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Match Reports

Report: Stags 9-2 Harrogate

13 February 2024

Match Reports

Report: Stags 9-2 Harrogate

13 February 2024

Magnificent Mansfield Town produced a devastating display of attacking football to sweep aside in-form Harrogate in a mesmerising contest at One Call Stadium.

The goal glut began on 13 minutes when Lucas Akins converted a penalty and Stags then never looked back as the floodgates opened.

Hiram Boateng bagged a hat-trick, while Akins and Will Swan both scored a brace. There were goals too for Tom Nichols and Davis Keillor-Dunn in a breathless night.

Stags led 5-0 at the break and there was no respite for stunned Harrogate in the second-half as Mansfield hit another four goals in a thrilling match which also saw the visitors score twice within the space of a minute.

It equalled a club record legaue victory set in 1932 when Stags beat Rotherham.

Defender Baily Cargill, midfielders Stephen Quinn and Hiram Boateng, along with forward Lucas Akins replaced George Williams, Ollie Clarke, George Maris and Will Swan in the starting XI following Saturday’s thumping 4-0 win at Forest Green Rovers.

The encounter began in frantic fashion and Stags registered the first noteworthy effort after three minutes.

Defender Aden Flint sprayed a delightful pass from right to left and Quinn leapt in the air to head cutely across to Davis Keillor-Dunn. But the forward’s low strike was comfortably claimed by Harrogate goalkeeper James Belshaw.

Mansfield’s intent was clear from the off and new forward Tom Nichols burst forward midway inside his own half to win a corner from which Boateng saw his low drive blocked in front of the goalline.

Moments later from another corner, Keillor-Dunn’s rifled effort was stopped en route to goal as Stags began to apply heavy pressure.

Nigel Clough’s men ignited the rout in the 12th minute when they were awarded a spot-kick as Baily Cargill was pulled down inside the box by Derrick Abu.

Akins stepped up to finish with aplomb, sending Belshaw the wrong way to break the deadlock.

Stags doubled their advantage on 20 minutes.

Boateng robbed Harrogate of possession 30 yards from goal before advancing forwards and unleashing a curling strike into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the box.

Stags were brimming with confidence, exemplified by Keillor-Dunn who hit a pot-shot over the bar from 20 yards as Harrogate struggled to break out of their own half.

Diminutive midfielder Louis Reed then clipped a glorious ball over the top for Akins who rifled off target moments before Stags netted a third on the half-hour mark.

Quinn picked out Keillor-Dunn and after squaring for Boateng, the midfielder fired beyond Belshaw from just inside the area to put Stags firmly in the box seat.

Quinn got in on the shooting parade on 33 minutes as his left-footed hit arrowed against the top of the woodwork.

And the Dubliner played a significant part in Stags’ fourth goal.

Bowery found Quinn inside the area and he laid it short to Nichols who lashed low through a crowd of bodies and into the bottom right hand corner from the left of the area.

Stags continued their merciless approach and knocked another past Harrogate to make it 5-0 after 38 minutes.

Boateng won the ball on the inside left channel to release Nichols, and his clever pass into space for Keillor-Dunn enabled the forward to strike low beyond Belshaw from ten yards.

Nichols fancied his chances again on 43 minutes, though this time Belshaw was well behind the 25-yard attempt as he dived to his left.

At the break, midfielder George Maris and frontman Will Swan were introduced for Louis Reed and Tom Nichols.

Mansfield continued to attack at will and Boateng claimed the matchball six minutes into the second-half.

Cargill’s cross-cum-shot on the left of the box cannoned back of the post and moments later Stags made it six.

Quinn sent it low into the box and Swan cutely left it for Boateng to hammer low into the net from inside the area.

Harrogate made a treble change and then pulled two goals back within the space of a minute.

Harrogate broke forward and skipper George Thomson applied the finish from 12 yards. Less than 60 seconds later, Abraham Odoh tapped home after substitute Josh March hit the post.

Stags were soon back on the scoresheet as the clock ticked by the hour.

Maris set Akins in the clear inside the box, and he did the rest to poke beyond Belshaw from eight yards via a deflection.

Stags made another two changes on 62 minutes as Flint and Quinn made way for Stephen McLaughlin and Aaron Lewis.

Harrogate also made a double change at the same break in play before Stags again aimed for the jugular.

Swan made it 8-2 with arguably the best goal of the night on 75 minutes.

The forward picked up the ball on the left of the box before curling a tremendous shot into the far corner.

It was 9-2 on 77 minutes and Swan again found the net.

Swan smashed home first-time from the centre of the box after a delightful low pass by Lewis on the right flank.

Two minutes later, George Williams took the place of Davis Keillor-Dunn.

Harrogate’s Jeremy Sivi launched a swerving strike against the bar late on for the visitors in their last attempt to salvage some pride.

And as the referee blew for full-time those inside One Call Stadium rose to their feet to applaud the players on equalling a record club victory.

STAGS: Pym, Bowery, Flint (McLaughlin 62), Brunt, Cargill, Reed (Maris H/T), Boateng, Quinn (Lewis 62), Keillor-Dunn (Williams 79), Akins, Nichols (Swan H/T)

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Clarke

HARROGATE: Belshaw, Abu (Sutton 53), Thomson, Cornelius, Odoh (Sivi 62), Daly, (Bloxham 62) O'Connor, Muldoon (Burrell 53), Dooley (March 53), Foulds, Gibson

UNUSED SUBS: Mitchell, Falkingham

REFEREE: Scott Oldham

ATTENDANCE: 6,437 (127 Harrogate fans)

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