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Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-4 Stags

13 April 2024

Match Reports

Report: MK Dons 1-4 Stags

13 April 2024

Mansfield Town’s hopes of a top three finish were strengthened after Stags sensationally came from behind to beat promotion rivals MK Dons 4-1 in Buckinghamshire.

Nigel Clough’s side now need just one win from the remaining three matches to seal promotion to League One, which could come as early as Tuesday night when Accrington are the visitors to One Call Stadium.

Max Dean put MK ahead but Elliott Hewitt equalised and Davis Keillor-Dunn hit the double to put Stags in the driving seat. And in stoppage time James Gale smashed home a stoppage-time fourth to secure a famous win.

Five changes were made to the lineup as Stephen McLaughlin, Stephen Quinn, George Maris, Davis Keillor-Dunn and Tom Nichols made way for Elliott Hewitt, George Williams, Aaron Lewis, Ollie Clarke and Will Swan.

Stags started brightly but it was MK Dons who registered the game’s first shot in the seventh minute when Max Dean turned smartly against Aden Flint, but his 25-yard hit sailed high and wide.

And it was the hosts who took the upper hand after 13 minutes.

Centre-half Jordan Bowery was dispossessed midway inside his own half, allowing Dean to roam forward before planting a lovely left-footed finish into the top corner from just inside the box.

In the following exchanges, neither side was able to create a noteworthy opportunity, however, MK were happy to keep possession.

In the 27th minute, Stags’ forward Will Swan was given the game’s first yellow card for hauling down Kyran Lofthouse who looked to break forward.

The game was revived as Mansfield equalised on the half-hour mark.

Hiram Boateng did well to keep the ball in play on the goalline and cut back to the advancing Elliott Hewitt, who prodded home from close range to restore parity.

Stags’ midfielder Ollie Clarke was booked for delaying the restart of play before the same man rattled the bar in the 38th minute with a crashing left-footed effort followed by a sliding Boateng knocking wide the rebounding ball as Mansfield upped the ante.

At the break, Nigel Clough made his first change as Davis Keillor-Dunn replaced Will Swan in attack.

And the substitution paid immediate dividends as Keillor-Dunn fired Mansfield in front on 51 minutes.

MK Dons failed to clear a throw-in from the left and following an almighty scramble, Boateng and Keillor-Dunn both had efforts – with the latter hitting the post – before he made no mistake with his final attempt from close range.

At the other end, Lewis Bate flashed a dangerous cross beyond the goal area for the hosts.

Stags made a double change as Ollie Clarke and Elliott Hewitt were replaced by Tom Nichols and George Maris on 59 minutes.

Ten minutes later, goalkeeper Christy Pym was called upon to make a routine save to his left by claiming Max Dean’s low strike before Stephen Wearne struck wide from a similar distance on 71 minutes.

The hosts were threatening to probe and substitute Ellis Harrison skewed off target from a promising position inside the box.

Mansfield made another change as Stephen McLaughlin entered the fray for George Williams.

On 85 minutes, Dan Kemp lashed a 30 yard free kick into the heavens and before the restarted goal kick James Gale replaced Boateng.

Stags then sealed the game by blowing MK away with a quick-fire double.

In the 90th minute, Gale slipped a fine pass to the advancing Keillor-Dunn, who steadied himself to smash home from the edge of the box.

And in the second minute of stoppage time, Gale again sent the Stags’ supporters into pandemonium by powering home a 25-yard belter into the back of the net after being setup by Keillor-Dunn.

At full-time, there were memorable scenes as the Stags’ players and management went across to celebrate a monumental victory with the 3,653 travelling Stags’ supporters.

MK DONS: Kelly, Lewington (Harrison 70), Tucker, O’Hora, Gilbey, Payne (Kemp 79), Dean, Harvie, Wearne, Lofthouse, Bate
UNUSED SUBS: Marschall, Norman, Williams, Robson, Tezgel

STAGS: Pym, Williams (McLaughlin 73), Flint, Hewitt (Maris 59), Bowery, Reed, Lewis, Clarke (Nichols 59), Boateng (Gale 86), Akins, Swan (Keillor-Dunn HT)

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Quinn
REFEREE: Benjamin Speedie

ATTENDANCE: 11,212 (3,653 Stags’ fans)

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