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Match Reports

Report: Forest Green 0-4 Stags

10 February 2024

Match Reports

Report: Forest Green 0-4 Stags

10 February 2024

Mansfield Town cruised to a well-earned 4-0 win at Forest Green Rovers as Ollie Clarke scored a brace and forwards Tom Nichols and Will Swan also weighed in with goals at The New Lawn.

Clarke aimed his bullet-like strike into the bottom corner in the first-half to set Stags on their way.

And despite Forest Green rallying with a period of pressure towards the end of the first-half, Stags’ quality proved too much and they put the game out of sight within nine minutes of the second-half as Tom Nichols netted his first goal for the club and fellow forward Will Swan also found the net. Clarke put the cherry on the cake with a fine stoppage-time finish from the edge of the box.

Two changes were made from the side which beat Notts County 1-0 last Saturday.

Jordan Bowery returned to the lineup following suspension and Nichols – a January signing from Gillingham – made his first Stags’ start.

Defender Baily Cargill – on his old stomping ground – recovered from illness to make the subs’ bench and frontman Lucas Akins was also amongst the substitutes.

And Nichols almost set up an opening goal for Will Swan inside the third minute when he slipped it forward for his strike partner, who rifled wide from just inside
the box.
The hosts registered their first shot at goal three minutes later when Emmanuel Osadebe’s well-hit effort from 16 yards was superbly blocked by George Williams to spin behind for a corner.

Stags were soon attacking back up the other end and Rovers’ goalkeeper Luke Daniels was sent scrambling across his line as George Maris’ whipped free-kick was inadvertently headed towards his own goal by a Rovers’ defender, forcing Daniels to race across and push behind.

Mansfield then took the advantage after 11 minutes thanks to a sizzling low strike by midfielder Ollie Clarke.

From the right touchline, Louis Reed delivered a well-weighted hanging cross to the back post where Aden Flint headed back to Clarke. And the 31-year-old completed the move with a rasping low 20-yard strike which arrowed beyond Daniels at his near post.

Midway through the first-half, Rovers’ striker Matty Stevens struck wide with the aid of a deflection following neat link-up play outside the Stags’ box.
The home side came closer to a leveller two minutes later when Fankaty Dabo’s dangerous inviting cross into the box was consummately turned behind by a stooping Flint from just outside the goal area.

Forest Green were applying sustained pressure but Stags defended well to hold out until the break.

Mansfield almost doubled their lead a minute after the restart.

Nichols played a fine throughball for the advancing Swan who cut back inside the near the goalline to find Maris, whose right-footed attempt flew over from the edge of the area.

Swan opted to go alone on 49 minutes, again showing fine footwork before striking at goal, but Daniels was equal to it with a smart low stop.

Stags were building momentum, though at the other end goalkeeper Christy Pym had to be alert to claim Kyle McAllister’s snapshot volley.

On the stroke of the hour, Ollie Clarke pounced on a short back-pass but Daniels raced to the deck to thwart the midfielder. And as it came out to Swan he too was denied by Daniels who got down to push aside his low drive.

It was Daniels’ last slice of action as he was subsequently stretchered off after hurting himself while making the save.

Pym again had to be on his guard to keep out a rasping hit from Osadebe and within the blink of an eye, Stags wrapped it up at the other end.

Swan held it well in the corner to pull back for Nichols, who took a touch before firing expertly into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the box.

On 73 minutes, Davis Keillor-Dunn made way for Stephen Quinn and Nichols came off for Akins.

Stags dealt another blow on 78 minutes by adding a third goal.

Clarke leapt superbly to flick it down the line for the onrushing Akins. And his low assist from the right was pinpoint for Swan who slammed home from ten yards.

Manager Nigel Clough made a treble change on 81 minutes as Swan, Williams and Maris left the field for Aaron Lewis, Stephen McLaughlin and Hiram Boateng.

One of McLaughlin’s first tasks was to take aim at goal and he saw his swerving effort fly narrowly off target.

Boateng had an even better chance on 85 minutes when he lashed over from 12 yards after great work by Akins on the right flank.

Pym preserved Stags’ clean sheet with a point-blank save from close range and Mansfield then embarked on another deadly attack.

In the eighth minute of stoppage time, Akins again showed tenacity and guile to hold it up and find Clarke. And he bagged his second goal by curling delightfully into the top left corner from the edge of the box.

FOREST GREEN: Daniels (Searle 64), Inniss, Keogh, Robson, Dabo (Jones 73), Osadebe, McCann, Thompson (Bernard 73), McAllister, Stevens (Omotoye 84), Doidge

UNUSED SUBS: Bunker, Oyedele, Brown

STAGS: Pym, Williams (McLaughlin 81), Flint, Brunt, Bowery, Reed, Maris (Boateng 81), Clarke, Keillor-Dunn (Quinn 73), Swan (Lewis 80), Nichols (Akins 73)

UNUSED SUBS:Flinders, Cargill

REFEREE: Sunny Singh Gill

ATTENDANCE: 2,240 (604 Stags’ fans)

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