Report: Stags 1-4 Shakers
Mansfield Town slumped to defeat against Bury on a disappointing night at One Call Stadium.
The Shakers never looked back once Danny Mayor’s low strike had put them on course for victory midway through the first period.
Danny Nardeillo netted twice within the space of eight minutes either side of the hour mark, before the Stags got on the score-sheet as Sam Clucas bagged his 14th goal of the campaign.
However, Bury went straight down the other end and scored again through Jake Carroll, as they ran out comfortable winners and leapfrogged the Stags in the Sky Bet League Two table.
Bury created the first opening after just two minutes when Danny Mayor’s low pass released Craig Jones on the right flank, but his ball into the six-yard box was gathered by Alan Marriott.
The Stags’ first opening came shortly afterwards when Sam Clucas fended off a challenge from Jones deep on the left channel and crossed for Rhead at the back-post, whose header was easily saved by Brain Jensen.
Jones stayed down in the aftermath of Clucas’ cross and was forced to sport a head bandage for the rest of the evening, as he accidentally collided with the Stags’ talisman.
The Stags started to dominate territorially and bombarded the Shakers’ area with a series of crosses around the quarter-hour mark, but were unable to carve out any real clear-cut chances.
Bury’s game-plan seemed to be to try and stop Mansfield from generating momentum and, along with Jones, both Pablo Mills and Clive Platt required treatment from the physio early on.
Neither side managed an effort on target until the 25th minute when the visitors opened the scoring through Mayor.
The midfielder showed quick-feet to drift inside from the left channel, before he unleashed a low 20-yard strike that crept past Marriott at his left-hand post.
Mayor’s goal seemed to breathe fresh confidence into Bury, who looked sharp, composed and dangerous in the minutes immediately after the goal.
On the half-hour mark, Ritchie Sutton was perfectly stationed at the far-post to head over Jones’ hooked cross, despite Daniel Nardiello lurking dangerously just a few yards away.
The Stags registered their first shot on target moments later when Clucas struck a low drive into the body of Jensen from the edge of the area.
Anthony Howell was also denied by Jensen when he peeled off the shoulder of his marker to reach a long set-piece by John Dempster, but headed straight at the keeper.
There was a moment of great anxiety at the opposite end on 39 minutes as Nardiello turned Mayor’s deep right-wing ball goalwards, only for a full-stretch Marriott to tip the shot over.
Trailing 1-0 at the interval, the Stags immediately sought to get back on level terms after the re-start and created a chance within the first 15 seconds as Lee Stevenson drilled a shot over.
Mansfield went closer two minutes later when Mills brought down Rhead in a dangerous position on the edge of the area, but Clements couldn’t test Jensen with the subsequent set-piece.
The Shakers almost went 2-0 up on 54 minutes, as Mayor went to ground under Darryl Westlake’s challenge inside the area, and although his appeal for a spot-kick was waved away, the ball ricocheted towards Tutte who drew Marriott into a smart save.
Nevertheless, disaster struck for Mansfield just moments later as David Flitcroft’s team did double their lead.
Jones and Mayor combined inside the Stags’ area, before the latter drilled a ball across the face of goal, which was gratefully tucked away by Nardiello – via the post – from only a few yards.
The Stags were now left with a mountain to climb, but looked to have found an opening on the hour mark when Westlake and Stevenson exchanged passes and Stevenson raced away.
However, Mills drifted across to make a timely interception as he dispossessed the Stags’ midfielder, before hooking the ball downfield and away to safety.
In an attempt to change things, Rhead was replaced by Ollie Palmer on 63 minutes, but within seconds of his introduction matters went from bad to worse for Mansfield.
Jensen’s long punt downfield was well-read by Nardiello, who after a single glance towards goal, looked up and chipped the ball over a back-peddling Marriott from 20 yards.
Stags’ youngster Michael Cain replaced Clements in midfield with the quarter of the match remaining, shortly before the Stags reduced arrears out of nothing.
Colin Daniel’s deep cross from the left channel wasn’t dealt with by Jensen and the ball dropped kindly for Clucas at the back-post, who smashed the ball into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
However, within a minute of reducing the deficit, Bury went straight down the other end and increased the deficit.
Jones’ cross from the right flank was palmed away by Marriott straight into the path of Jake Carroll, who acrobatically hooked the ball into the ground – and subsequently the back of the net.
Palmer should have netted a consolation with four minutes left to play when Clucas’ flick from Westlake’s intricate chip put him clean through, but the striker blazed horribly wide.
Substitute Ben Hutchinson attempted a spectacular 35-yard half-volley just a minute later, but Jensen was well-positioned himself to make a comfortable save.
Attendance: 2,628 (220 away supporters).