harmlessly wide of the target in frustration on 56 minutes, only a few moments before Lindon Meikle warmed the hands of Cronin with a speculative half-volley and Clements blazed over from distance.
Macclesfield should have claimed an equaliser on the hour-mark when substitute Jack Mackreth floated a delightful cross into the six-yard box from deep on the right channel, which an unmarked Holroyd tamely headed straight at Redmond.
And Holdroyd’s gilt-edge miss from point-blank was to prove costly for the Silkmen as Mansfield doubled their advantage in their very next attack.
Green capitalised on a poor touch from Kieran Charnock and fed a simple pass to Briscoe deep on the inside-right, who skipped away his marker and arrowed a low ball across the face of the six-yard box, which Lindon Meikle emphatically slammed home.
Despondent and almost destroyed by the Stags’ superiority, the Silkmen offered little in the way of a response, with Murtagh and Wedgbury being restricted to long range attempts.
Redmond had to save well from Amari Morgan-Smith after a back-post corner reached the Silkmen attacker lurking dangerously in the dying stages, as Mansfield’s defence held firm against a wave of possession from the hosts.
Macclesfield’s misery was further enhanced four minutes from time when Jones rose highest inside the six-yard box to meet Clements’ delightful back-post and direct a terrific header goalwards, which was just far too powerful for Cronin.
Attendance: 1,272 (202 away supporters).