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Match Reports

Match report: Stags 1-0 Forest Green Rovers

23 February 2019

Match Reports

Match report: Stags 1-0 Forest Green Rovers

23 February 2019

Tyler Walker’s second-half header ensured Mansfield Town return to winning ways as we overturned Forest Green Rovers 1-0 at One Call Stadium.

After a frantic first period in the Midlands that saw the sides go in level at the break, yet Mansfield returned for the second half with an extra spring in their step.

And it took 24 minutes for Walker to break the deadlock, and ultimately seal the three points, as he took advantage in a lapse in concentration to head home.

The goalscorer, however, was shown a straight red card in the final seconds to put a blemish on an otherwise perfect day for the Stags.

Mansfield boss David Flitcroft made just one alteration from defeat last time out as Will Tomlinson replaced Ben Turner.

The game began in sprightly fashion with both sides demonstrating an eagerness to take charge from the outset.

CJ Hamilton burst away down the left flank only to see his cross flicked away by Joseph Mills, before the visitors had their own delivery hooked clear by Krystian Pearce.

The quick-fire trend continued thereafter when a crisp move from Mansfield ended with Hamilton being effort being stopped by Lewis Ward.

The Stags’ skipper, Pearce, was then involved soon after but this time at the opposite end of the pitch as he prodded wide from a set-piece.

Forest Green responded once more via George Williams, however, Mal Benning was soon across to make a vital interception and retrieve possession for his side.

Jordan Smith was called into action for the first time on 11 minutes to smartly deny Junior Mondal’s effort creeping inside his near post.

There were hearts in Rovers’ mouths just shy of the half-hour mark when Hamilton’s low cross was only inches away from being turned into his own net by Gavin Gunning.

Instead, it skidded wide of Ward’s upright and the resulting corner was cleared after momentary confusion inside the 18-yard box.

Hamilton was soon free yet again down that left-hand side, yet his cross was wayward and allowed the visitors to regroup.

Mansfield were enduring the stronger spell following the frantic opening and Gethin Jones was next to try his luck.

Coming onto Hamilton’s reverse pass, the right wing-back could only drag his subsequent attempt wide of the mark.

Gunning then had his heart in his mouth once again – his left leg deflecting a Mal Benning effort from distance wide.

And Tyler Walker was then thwarted by the palm of Ward after a long-range drive had to be tipped over his crossbar.

Former Stags' midfielder, Paul Digby, was invited to shoot from range himself as the half drew to a close, but Smith got down smartly to keep his clean sheet intact.

And similarly to the closure of the first period Walker was again denied by Ward; this time as he lined up a shot inside the Rovers’ box.

Matt Preston had the plaudits of every fan inside One Call Stadium on the hour mark, when his decisive sliding block denied Williams a certain opener in front of the 171 travelling Nailers.

The game continued to ebb and flow with Tomlinson skewing an effort from range exactly a minute before Reece Brown tested Smith’s handling.

But it would not be long before the Stags found a way to break the deadlock.

On 69 minutes, Walker was able to capitalise on some hesitant goalkeeping by Ward, leap highest, and head home from close range give his side a deserved one-goal cushion.

Mansfield were soon on the attack once more with the game’s only goalscorer, Walker, but the striker was robbed of possession as he lined up a pass.

The Nailers were not without threat, though, epitomised when Christian Doidge rose highest from a corner to plant it wide of Smith’s far post.  

Mondal then missed another opportunity to restore party courtesy of a half volley that arrowed off-target.

Referee Matthew Donohue brandished a straight red to Walker in the final moments of the match for reasons unbeknown to everyone inside the One Call.

Nevertheless, Mansfield now have a week to prepare for their next Sky Bet League Two outing as they face Cheltenham Town at home.

STAGS XI: Smith (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce, Bishop, Mellis, Tomlinson (Turner 90+1’), Walker, Jones, Hamilton, Grant.

SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), MacDonald, Khan, Atkinson, Ajose, A. Smith. 

FOREST GREEN XI: Ward (GK), Collins © (Godwin-Malife 89’), Rawson, Winchester, Doidge, Brown, Williams, Gunning (McGinley 81’), Digby (McCoulsky 81’), Mills, Mondal. 

SUBS NOT USED: Montgomery (GK), James, Liddle, Reid. 

REFEREE: Matthew Donohue.

ASSISTANTS: Christopher Ward & Ian Smedley.


ATTENDANCE: 5,256 (171 away).

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