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Match Reports

Report: Stags 2-1 Gillingham

20 April 2024

Match Reports

Report: Stags 2-1 Gillingham

20 April 2024

A pair of incredible strikes from Davis Keillor-Dunn and Stephen McLaughlin sealed yet another home victory for promoted Mansfield Town over Gillingham.

The visitors had opened the scoring in the early stages of the contest at One Call Stadium before Keillor-Dunn and McLaughlin struck in the second-half to seal a deserved 2-1 win for the hosts.

Mansfield will play once more, an away trip to Barrow, before preparing for life in the third division of English football for the first time in 21 years.

Nigel Clough made two changes to the side that beat Accrington Stanley to gain promotion to Sky Bet League One on Tuesday.

Stephen Quinn and Davis Keillor-Dunn were replaced by Aaron Lewis and James Gale in the side to face Gillingham.

The visitors crafted the game’s first opportunity inside the opening minute as Remeao Hutton’s floated cross from the right was nodded just over the Stags’ crossbar by Tim Dieng.

A period of unsettled possession ensued for both sides until Gillingham opened the scoring on 19 minutes. Having worked his way into the box from the left wing, Dieng opened up his body to beat Christy Pym from a tight angle and set the Gills ahead.

Mansfield immediately went in search of an equaliser and almost carved the visitors open on 24 minutes when James Gale’s inviting driven ball from the right had seemingly deceived Conor Masterson, before the Gills’ defender was able to deflect the ball narrowly around the post to safety.

Stags worked a way into the Gillingham box again fifteen minutes later via a well-picked cross from Stephen McLaughlin. The full-back’s delivery found the feet of Tom Nichols who, with his back to goal, acrobatically flicked the ball wide of the bottom corner.

The hosts began the second-half brightly and were in again on 48 minutes thanks to a counter-attack led by Gale. The forward squared the ball to Nichols on the edge of the box, who teed up Maris, but the midfielder’s miscued effort was calmly gathered by Jake Turner in the Gillingham net.

Top goalscorer Davis Keillor-Dunn was introduced to the action just before the effort and almost made an instant impact by curling a whipped attempt narrowly around the post from inside the box.

Fellow substitute Stephen Quinn was the next to pick out Keillor-Dunn in a promising position. The Irishman’s excellent delivery from the left was perfectly met by the forward’s near-post run before his close-range effort was impressively turned behind by Turner.

That didn’t discourage the lively forward who eye-catchingly netted Mansfield’s equaliser on 77 minutes. Having latched onto a knock-down by Nichols, Mansfield’s number-44 unleashed a powerful strike from 20 yards to leave Turner beaten.

However, Keillor-Dunn’s incredible strike was quickly trumped by a McLaughlin wonder goal just three minutes later to snatch the lead for the hosts.

The left-back received the ball on the left, just outside the box, and thumped the ball into the top right corner of Turner’s goal, kissing the underside of the crossbar on its way into the back of the net.

The hosts came agonisingly close to adding a third deep inside additional time. Nichols received a ball over the top of the Gillingham defence to work it to Quinn via a contribution from Ollie Clarke. One-on-one with the goalkeeper and just inside the box, Quinn tried to slide the ball under Turner but the stopper recovered to make yet another strong save.

The win means already-promoted Mansfield head to Barrow second in Sky Bet League Two with just one match remaining in the 2023/24 season.

STAGS: Pym, Akins, Flint ©️, Bowery, McLaughlin (Cooper 90+2’), Reed, Maris (Keillor-Dunn 65’), Lewis (Clarke 65’), Boateng (Quinn 65’), Nichols, Gale (MacDonald 85’).

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Flanagan.

GILLINGHAM: Turner, Hutton, Ehmer, Masterson, Clark (Malone 76’), Dieng, Coleman, Mahoney (Walker 70’), Jefferies (Ogie 70’), Williams (McKenzie 59’), Andrews (Hawkins 76’).

UNUSED SUBS: Morris, Clarke.

REFEREE: Sam Purkiss

ATTENDANCE: 8,150 (519 Gillingham supporters)

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