Stags Earn Third Consecutive League Victory With A Hard-Fought 2-1 Win Over Walsall
Mansfield Town extended their unbeaten run to 19 games in all competitions following a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Walsall which has propelled the Stags to within a point of the automatic promotion places.
Nigel Clough’s side took the lead in the 16th minute following George Maris’ corner. The midfielder’s delivery found the head of Aden Flint who forced Walsall shot-stopper Owen Evans into a quick reaction save.
The loose ball then fell for Davis Keillor-Dunn who forced another saved from the Saddlers’ goalkeeper before Flint bundled the ball in from close range.
Early in the second half, Walsall managed to get a goal back through ex-Stags midfielder Ryan Stirk as he found the net from close range.
However, Mansfield Town had the last laugh as Will Swan’s cross found Jordan Bowery as he curled an effort that hit the post and landed in the back of the net.
The win was Stags’ third consecutive league victory and their 19th game without a defeat as they moved to within a point of the top three.
Ahead of the clash at the One Call Stadium, Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough named an unchanged side from the one that beat Harrogate Town 4-1 at the EnviroVent Stadium on Tuesday night.
Walsall manager Mat Sadler made two changes from the midweek 1-1 draw against Crawley Town. Harry Williams and Freddie Draper dropped out as David Okagbue and ex-Stags forward Danny Johnson came into the starting XI.
The first chance of the game fell to the Stags as Bowery’s cross was chested down by Ollie Clarke but his shot on the turn was well-blocked.
Keillor-Dunn was able to drive forward and shift the ball onto his left foot as he fired goalwards, however, it was a simple claim by Evans in the Walsall goal.
Minutes later, the amber and blues took the lead through Flint. Maris’ corner was headed goalwards by Flint which was well-saved by Evans.
The ball broke to Keillor-Dunn who also had his shot saved by the Saddlers’ goalkeeper, however, the Stags captain was on hand to bundle the ball in from close range.
Maris went close to doubling the hosts’ advantage as Calum Macdonald’s cutback found the midfielder but his first-time effort failed to hit the target.
Keillor-Dunn was once again dangerous as he retrieved the ball and fired another shot off but Evans was on hand to make a save.
In added time of the half, both sides had chances as Walsall looked to get back into the game. Tom Knowles’ pass found Danny Johnson but he curled an effort wide of Christy Pym’s goal.
Mansfield Town then had the chance to carve out an opportunity as Donervon Daniels was caught in possession by substitute James Gale.
Stags’ forward looked to pass the ball into Maris’ path, however, the ball went behind the midfielder as the move broke down.
At the start of the second half, Mansfield Town started the brighter of the two sides as Keillor-Dunn’s dazzling feet saw him find Aaron Lewis but the midfielder leaned back and saw his shot go over.
However, Walsall levelled the game up at 1-1 in the 51st minute as Knowles’ cross found ex-Stags midfielder Stirk who fired the ball in from close range.
Following a free-kick that was partially cleared, Isaac Hutchinson composed himself before firing an effort goalwards which trickled wide of the goal.
Stirk looked to double his tally for the afternoon as fired a fierce effort from distance but his effort went over.
In the 72nd minute, the Stags got back in front as Swan’s cutback found Bowery on the edge of the box as his curled effort hit the post and landed in the back of the net.
Swan looked to turn provider once again as he picked out Hiram Boateng in the penalty area but his effort was blocked by Daniels.
The Stags held on until the end and earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Walsall which kept them in fourth place but only one point away from the automatic promotion places.
The Saddlers dropped down to 15th place as a result of their loss, their first defeat since the 4-0 loss against Sutton United on October 7th.
Mansfield Town are back in action in midweek as they take on Port Vale in the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup before facing Wrexham in the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup at the weekend.
Walsall travel to Isthmian League South East Division side Sheppey United on Friday night as they look to avoid an upset in the FA Cup.
Mansfield Town’s XI: Pym, Bowery, Flint, Brunt (Cargill 46′), Macdonald, Reed, Lewis, Clarke (Boateng 79′), Maris (Swan 63′), Keillor-Dunn, Akins (Gale 30′)
Walsall’s XI: Evans, Gordon, Daniels, Okagbue, Riley, Hutchinson (James-Taylor 78′), Stirk (Matt 82′), Comley, Knowles (Allen 88′), Tierney, Johnson