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Match report: Stags 3-0 Tranmere Rovers

26 January 2019

Mansfield Town secured a superb 3-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers courtesy of goals from Jorge Grant and Tyler Walker at One Call Stadium.

The Stags entered the interval with a one-goal lead as Grant netted a brilliant free-kick to register his first goal in Mansfield colours.

He then doubled his tally for the club mid-way through the second half, just three minutes after Walker’s 19th goal of the season, to give the hosts breathing space.

David Flitcroft made only one change following his side’s remarkable comeback against Colchester United.

Hayden White, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a broken leg, was replaced by Matt Preston at the right side of the Stags’ back-three.

And it was the returning defender who was called into defensive duties first.

He intercepted James Norwood’s dangerous cross that would have otherwise found its way to Connor Jennings at the far post.

The Stags soon found their attacking rhythm, though, as CJ Hamilton looked to race away along the right flank.

Instead, the winger had to settle for a free-kick that was subsequently flicked wide by Preston in the Tranmere area.

Hamilton then found more space in a similar position, but his near-post cross was collected by Scott Davies.

The hosts continued their onslaught of the Rovers’ defence with intricate play. Grant delivered an inch-perfect ball at the end of a crisp move with no yellow shirts in position to capitalise.

But in the 22nd minute Grant took matters into his own hands.

After Walker had been upended just outside the 18-yard box, the 24-year-old assumed responsibility of the set-piece and curled home a delightful finish to put his side in the driving seat.

The visitors were then reduced to ten men after Ollie Banks received two cautions in the space of four minutes.

First for a foul on Grant, and then Mal Benning, referee Ben Toner had little choice in brandishing the red card.

The Stags showed no signs of letting their foot off the gas as they charged forward with purpose once more.

Walker was able to find the afternoon’s opening goalscorer in space, yet Grant could only angle the ball wide of Davies’ upright.

With minutes remaining in the first period, Rovers looked to exploit space that Mansfield had left unmanned.

Jake Caprice bombed forward with possession only to see his effort deflect against Neal Bishop.

There was a similar tempo on show at the outset of the second period as Mansfield sought after a two-goal cushion.

The trio of Walker, Grant and Nicky Ajose interchanged possession before the latter was unable to find the preceding two with his final ball.

Grant then fed Hamilton in-behind the Rovers defence on the hour mark; but a poor touch from the winger halted his progress any further.

The Stags pressure continued to mount and it told on 65 minutes.

Ajose’s initial effort stung the palms of Davies, only for the rebound to be calmly tucked home by Walker for his 19th goal of the season.

And just three minutes later Flitcroft’s side had their third with a moment of déjà vu.

It was Walker’s turn to strike a fierce attempt towards goal – that Davies was again unable to grasp – leaving Grant the easy task of slotting into a gaping goal for his brace.

The rain started to pour under the One Call Stadium floodlights but it in no way shape or form reflected the mood of the Mansfield faithful.

Momentarily, in the 75th minute, the Stags did have their fourth goal as Ryan Sweeney bundled the ball home, but it was instantaneously ruled out for offside.

Both Hamilton and substitute Otis Khan registered shots on target with little over ten minutes to play at One Call Stadium.

Ajose was seemingly hacked to the ground inside the opposition penalty area as the clock ticked into added time, but the referee saw otherwise.

Being a man light, Rovers struggled to threaten in the dying embers leaving the hosts to cruise to three more points. in SkyBet League Two.

Forest Green Rovers are the Stags’ next opponents as Flitcroft’s charges make the trip to The New Lawn this Tuesday evening.

STAGS XI: Smith (GK), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop (Atkinson 69’), Mellis, Sweeney, Walker (Khan 75’), Ajose, Hamilton, Grant.

SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Butcher, Law, A. Smith, Rose.

TRANMERE XI: Davies (GK), Buxton, Ridehalgh, McNulty © (Pringle 65’), Monthe, Norwood, Jennings, McCullough, Caprice, Perkins, Banks.

SUBS NOT USED: Pilling (GK), Harris, Mullin, Ellis, Smith, Gilmour.

REFEREE: Ben Toner.
ASSISTANTS: Richard Wild & Andrew Hendley.

ATTENDANCE: 4,885 (451 away).

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