Mansfield Town face showdown of division’s meanest defences

Mansfield Town goalkeeper Robert Olejnik punches clear: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Skybet League 2  match Morecambe -V- Mansfield Town at Globe Arena, Morecambe, Lancashire, England on copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229
Mansfield Town goalkeeper Robert Olejnik punches clear: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Skybet League 2 match Morecambe -V- Mansfield Town at Globe Arena, Morecambe, Lancashire, England on copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229

The two meanest defences in League Two will go head to head on Saturday (3pm) when Mansfield Town host high-flying MK Dons at the One Call Stadium.

Both sides have only let in nine goals so far, Stags having played two games less, and the Dons had gone over 400 minutes without conceding before Notts County scored against them last night.

However, Dons hit back to win 2-1 and make it five wins in a row and seven games unbeaten.

Meanwhile Stags stretched the club’s new record unbeaten away sequence to 10 games with a 1-0 win at Morecambe.

Delighted boss David Flitcroft said: “Getting two clean sheets in a row is important. That’s not just down to the defence and the goalkeeper. That starts with Danny Rose chasing things down.”

After relegation last year, the Don’s realistic ambition was to get promoted, and, so far, it has all been good for them on that front under new boss Paul Tisdale.

Obviously it’s very early days but their run of five wins in a row for the first time since 2015 has them second in the table, three points behind leaders Lincoln City, with the strikers all firing and little to complain about

Tisdale was brought in as boss from Exeter City and immediately won the players over, though their fans are a notoriously difficult set to impress.

However, this week’s winning home double appears to galvanise those fans behind the manager at last.

Saturday’s 1-0 win over Northampton was the best performance they had seen at Stadium MK in a long while, and all of the manager’s plans seem to be falling into place.

Dons’ only long term absentees are Peter Pawlett, Conor McGrandles and Osman Sow and they have been unchanged for the last two games.

Chuks Aneke is top scorer with six goals and, with his goals and power, has been a stand-out performer going forward, but the defensive unit as a whole has been outstanding of late.

Jordan Houghton has been a brilliant addition to the side at the base of the midfield. Not really one to join in attacks, he mops up, distributes brilliantly and is an excellent hold-up man.