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Match Reports

Report: Stags 1-1 Port Vale

19 October 2021

George Lapslie earned Mansfield a point in a 1-1 draw with Port Vale at One Call Stadium, with Mansfield being much improved in comparison to recent performances.

A strong start from the hosts was stunted by Tom Conlon’s impressive 32nd minute free-kick goal. 

Stags fought back to deservedly equalise on 64 minutes after Oliver Hawkins’ penalty was saved at the end of the first-half.

Manager Nigel Clough made two changes to the side that were beaten by Northampton at the weekend. 

Returning from a six-match suspension, Stephen Quinn returned to Mansfield's midfield with Danny Johnson taking his place as a substitute. 

Fellow suspended Stag, Tyrese Sinclair, returned to Mansfield's bench alongside James Clarke. Striker Rhys Oates replaced the right-back in Mansfield's starting XI. 

Former Stag Mal Benning started for Vale on his return to One Call Stadium. 

Stags began on the attack when Harry Charsley wriggled into space inside the box to send a deflected effort wide on two minutes. Hawkins struck the subsequent corner delivery on the full-volley which Vale stopper Lucas Covolan was able to claim comfortably. 

Charsley found Jordan Bowery lurking at the far post after 15 minutes but the tall forward’s downward header found the side netting of the Vale goal. 

Quinn found Bowery again in front of goal five minutes later but the forward’s glanced header was swiftly dealt with. 

Vale striker James Wilson nodded Benning’s free-kick delivery narrowly wide before Mansfield advanced down the other end seconds later. Rhys Oates latched onto a long ball forward to hold off his defender and glance the top of the crossbar from an effort inside the box after 25 minutes. 

Elliott Hewitt brought down George Lloyd on the half-hour mark to set up an edge-of-the-box Vale free-kick and receive a booking. Tom Conlon’s left-footed shot found the top right corner with power and precision to give the visitors the lead in the 32nd minute, against the run of play. 

McLaughlin played Quinn through on 38 minutes who tested Covolan’s fingertips to win a corner from a tight angle as Stags reacted well to going behind. 

Mansfield again saw a key opportunity pass them by five minutes before the break. Quinn’s forward ball played in Oates who was then tripped inside the box by Dan Jones alluding to referee Will Finnie pointing to the spot. Hawkins’ penalty was driven to the left side of the goal and met by a strong Covolan arm to let his defender off the hook. 

Stags ended the first-half with 60% possession and will have been disappointed to go into the break behind after a spirited display in the opening 45. 

Hawkins wasted no time in testing the ‘keeper after half-time. The forward’s long-range snapshot forced Covolan into action just 40 seconds into the second period to no avail. 

Hewitt created an opening for Mansfield on 58 minutes but Covolan’s save denied the waiting Oates from close-range before Clarke’s rebound effort was blocked. 

Mansfield continued to threaten the Vale defence and soon found their equaliser. Bowery wriggled into space on the left wing to play a grounded cross into the arriving Lapslie on 64th minutes. The midfielder met it first time, guiding the ball beyond Covolan who was left flat-footed. 

Full of confidence, Stags attacked from the restart and Quinn’s volley from a tight angle bounced wide of the Vale goal just a minute later. 

A trip on the edge-of-the-box in the 80th minute presented Conlon with the opportunity to double his tally in similar fashion. This time the midfielder’s left-footed effort was curled onto the crossbar near the right corner. 

A late push from the Stags couldn’t forge a clear-cut opportunity as Nigel Clough’s men were forced to settle with a draw and a much improved performance. 

Next up for Mansfield is a long trip to face Exeter City on Saturday.

STAGS XI: Bishop, McLaughlin, Hewitt (J. Clarke 59’), Rawson, Charsley, O. Clarke, Bowery, Hawkins, Quinn (Sinclair 89’), Oates (Johnson 77’), Lapslie 

UNUSED SUBS: Shelvey, Burke, Ward, Law 

PORT VALE XI: Covolan, Jones, Smith, Worrall, Garrity, Wilson (Rodney 57’), Conlon, Benning (Gibbons 77’), Martin, Lloyd (Politic 57’), Pett  

UNUSED SUBS: Stone, Taylor, Amoo, Amos 

REFEREE: Will Finnie 

ATTENDANCE: 4,203 (733) 


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