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Match Reports

Report: Stags 2-1 Accrington

16 April 2024

Match Reports

Report: Stags 2-1 Accrington

16 April 2024

Mansfield Town magnificently secured promotion to League One for the first time in over two decades with a scintillating 2-1 home victory over Accrington Stanley.

George Maris heroically opened the scoring after just two minutes when his effort from wide out deflected in off Tommy Leigh.

Veteran midfielder Stephen Quinn importantly doubled Stags’ lead on 63 minutes before Tommy Leigh clinched a late consolation for the visitors.

Nigel Clough made five changes to the side that emphatically beat MK Dons 4-1 on Saturday.

George Williams, Elliott Hewitt, Ollie Clarke, Aaron Lewis and Will Swan were replaced by Stephen McLaughlin, George Maris, Stephen Quinn, Davis Keillor-Dunn and Tom Nichols in the starting XI.

Buoyed by a raucous atmosphere inside One Call Stadium, Mansfield dramatically snatched the lead inside two minutes, further igniting their lively backing. 

A quickly-taken Maris corner was returned to him by the nearby Stephen Quinn, allowing the number-10 to blast the ball goalwards with his in-step, deflecting off defender Tommy Leigh on its way into the Accrington goal.

Three minutes later, Maris had Stags on the front foot again, attempting to dink the ball over Accrington stopper Radek Vitek from 40-yards out, only to float the ball over the crossbar.

Mansfield refused to let-up and carved Accrington open yet again on ten minutes.

Keillor-Dunn’s delicate ball in behind the midfield line picked out Hiram Boateng, whose curled effort just inside the box was excellently tipped around the post by Vitek.

Despite the hosts’ dominant opening, Accrington reminded Stags of their threat on 21 minutes. 

A lofted ball into the Mansfield box worked its way to Shaun Whalley, who guided a cushioned header into the assured gloves of Christy Pym from seven yards out.

Mansfield brought a calm to proceedings via a period of well-kept possession.

That was until Lucas Akins superbly picked out Maris’ back-post run with a whipped cross from the right on 32 minutes. Agonisingly though, the stretching Mansfield number-10 could only fire his effort wide, having made a good contact from close range.

The hosts began the second period as they had ended the first, in search of a second goal.

Keillor-Dunn threatened to claim just that as he stung the palms of Vitek from outside the box on 50 minutes. Sixty seconds later, the same man whipped a tempting 20-yard effort just over the crossbar with his weaker left foot.

Thirteen minutes later though, the One Call’s roof really came off as Quinn blasted in Stags’ second. Clever play from Keillor-Dunn on the left set the Irishman in on goal, whose initial close-range effort was well saved by Vitek. That didn’t matter though as Quinn scrambled fastest to the loose rebound to turn it home and spark pandemonium in the stands.

Having managed the play composedly, Mansfield were dealt a late scare when Leigh’s deflected volley deceived Pym to get one back for Accrington on 85 minutes.

That didn’t matter though, as the referee’s whistle soon rung out for full-time, sparking scenes of elation and euphoria.

STAGS: Pym, Akins (Hewitt 84’), Flint ©️, Bowery, McLaughlin, Reed, Maris (Gale 74’), Quinn (Clarke 67’), Boateng (Lewis 67’), Keillor-Dunn (Swan 74’), Nichols.

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Williams.

STANLEY XI: Vitek, O’Brien, Hills, Gubbins, Shipley, Conneely, Coyle, Nolan, Lowe (J Woods 57’), Whalley (Pritchard 57’), Leigh.

UNUSED SUBS: Savin, Martin, Quirk, Henderson, B Woods.

REFEREE: Charles Breakspear

ATTENDANCE: 7.942 (61 Stanley fans)

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