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Match Reports

Match report: Stags 2-0 Forest Green Rovers

12 August 2017

Mansfield Town recorded their first victory of the 2017/18 Sky Bet League Two campaign with an excellent 2-0 win over Forest Green Rovers at One Call Stadium this afternoon.

Two goals in the space of six second half minutes ensured the Stags kick-started their campaign with a victory in their opening home league match of the season in front of a buoyant home crowd.

Frontman Danny Rose climbed highest to head home winger Will Atkinson's right-wing cross to give Stags the lead, before winger Paul Anderson opened his Stags' account by rolling the ball into the back of the net after his initial shot was saved.

Manager Steve Evans made two changes from the side which drew to Crewe last week, with centre-half Krystian Pearce replacing David Mirfin – who missed out following a precautionary note on a knock picked up in midweek – whilst Paul Digby replaced Jacob Mellis in central midfield, who dropped to the bench.

Stags had the first opportunity of the game 90 seconds in when frontman Lee Angol got in front of Rovers' right-back Dale Bennett and was brought down 30 yards from goal, but the resulting free-kick came to nothing.

Just four minutes in and Angol created himself a golden opportunity for the Stags to take the lead.

He dispossessed centre-half Lee Collins 35 yards out and carried the ball to the edge of the box, where he saw his left-footed shot blocked by the face of Rovers' 'keeper Bradley Collins.

After the opening flurry of the first five minutes, the game began to settle down after a ferocious start.

The ball was in the net for the first time just after the 15-minute mark. A long diagonal ball over the top of the Stags' back line was chested down and volleyed home by Forest Green striker Christian Doidge, only for the assistant referee to rule it out for offside.

The visitors had another chance shortly after when a free-kick from halfway looped high towards the back left corner of the penalty area to be met by a flying Scott Laird but his header went comfortably wide of the mark.

There were very few chances as the game passed the halfway stage of the first half with Stags winning only the second corner of the game just before the half-hour mark.

The out-swinging corner from the left-hand side was met by midfielder Paul Digby 10 yards out, who headed into the ground before it bounced up at Collins who had to make a sensational double stop to keep the Stags at bay and the scores level.

Stags' fans were getting increasingly frustrated with the amount of time taken by the visiting players to restart the game after every dead ball, despite referee Carl Boyeson doing his best to hurry along proceedings. Eventually, with eight minutes to go in the half, Boyeson had enough and booked Rovers' keeper Bradley Collins for delaying the game from a goal kick.

As the half ticked into the final five minutes, it was all Mansfield as they pegged Forest Green into their defensive third of the field, controlling possession and finding space for time on the ball.

Stags almost found themselves behind just before half-time when goalkeeper Conrad Logan grasped at the ball at the first attempt, almost allowing Christian Doidge to open the scoring but with his back to goal he couldn't control the ball and turn quickly enough, before Logan claimed the ball back from his feet.

Stags had the first opportunity of the second half when Digby curled a ball in from the right-hand side which Danny Rose was able to beat his defender to, but his flick on with the outside of his boot went wide of the far post.

The deadlock was broken in the 51st minute, however, when Danny Rose climbed above his defender at the back post from a cross from winger Will Atkinson and his header flew out of the reach of Bradley Collins to give Stags the lead.

With the crowd and a goal behind them, Mansfield were in the driving seat, charging forward immediately down the left-hand side and winning their third corner of the game just seconds after the restart.

The confidence in the players and in the crowd was electric around the ground and the advantage was almost doubled moments later after a moment of brilliance from Danny Rose.

His mazy run resulted in a goalmouth scramble from the original shot and the crowd anxiously waited until they saw the ball trickle the wrong side of the right-hand post.

Stags' lead was then doubled in the 56th minute when winger Paul Anderson found himself in acres of space of the left-hand side and he drove into the penalty area and attempted to slot a right-footed effort under Bradley Collins, who saved the initial effort but could do nothing about the rebound and Anderson made no mistake, placing the ball into the open net.

On the hour mark, manager Steve Evans made his first substitution of the afternoon when he brought striker Omari Sterling-James on for Lee Angol.

Stags then received their first yellow card of the afternoon when left-back Mal Benning went into the notebook for a late challenge in the centre circle.

As Forest Green began to get desperate to find a way back into the game, the challenges began to get rash and sloppy with Drissa Traore becoming the next player to have his name taken for a high challenge.

Stags were very nearly three goals to the good 20 minutes into the second half when Anderson tried to convert a cross from a very tight angle, but didn't quite get a fine enough touch on the ball and it hit the side-netting.

Opening scorer Danny Rose made way for Jimmy Spencer with 20 minutes of the game still to play, with the Stags still pressing forward and looking to further increase their lead.

Their lead would have been increased through Spencer moments later had the flag on the near side not been raised for an agonisingly close offside call which denied Spencer the golden start to his afternoon.

With just over 10 minutes of the game to play, Logan had still not been properly tested in the Stags' goal and Mansfield continued to push forward with Paul Digby firing a shot towards goal from 25 yards but the Rovers' 'keeper dealt with it accordingly.

With only eight minutes remaining, the visitors won their first corner of the afternoon and with players of both sides playing head tennis in and around the six-yard box, Stags eventually thumped the ball clear and away from danger.

The game entered the last five minutes of normal time, Stags made their final substitution with Alfie Potter replacing Will Atkinson.

The referee determined that five minutes would be added on and Rovers' centre-half Manny Monthe became yet another visiting player to have his name taken after he pulled back and bundled over Potter as he charged towards the penalty area from the right-hand side.

The free kick was taken short and play went to the corner rather than going into the box, and as a result it came to nothing as the visitors regained possession and cleared away.

Stags saw out the remaining few minutes to record an excellent victory in their opening home league game of the season.

STAGS' XI: Logan, White, Pearce, Diamond, Benning, Byrom, Digby, Anderson, Atkinson (Potter 88'), Angol (Sterling-James 59'), Rose (Spencer 69')

SUBS NOT USED: Olejnik, Bennett, Mellis, Hamilton

FOREST GREEN ROVERS XI: Collins, Bennett, Laird (Wishart 81'), Traore (James 63'), Collins, Monthe, Noble (c), Doidge, Brown (Mullings 54'), Cooper, Fitzwater

SUBS NOT USED: Russell, Marsh-Brown, Bugiel, Evans

REFEREE: Carl Boyeson

ATTENDANCE: 3,826 (147 Away)

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