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Match Reports

Report: Stags 5-1 Salford

24 February 2024

Match Reports

Report: Stags 5-1 Salford

24 February 2024

Mansfield Town surged to the summit of Sky Bet League Two with a resounding 5-1 win at home to Salford in a highly-entertaining encounter at One Call Stadium.

Stags led 2-1 at the break thanks to goals from Will Swan and Baily Cargill while Davis Keillor-Dunn, Lucas Akins and Hiram Boateng got in on the shooting act in the second-half as part of a dominant display.

Salford’s miserable afternoon was compounded on 73 minutes when Theo Vassell was given his marching orders after denying Stags’ striker Lucas Akins a goalscoring opportunity.

Three changes were made from the side which lost 2-1 at Walsall last Saturday.

George Williams replaced Jordan Bowery at right-back.
Aaron Lewis and Davis Keillor-Dunn were introduced to the lineup as Ollie Clarke and George Maris moved to the subs’ bench.

Mansfield started with promising intent and following the game’s first corner after two minutes, Davis Keillor-Dunn saw his floated effort fly over the angle from the edge of the box.

Stags came even closer five minutes later when frontman Will Swan burst into the box before his left-footed hit trickled narrowly past the post.

At the other end, defender Lewis Brunt did well to block Matt Smith’s drive inside the area while Keillor-Dunn also had a shot charged down as Stags again applied pressure to create an opener.

Salford ‘keeper Alex Cairns was needed to keep the score level on 14 minutes as he smartly tipped over Louis Reed’s powerful strike.

On 17 minutes, referee Craig Hicks produced the first yellow card as Baily Cargill pulled down Junior Luamba just outside the Stags’ box.

But less than a minute later it was Mansfield who finally took the upper hand.

Reed slipped it into the path of the onrushing Williams on the right flank and his delightful first-time cross into the area was expertly glanced into the far corner by Swan.

Another fine move followed on 21 minutes.

Intricate play inside the area involving Keillor-Dunn and Swan ended with Reed lashing low, only to be denied by a smart stop from Cairns.

Back at the other end, Salford had their best chance of the first-half but in-form goalkeeper Christy Pym prevented a leveller by keeping out Luamba’s powerful strike with his legs.

Stags had a golden opportunity to double their advantage on 27 minutes as Keillor-Dunn made a lung-bursting run from inside his own half to find the advancing Akins who ballooned the effort over the bar.

The game was held up twice to allow treatment to two Salford players and once the game resumed the visitors soon struck level on 42 minutes.

The rapid Luamba weaved his way beyond two players on the inside left to cut into the box and arrow a right-footed finish into the bottom corner.

Stags were back on the front foot again and Quinn and Cargill linked up well down the left flank before e latter’s pass across the face of goal was stabbed behind for a flag-kick.

In ten minutes of stoppage time, Mansfield had appeals of a penalty waved away as Swan’s strike appeared to hit a Salford hand and moments later, Reed broke through into the box and skewed his effort over the bar.

The referee then showed a yellow card to Ryan Watson who hacked down Keillor-Dunn in the visitors’ half as part of a Stags’ counter.

Mansfield restored their lead to cap off a riveting first-half in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

Keillor-Dunn’s drifted corner evaded everyone except, crucially, Baily Cargill, who headed home at the back post.

In the dying seconds, Salford had two quick-fire chances to swiftly level but Mansfield held firm to lead at the break.

Salford took off star man Luamba at the break and a minute after the restart captain Elliot Watt hammered an effort just past the target from outside the area.

Lewis had a similar attempt for Mansfield on 52 minutes which also flew behind.

Stags increased their advantage on 57 minutes in a deadly counter-surge.

Lewis sent a terrific forward pass to breach the Salford defence and as the goalkeeper raced forwards to try and intervene, Quinn laid it to Keillor-Dunn to finish the move from the left of the box.

On 69 minutes, Salford made a treble change as Mansfield also shuffled the pack with Jordan Bowery and Tom Nichols replacing Baily Cargill and Will Swan.

Mansfield could have made it 4-1 on 72 minutes as Akins headed into the gloves of Cairns from close range following a right-wing cross.

Salford’s day went from bad to worse a minute later as Theo Vassell was shown a straight red card for hauling down Akins outside the box and therefore denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Quinn skied a shot on 79 and the same man had a volley charged down on the edge of the box two minutes later.

Free-scoring Mansfield added to their tally on 81 minutes as Brunt brought the ball out of the defence to send a lovely-weighted ball over the top to Akins who kept his composure to fire low beyond Cairns.

Stags made a treble change a minute later as Ollie Clarke, George Maris and Hiram Boateng entered the fray.

Salford’s Luke Garbutt went into the book late on for dissent as the visitors’ frustrations grew and Reed was also carded for a foul.

And in the last minute of stoppage time, Stags put the icing on top of the cake with a fifth goal.Reed swung a fine ball into the centre of the box and Boateng converted with a volley from eight yards in the last kick of a thrilling victory.

STAGS: Pym, Williams, Flint, Brunt, Cargill (Bowery 69), Reed, Lewis (Clarke 82), Quinn (Boateng 82), Keillor-Dunn (Maris 82), Akins, Swan (Nichols 69)

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, McLaughlin, Clarke, Maris

SALFORD: Cairns, Watt, Watson (Lund 69), Hendry (Morton 69), Tilt, Smith (Mariappa 79), McAleny, Chesters (Ingram 69), Garbutt, Vassell, Luamba (N’Mai H/T)

UNUSED SUBS: Torrance, McLennan

REFEREE: Craig Hicks

ATTENDANCE: 7,166 (152 Salford fans)

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