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Match Reports

Match report: Stags 3-1 Macclesfield Town

2 February 2019

Mansfield Town made it four wins from their last five matches as they overturned Macclesfield Town 3-1 at One Call Stadium.

Jorge Grant opened proceedings with his fourth goal in five appearances before Callum Evans found an equaliser three minutes from the interval.

This, however, would only prove to be a small blemish as Krystian Pearce and Tyler Walker joined in the goalscoring act to move out of sight in the second period.

David Flitcroft named both an unchanged starting lineup and bench as the Stags looked to extend their unbeaten run to five matches in Sky Bet League Two.

It was a lively opening in the Midlands as the hosts evidently had a keen eye set on breaking the deadlock with little time elapsed.

Walker looked to feed Nicky Ajose through the middle, although, he was unable to set himself for an effort at goal.

But there was no such hesitation from the latter in the eighth minute.

Ajose’s strike from a tight angle was palmed away by Kieran O’Hara, but only into the path of Grant who rolled home to give the Stags a deserved lead.

Flitcroft’s charges continued to pile on the pressure as Grant’s whipped delivery was marginally too high for Walker, who was lurking inside the Silkmen’s area.

The Mansfield frontman then angled a 20-yard effort clear of O’Hara’s bar.

Macclesfield threatened to equalise on several occasions leading up to the half-hour mark, yet their decision making in the final third continued to elude them.

Reece Cole then tried his luck from distance with a curling effort that Jordan Smith was able to hold against his mid-rift.

The home side responded by reapplying their pressure that was momentarily placed on hold.

Grant, from a similar position to the one against Tranmere, struck a free-kick against the stanchion before Walker watched his next effort deflect away from danger for a corner.

The subsequent passage of play amounted to nothing and with a corner of their own on 42 minutes, Sol Campbell’s side restored parity.

A near-post scramble eventually ended with Callum Evans rifling home the equaliser from 12 yards – opting for power over placement.

And moments later, the visitors almost snatched the lead.

Scott Wilson clattered Smith’s upright with a delicate strike that, luckily for the hosts, rebounded back into play rather than the net.

It was a nervy finish after what was otherwise a solid first-half performance from the Stags.

Mansfield pressed the Silkmen back into their own box from the restart as they looked to replicate the outset of the first period.

Hamilton’s attempt was well-blocked by a combination of black shirts to prevent the hosts retaking the lead within a minute of the restart.

Ajose then had a looping header held by O’Hara before Walker’s fizzed delivery into the middle evaded everyone.

The Yellows were undoubtedly on top but could have fallen victim to a lapse in concentration minutes later.

Wilson found himself one-on-one with Smith, however the on-loan ‘keeper stood tall and got a strong palm to the effort from Macclesfield number nine.

The save was then made even more crucial when Mansfield restored order in the 57th minute.

Stags’ skipper, Pearce, profited from a goalmouth scramble following a corner as he slammed home his first goal of the season from point-blank range.

Just past the hour mark, Walker forced another save from O’Hara – the shot-stopper tipping the effort over his crossbar.

Grant continued the onslaught as he clipped the side netting with a quick-witted strike from the edge of the area.

Flitcroft then introduced both Danny Rose and Gethin Jones into the fray; in place of Ajose and Hamilton respectively.

And Rose won a smart foul to give his side the chance of wrapping up proceedings.

Benning assumed responsibility of the set-piece, but O’Hara claimed well as it sailed towards the top corner.

However, Mansfield did kill off the afternoon’s affair courtesy of Walker on the stroke of added time.

Matt Preston’s header was fumbled by O’Hara as Walker was on hand to stab home the Stags’ third and his 20th of a profitable campaign thus far.

The visitors posed little threat heading into five minutes of stoppage time, allowing for Flitcroft’s men to secure their 15th victory in Sky Bet League Two.

Next on Mansfield’s calendar is an away trip to south Wales when they face Newport County at Rodney Parade.

STAGS XI: Smith (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, Mellis (Atkinson 89’), Sweeney, Walker, Ajose (Rose 72’), Hamilton (Jones 82’), Grant.

SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Khan, Law, Smith.

MACCLESFIELD XI: O’Hara (GK), Hodgkiss, Kelleher, Marsh (Biabi 68’), Wilson, Welch-Hayes, Evans (Lloyd 77’), Maycock (Ntambwe 56’), Rose, Cameron ©, Cole.

SUBS NOT USED: Idem (GK), Fitzpatrick, Jules, Mullings.

REFEREE: Michael Salisbury.
ASSISTANTS: Duncan Street & Geoffrey Liddle.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Anthony Moore.


ATTENDANCE: 5,642 (236 away).


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