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Match Reports

Report: Stags 5-2 Wimbledon

16 August 2022

Mansfield Town staged a remarkable fightback as Nigel Clough's men came from behind to beat Wimbledon 5-2 in a thrilling encounter at One Call Stadium.

Stags were 2-0 down after just 16 minutes, but sparked a memorable revival as goals from Rhys Oates, George Lapslie, George Maris, Riley Harbottle and substitute Will Swan completed an incredible comeback.

Wimbledon were in the driving seat when Josh Davison bagged a brace, but Stags refused to surrender.

The Londoners made life difficult for themselves when Chris Gunter was sent off for violent conduct, and Mansfield took full advantage of their numerical deficiency with a merciless display.

Largely due to injuries, five changes were made to the side which were narrowly beaten on Saturday at Leyton Orient.

James Perch, Ollie Clarke and George Lapslie were handed their first league starts of the season while George Lapslie and Jordan Bowery also came into the starting XI.

Kellan Gordon, Elliott Hewitt, Anthony Hartigan, Hiram Boateng and Will Swan made way.
 
The visitors struck first blood after just three minutes played.
 
Nathan Young-Coombes broke forward to slide in Josh Davison who – from the right hand side of the penalty area – drove low between Christy Pym's legs and into the net.
 
Four minutes later, Rhys Oates slotted the ball home after good work by Lapslie, but his joy was cut short by the sight of a linesman's flag. 
 
Stags upped the ante and Clarke struck wide from 25 yards after being fed by Maris. 
 
Mansfield though were rocked when Wimbledon doubled their lead in the 16th minute with only their second attack of the match.
 
Young-Coombes found too much space on the right-hand side and crossed for Davison to nod home from six yards.
 
On 28 minutes, George Marsh received the game's first yellow card after upending Stephen Quinn to win Stags' a free kick,  but Stephen McLaughlin's delivery was too deep and Wimbledon 'keeper Nik Tzanev went untested.
 
Tzanev was soon picking the ball from the back of his net as Mansfield were given a foothold back in the encounter.
 
Stags won a penalty in the 31st minute when Clarke found Lapslie inside the box, only to be clipped by Jack Currie, who received a yellow card.
 
And Oates made no mistake from 12 yards by sending the 'keeper the wrong way with a cool low finish into the bottom left-hand corner.
 
Oates may have drawn Stags level when Bowery drilled in from the touchline but last season's top goalscorer couldn’t find the target from close range, under pressure from the Dons' defence.
 
Mansfield now had the wind in their sails and Clarke saw a long range effort fly wide with 36 minutes played. 
 
Stags' endeavours paid dividends four minutes later.
 
Bowery, growing in confidence at right wing-back, crossed superbly for Lapslie to head beyond Tzanev inside the goal area to draw the contest level.
 
The drama continued in the last minute of normal time when Wimbledon were reduced to ten men.
 
The Dons had won a free kick when Quinn upended Chris Gunter, but after an off-the-ball altercation, Gunter appeared to raise his hands at Quinn and saw red.
 
It was a backs-to-the-wall approach from the Londoners in the second period and Nigel Clough's men, attacking the Quarry Lane End, soon camped themselves inside the Dons' half of the pitch.
 
And their pressure paid off in the 56th minute as Stags took the lead for the first time.
 
Clarke squared to Maris inside the box, whose deflected shot trickled off the inside of the post to cue pandemonium in the home ends.
 
Anthony Hartigan replaced Stephen Quinn in midfield with 62 minutes played.
Just minutes after climbing off the bench, the ex-Dons' player sent a scintillating long ball to Lapslie, who fired straight at Tzanrev from an acute angle.
 
Stags wrapped up the contest in the 70th minute following a pin-point George Maris' corner.
 
And Harbottle – who had scored from a flag kick earlier in the season against Tranmere - powered home a header from close range to extend the advantage.
 
Kellan Gordon then came on for McLaughlin in the 71st minute before a treble change was made.
 
Ollie Clarke, Jordan Bowery and Rhys Oates were replaced by Elliott Hewitt, Kieran Wallace, and Will Swan with 12 minutes of normal time remaining.

Gordon let one fly just off target with Stags' confidence now hitting new heights.
 
As Mansfield looked to add to their goal tally, Lapslie smashed a pot shot into the Quarry Lane End.
 
The ex-Charlton midfielder turned architect in the 87th minute when he pounced inside the box to feed Swan at the far post who applied a simple finish to complete a magnificent fightback.

STAGS: Pym, Perch, O'Toole, Harbottle, McLaughlin (Gordon 71'), Clarke (Wallace 78'), Maris, Quinn (Hartigan 62'), Lapslie, Oates (Swan 78'), Bowery (Hewitt 78')
 
UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Gale
 
AFC WIMBLEDON: Tzanev, Gunter, Brown, Nightingale, Marsh, Young-Coombes (Ogundere 46'), Davison (Bartley 83'), Assal (Chislett 89'), Pearce (Kalambayi 83'), Maghoma, Currie (Fisher 62')
 
UNUSED SUBS: Broome, Bendle 
 
REFEREE: Benjamin Speedie
 
ATTENDANCE: 5,709 (194 Wimbledon supporters)

 


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