Super Stags destroy Barrow
Magnificent Mansfield Town equalled their joint-biggest home win in their 116-year history, with an emphatic victory over woeful Barrow at One Call Stadium.
From the outset, the scintilating Stags produced a breathtaking display of aggressive, attack-minded football, and showed no mercy whatsoever to their counterparts.
Matt Green bagged a hat-trick, which included two penalties, whilst mercurial midfielder Lee Stevenson netted a brace and scooped the ‘Man of the Match’ award.
Skipper Adam Murray also netted for the third game in succession, Anthony Howell headed his fourth goal of the campaign, and the impressive Junior Daniel was also on the scoresheet.
With unadulterated venom flowing through their veins, Mansfield came close to a first-minute opener when John Dempster’s powerful header was superbly palmed over by Shaun Pearson.
Striker Green then came within inches of finding the net, as he headed wide from point-blank range following Junior Daniel’s excellent left-sided cross.
Barrow, who could have climbed out of the relegation zone with three points, had little answer to Mansfield’s dominance and eventually fell behind on eight minutes.
Green’s intelligent flick in the centre found Stevenson in empty space, and the midfielder took a touch before unleashing a sumptuous 30-yard thunderbolt that flew into the corner.
Nevertheless, after surviving a tidal wave of possession from their dominant counterparts, Barrow managed to draw level completely against the run of play on 17 minutes.
Dempster’s needless tug on Danny L. Rowe inside the area was spotted by referee Rob Whitton, which allowed the Bluebirds striker to tuck his low effort underneath Alan Marriott.
And buoyed by their undeserved equaliser, the Bluebirds soon squandered two gilt-edge chances in quick succession.
Marriott used his legs to block Adam Boyes’ effort after the strike was left unmarked, before Danny M. Rowe whistled into the side-netting from the rebound.
Magnificent Mansfield then ruthlessly punished Barrow to devastating effect as they bagged an incredible four goals prior to the half-time interval.
Matt Flynn brought Luke Jones to the floor inside the area and from the resulting spot-kick Green nonchalantly fired into the bottom right-hand corner; the opposite direction to which Shaun Pearson dived.
Skipper Murray was then instrumental as Mansfield’s third goal arrived on the half-hour mark.
His expert turn in the centre, and subsequent ball over the top, found an accelerating Daniel, who managed to hold off his mark and steer a right-footed drive into the bottom corner.
With the One Call Stadium crowd in full voice, Paul Cox’s side dramatically struck again just two minutes later in a delightful counter-attacking move of free-flowing football.
Stevenson collected possession on the left flank when play was waved on following Flynn’s wreckless foul on Daniel, and played a delightful inside-pass to an unmarked Green.
The Stags talisman retained his composure as he breathed down on goal, and lofted an exquisite ball over the advancing Bluebirds custodian to register his second goal of the afternoon.
Winger Louis Briscoe had his vicious left-footed strike palmed over as Mansfield were utterly relentless in their dominance, before Murray’s effort from the resulting set-piece was blocked on the line by Tom Eckersley.
Stevenson and Briscoe both spurned close-range chances to extend the advantage even further, but only two minutes prior to the interval another goal was forthcoming.
Under Green’s challenge at the near-post, the luckless Shaun Pearson failed to keep a firm grip of James Jennings’ right-sided corner, which left Murray with the easiest of finishes.
Magnificent Mansfield continued their ruthless goal pursuit after the interval, and it needed just six minutes for the fabulous Green to complete his hat-trick.
Barrow skipper Mike Pearson was judged to have fouled Jones, and as a result, Green’s slammed a thunderous spot-kick into the top right-hand corner, which gave the keeper no chance.
On an afternoon that was already destined to go down in Stags folklore, the tremendous Daniel scuffed a low effort goalwards on the hour-mark after a quiet period of play.
Nevertheless, merciless Mansfield continued to torturously torment Barrow with their swashbuckling football, and soon added more despair for the already-suffering Bluebirds.
Substitute Matt Rhead, who had replaced hat-trick hero Green only moments earlier, squeezed a delightful ball through to Stevenson and the midfielder made no mistake with his left-footed finish.
Just when it seemed Barrow’s misery could be enhanced no further, midfielder Anthony Howell capitalised on a defensive mix-up and cushioned a beautiful header over a static Shaun Pearson.
Having already equalled their club record winning margin for a league encounter, the hosts attacked with vigor and venom but could not add any more goals to their tally.
Briscoe whistled a cleanly-struck effort over the woodwork, whilst Rhead came within inches of a ninth goal, as his point-blank header from a Jennings’ corner was saved by a full-stretch keeper.
Attendance: 2,226 (82 away supporters).