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Match Reports

Report: Stags 4-1 Doncaster

28 January 2023

Merciless Mansfield Town did the double over Doncaster as the biggest crowd of the season were treated to a stunning 4-1 win at One Call Stadium.

Nigel Clough’s men had beaten Rovers 3-1 earlier in the campaign and again showed a lethal touch in front of goal in the reverse fixture.

Full debutant Alfie Kilgour, forward Lucas Akins, super sub Will Swan and an own goal did the damage in an impressive victory for Mansfield.

Goalkeeper Scott Flinders made his first league start, replacing the injured Christy Pym, while new signings Alfie Kilgour and Louis Reed were handed debuts.

Lucas Akins returned to the lineup following an ankle injury.

And as part of four changes, George Maris (suspended), Kieran Wallace and Jordan Bowery made way.

Stags made an electrifying start and burst in front just 25 seconds after kick-off.

Akins started the move by brilliantly winning the ball on halfway. Reed and Johnson also had touches before centre-half Elliott Hewitt drifted a superb ball into the box. And Quinn fired goalwards from close range which took a deflection off Rovers’ captain Tom Anderson and into the net.

Stags were forced into an early change when left wing-back Stephen McLaughlin was withdrawn after seven minutes, with Kieran Wallace taking his place in a like-for-like swap.

Two minutes later, Doncaster’s James Maxwell skipped beyond the Stags’ defence to earn the game’s first corner, from which Flinders punched strongly away on his goal line.

Rovers attempted to get back into the contest and midfielder Charlie Seaman should have done better when he blazed off target from 15 yards.

On 25 minutes, Doncaster goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell came to the rescue to prevent the visitors from going further behind.

Strong hold up play from Akins enabled Reed to have two shots blocked, with Oates and Kilgour also seeing efforts denied. And then as it fell to Akins on the left of the box his drive was denied by the head of the Rovers’ goalkeeper who raced out to spread himself superbly.

But the Rovers’ shot-stopper could do little about Stags’ next strike.

After two poor clearances inside the box, Rovers sent the ball into the grateful path of Alfie Kilgour who launched a right-footed rocket into the back of the net from just inside the area.

In a rare breach of the Stags’ defence, Rovers looked set to score in the closing stages of the first half.

Seaman found space on the right, latching on to a left-sided cross, and as he pulled the trigger Reed heroically flung himself in front of a certain goalbound effort.

In the first of seven minutes added on at the end of the half – largely due to players requiring treatment – Hiram Boateng was replaced by Ollie Clarke, who received a yellow card for a foul just 10 seconds after being introduced.

In the final seconds of stoppage time, Anderson prevented a Stags attack, slicing down Quinn, and may have felt relieved to see only a yellow card brandished.

Doncaster made a double change at the interval with Caolan Lavery and James Brown thrown in the fray for Seaman and Luke Molyneux.

Rovers came out all guns blazing in the second-half and Flinders was needed for the first time as he routinely claimed a low cross by Lavery from the right flank.

Lavery then aimed for goal on 53, but Perch hurled himself in front of the shot to block.

But Mansfield were undone a minute later when Ro-Shaun Williams fed Kyle Hurst in the box, who darted in between the defensive gap before picking his spot with a cool finish.

Soon after, Mansfield’s Louis Reed was booked for a foul before James Brown rifled a 40-yard pot shot over the bar.

Stags restored their two-goal advantage on the hour with a lovely finish from Akins.

The forward, who had tormented the Rovers’ defence all afternoon, latched on to a route one ball from Scott Flinders before expertly lobbing the ball over the advancing Mitchell and into the net.

On 64, Flinders got down well to his right to claim an ambitious curling free-kick from Harrison Biggins.

Stags hunted for another and Clarke let fly from the edge of the box only to see his left-footed effort deflected behind for a corner.

At the other end, Lavery was poised to strike inside the area, but Stags’ left wing-back Kieran Wallace made a superb last-ditch challenge.

Flinders pulled off a terrific stop with 10 minutes left.

Stags were looking for an offside flag which never came as Lavery raced through to square for Miller, who saw his shot denied at point blank range and then inexplicably missed the follow up.

On 83 minutes, Mansfield made a double substitution as Will Swan and Jordan Bowery came on for Oates and Wallace.

And it didn’t take long for Swan to scribe his name onto the scoresheet as he made certain of the win three minutes later.

The Nottingham Forest loanee raced away from the Rovers’ defence after being put in the clear by Akins’ halfway line pass. And Swan did the rest with a composed low finish into the bottom corner to again send the home fans into raptures.

STAGS: Flinders, C. Johnson, Hewitt, Kilgour, Perch, McLaughlin (Wallace 7, Bowery 83), Reed, Boateng (Clarke 45+1), Quinn, Akins, Oates (Swan 83)

UNUSED SUBS: Mason, Harbottle, D.Johnson.

DONCASTER: Mitchell, Seaman (Lavery H/T), Maxwell, Anderson, Nelson, Williams (Miller 87), Close (Lakin 76), Biggins, Molyneux (Brown H/T), Hurst, Miller

UNUSED SUBS: Jones, Olowu, Barlow

REFEREE: Thomas Parsons

ATTENDANCE: 8,116 (1,628)

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