Magnificent Mansfield Town close in on play-off spots with home win over Swindon Town

A fifth League Two win in a row pushed Mansfield Town firmly into the play-off reckoning as they beat rivals Swindon Town 3-2 at the One Call Stadium tonight.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 9:32 pm
George Maris celebrates his opening goal against Swindon Town. Picture by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media
George Maris celebrates his opening goal against Swindon Town. Picture by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

It was a seventh win in eight league games and well deserved, though a late Ellis Iandolo goal did have home nerves jittering for a short time.

Hot shot Harry McKirdy beat Nathan Bishop at his near post to wipe out George Maris' early strike.

But brilliant work from Rhys Oates, again outstanding, earned a spot kick that Stephen McLaughlin put away with aplomb before an inch-perfect lob from Jordan Bowery netted what proved to be the winner in an exciting game.

With Stephen McLaughlin and Ryan Stirk recovering from injuries at the weekend, Stags sent out the same starting XI, though George Lapslie missed out on the 18 with a thigh injury.

After easily snuffing out an early Swindon corner, Stags grabbed a fourth minute lead.

McLaughlin's fine weighted ball down the left began the move and Oates reached it and strode into the box.

Unable to shoot, as defenders surrounded him, he found Bowery, who laid it back invitingly for Maris to smash home a low finish from 12 yards.

He almost doubled his and Stags' tally on 13 minutes after the home side strung together a series of quick passes which ended with Maris this time blazing over after being set up by Quinn.

Hawkins saw an early booking for a foul on 15 minutes.

Bishop was down safely to gather a dangerous low Hunt cross soon after and on 21 minutes had to tip an Iandolo free kick over the bar at the last minute as it threatened to dip in from a tight angle on the right.

Conroy then hit a first time shot into the ground and it flew straight to Bishop as the Robins looked for an equaliser.

McKirdy was next to try his luck with a fierce shot from 25 yards that went wide.

But a minute later he was celebrating an equaliser as he got into the right of the box and, from a tight angle, beat Bishop at his near post with a powerful, low finish.

However, Stags were back in front on 31 minutes – and it stemmed from a Swindon corner.

It was cleared to Oates who, from his own half, raced away, taking on defenders and, once into the Robins' box, was brought down by Oidmayo as he pulled the trigger to shoot.

Odimayo was booked and McLaughlin stepped up to drill a low spot kick inside the right post, Ward going the right way but unable to get there.

Maris and Bowery set up Clarke for a vicious shot on 36 minutes that wasn't far over.

Oates whistled another shot just over the angle after Bowery had done well to race onto a long, hopeful ball and set him up.

But Stags did extend their lead on 43 minutes. Maris played the ball forward and Bowery burst between two defenders before calmly lobbing the advancing keeper.

In the third added minute Bishop turned another goalbound McKirdy effort over the top as Stags went in deservedly in charge.

The Robins came close on 57 minutes as Reeds sent over a corner and Iandolo's header clipped the top of the crossbar.

Conroy and O'Toole were booked on 63 minutes as tempers rose in the home box and they were caught in a tangle.

On 66 minutes Bishop was across to save well at his left post from a speculative Hunt effort from outside the box.

Hunt was added to the book for halting McLaughlin in full flight on 73 minutes.

McKirkdy might have pulled one back on 79 minutes after a slip by Hawkins gifted the ball to sub Mitchell-Lawson, but he found McKirdy who blazed over with the goal in his sights.

Swindon were not finished and a minute from time Iandolo drew defenders to him in the box on the left and lashed home a low finish through them to spark late nerves.

STAGS: Bishop, Hewitt, O'Toole, Hawkins, McLaughlin, Clarke (Charsley 77), Stirk, Maris (Law 80), Quinn, Oates (Nartey 90+3), Bowery. SUBS NOT USED: Stech, Burke, Gale, Johnson.

SWINDON: Ward, Odimayo, Iandolo, Conroy, Lyden (Mitchell-Lawson 76), Simpson, McKirdy (Parsons 84), O'Brien, Williams (Gladwin 70), Hunt, Reed. SUBS NOT USED: Idem, Crichlow, East, Grant.REFEREE: Tom Reeves.

ATTENDANCE: 4,129 (252 away).