Sparkling Mansfield Town roar to another big away win to finally beat bogey side Harrogate Town
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Stags headed to Harrogate having lost six and drawn one of the clubs' seven all-time encounters, but tonight made it 18 games unbeaten in all competitions with a brilliant overall performance in securing three more points which lifted them back into the top four.
Mansfield could and should have won by an even bigger margin as they rained in 31 attempts on goal against the shellshocked Sulphurites.
Confidence-fuelled thanks to a thumping win at Notts County last time out, the Stags roared out of the blocks.
George Maris and Lucas Akins had both gone close before the visitors broke the deadlock after only eight minutes.
Lewis Brunt was perfectly placed to slot home his first Stags goal after he met Aden Flint’s precise far post knock-down from Mansfield's first corner.
Nigel Clough’s men were running the show, and both Louis Reed and the normally deadly Davis Keillor-Dunn went mighty close to adding a second.
Harrogate finally gained something of a foothold in the game, and Jack Muldoon threatened when he saw a powerful strike blocked.
However, the Stags responded positively again and Akins forced ‘keeper Mark Oxley into a decent stop.
Akins then scored twice in two minutes to leave the Stags in cruise control.
Firstly he pounced on 36 minutes to fire home a rebound after a Keillor-Dunn was saved and Ollie Clarke's follow-up hit the post, Akins then making sure at the third time of asking for the visitors.
On 38 minutes Akins then turned home from close range after Keillor-Dunn’s sent the ball into his path from the left.
Harrogate’s half-time sub Abraham Odoh tested Christy Pym in the early stages after the restart – the keeper's first real action – as the home side tried to go up a gear.
But the Stags remained firmly in control and Keillor-Dunn almost made it four as he was thwarted by Oxley.
The Harrogate keeper was superb again soon after as he denied Akins following some terrific work from Maris.
But it was Maris who did make it four when he coolly converted a low square ball from Keillor-Dunn, who had done well to win the ball back.
However, the clean sheet was spoiled on 80 minutes as Levi Sutton fired goalwards and the ball lopped up and over Pym from the head of Aden Flint.
Brunt was booked for a cynical foul to join full backs Callum Johnson and Calum Macdonald, who both picked up silly cautions for kicking the ball away.
But Stags are now unbeaten in 14 league games this season and, after beating Accrington Stanley earlier this season, have ended yet another hoodoo against a bogey side.
HARROGATE: Oxley, Ramsay, McDonald, O’Connor, Foulds, Cornelius (Falkingham, 46), Sutton, Thomson, Daly (March, 77), Muldoon (Odoh, 46), Folarin (Armstrong, 77). SUBS NOT USED: Burrell, Daly, Thomas.
STAGS: Pym, Bowery, Flint, Brunt, MacDonald (Johnson, 74), Lewis (Boateng, 74), Reed, Maris (Gayle, 74), Clarke (Williams 79), Akins, Keillor-Dunn (Swan 79). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, McLaughlin.
REFEREE: Stephen Martin.