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Match Reports

Report: Walsall 3-1 Stags

11 September 2021

A difficult afternoon meant an impressive horde of travelling Stags’ fans saw their side beaten by Walsall at Banks’s Stadium.

Young forward George Miller scored in both halves for the Saddlers, his first goals of the season since joining on loan from Barnsley. 

Ash Taylor added to Mansfield’s problems by converting a header in the 22nd minute. 

Stags’ striker Danny Johnson netted a consolation goal in the 84th minute having been introduced as a substitute. 

Nigel Clough made two enforced changes to the side that faced Harrogate last Saturday, following Ollie Clarke and Stephen Quinn's dismissals. 

On loan midfielder Ryan Stirk and youngster Tyrese Sinclair replaced the sanctioned pair. 

Last week's goalscorer Rhys Oates retained his place as part of a Mansfield front three.

Sinclair threatened a perfect start for Stags, meeting a loose ball on the full inside 90 seconds to skid the ball wide from an acute angle. 

A long ball forward caught Mansfield unaware in the sixth minute. Elliott Hewitt failed to deal with Miller’s run in behind before the forward converted the chance by firing low into the left corner. 

Oates attempted to rule out the early lead a minute later, finding space to shoot on the right before Carl Rushworth turned the forward’s effort around the post.  

Brendan Kiernan’s through ball was met in spectacular fashion by Miller after a quarter of an hour. The striker’s volley looped over Bishop to clip the underside of the crossbar. 

The following rebound effort was spilled by the Stags’ stopper before Richard Nartey reacted swiftly to shepherd the ball and deny Kiernan from poking home at close-range. 

Moments later the Stags attacked down the right to find Oli Hawkins in front of goal, whose power header was tipped over well by Rushworth. 

Walsall doubled their lead in the 22nd minute. An in-swinging Jack Earing corner was headed past Bishop by defender Taylor from inside the six-yard box. 

Following a challenging start Mansfield tightened up in defence to nullify Walsall’s threat in the period after the goal to keep them out for the remainder of the first half. 

That was thanks to some sharp reactions from Bishop who reacted well to deny Kiernan from close-range in the second minute of added time. The midfielder had beaten the offside trap to latch onto a lofted forward pass before the on-loan Manchester United stopper gloved the ball over to safety. 

The boss made two half-time changes. Farrend Rawson replaced Hewitt in central defence and Danny Johnson replaced Oates in attack. 

Walsall found their third in the 48th minute, again through Miller. The striker out-paced Nartey to stride through one-on-one and beat Bishop with a curled finish. 

Jordan Bowery was soon introduced for George Maris as the Stags looked to spark an unlikely comeback. 

Earing searched for a fourth Walsall goal on 70 minutes, firing narrowly over from just outside the box. 

Bishop denied Miller his hat-trick a minute later by making a strong fingertip save at his near post. 

George Lapslie’s volley outside the box troubled Rushworth who had to stretch to parry the ball past the post with eight minutes to play. 

Mansfield’s late building of pressure reduced the deficit in the 84th minute. Stirk’s cross was allowed to drop inside the Walsall box which was latched onto by Johnson and dispatched into the roof of the net. 

However, the striker’s late effort couldn’t prevent defeat for Mansfield at Banks’s Stadium. 

Next up for the Stags is a home match against Rochdale in Sky Bet League Two next weekend.

STAGS XI: Bishop, Gordon, Hewitt (Rawson 46’), Nartey, McLaughlin, Maris (Bowery 62’), Stirk, Lapslie, Oates (Johnson 46’), Hawkins, Sinclair 

UNUSED SUBS: Shelvey, Charsley, Burke, Law 

WALSALL XI: Rushworth, White, Ward, Taylor, Monthe, Kiernan, Kinsella, Miller, Phillips (Perry 90’), Earing, Shade (Osadebe 71’) 

UNUSUED SUBS: Rose, Bates, Leak, Willis, Mills 

REFEREE: David Rock 

ASSISTANTS: Paul Stonier & Daniel Bonneywell 

FOURTH OFFICIAL: Ian Smedley 

ATTENDANCE: 5,203 (1,008)


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