Attentions Turn Back To League Action As The Stags Travel To Salford City
Out of two cup competitions, Mansfield Town can now solely focus on their league campaign as they return to League Two action with an away trip to the Peninsula Stadium to face mid-table Salford City.
With the Stags now not having to fight on four fronts with their elimination from the Carabao Cup, their early exit in the FA Cup and on the brink of elimination from the Bristol Street Motors’ Trophy, they are now able to put their heart and soul into achieving their main target; promotion to League One.
One of only two teams in the EFL that are still unbeaten in the league, with League One Portsmouth being the other side, the amber and blues will look to extend their unbeaten league run to 16 games and achieve a fourth consecutive victory.
However, Salford City will not make the task easy for Nigel Clough’s Stags as they close down on a Play-Off place and push for promotion in their second full season under manager Neil Wood.
After an uncharacteristic start that saw them record five straight losses, a record for the club since promotion to the EFL in 2019, the Ammies have bounced back and have only lost twice since, picking up points and moving closer towards the top half of the table.
The question is: Will the Ammies be able to sting the Stags’ promotion run and deliver the killer first loss of Mansfield Town’s League Two campaign?
Ammies Slowly Progressing Towards The Top Half
Salford City, with Neil Wood at the helm for his second season, have been making steady progress up the league table following their horror start with five losses from five to begin their 2023/24 League Two campaign.
Unbeaten from their last three league games with one win and two draws, the Ammies contested in the Emirates FA Cup First Round last weekend as they travelled to the Weston Homes Stadium to face League One side Peterborough United.
The promotion-pushing Posh were the firm favourites heading into the tie in Cambridgeshire as they looked to breeze past the League Two outfit.
However, it was the Ammies that struck first as they took the lead in the fifth minute through Stevie Mallan’s strike.
Ricky-Jade Jones levelled the game up at 1-1 early in the second half but it was the visiting Salford that were in the box seat heading into the final 20 minutes of the game as Posh’s goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic scored an own goal.
Emmanuel Fernandez rescued the Posh at the death as he scored in the third minute of added time to send the tie to a replay.
Returning to league action before facing the replay in midweek, the Ammies will be looking to prioritise one of the two games as they look to battle further in the FA Cup but also continue their climb up the league table.
Stags’ Sole Focus On Promotion
Three consecutive defeats will be seen by many as the wheels starting to fall off, however, that will not be what Nigel Clough sees as the Stags will have three fewer competitions to worry about.
Following their brilliant run in the Carabao Cup, their run ended with a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in the Round of 16.
Their Emirates FA Cup run, however, did not even get started as they were knocked out straight away, falling to a 2-1 defeat against Wrexham last weekend in the First Round of the competition.
As Everton’s under-21s came to Nottinghamshire, the Bristol Street Motors’ Trophy tie against the young Toffees side was seen as purely a training game as many changes were made, giving valuable rests to first-team players ahead of the return to league action.
Youssef Chermiti’s penalty was the difference between the two sides as Everton’s under-21s earned their first three points of the competition whilst the Stags face Burton Albion in the final game of Group H to determine who progresses to the knockout round of the EFL Trophy.
The clash won’t take place until November 20th meaning Mansfield Town can re-focus on their league run and extend their unbeaten run in League Two in the process.
In terms of league form, Salford City have amassed eight points from their last five games with two wins, two draws and one loss as they sit in 13th place in League Two, five points away from seventh-placed Accrington Stanley who occupy the final Play-Off position.
In all competitions, the Ammies have lost only twice in the last 10 games as the Greater Manchester side have been eliminated from the Carabao Cup and the Bristol Street Rovers’ Trophy whilst facing a replay in the Emirates FA Cup First Round.
The free-scoring Salford have scored 11 goals in the last five games in all competitions whilst have conceded seven in the meantime showing their defensive vulnerabilities.
Whilst the Stags have lost their last three games in cup competitions, they are still unbeaten in the league and have picked up 11 points from their last five games with three wins and two draws.
With seven goals scored and six conceded in their last five games in all competitions, the Stags are have been slightly weaker in attack and defence and have not kept a clean sheet since their goalless draw against AFC Wimbledon at the start of October.
Since Salford’s promotion to the EFL in 2019, the two sides have gone head-to-head seven times in league action with the Ammies holding the upper hand with four wins compared to the Stags’ two with one draw contested.
Mansfield Town have failed to win at the Peninsula Stadium in their last three attempts with one draw and two losses on their travels to Greater Manchester.
With 24 goals scored in seven matches, an average of close to 3.5 goals per game, a high-scoring game is set to take place between the unbeaten Stags and the Play-Off pushing Ammies.