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19th March 2017 21:49

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 0 Carlisle United
Green 63, Coulthirst 76
Attendance: 4463 (561 from Carlisle)

Date: 18 March 2017

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town ended their 4 match goal drought and got back to winning ways with a thoroughly convincing 2-0 win over 4th placed Carlisle United. The Stags had played well for 45 minutes in the defeat against Plymouth and then played well for 45 minutes in the defeat against Colchester, but here played well for 90 minutes and finally got their just rewards. The Stags were the better side in the first half as Danny Rose and Shaq Coulthirst both drew good saves from Carlisle keeper Mark Gillespie, and Danny Rose had a goal disallowed for offside as he headed home from close range after Matt Green headed into his path. Our pitchside video suggests he was indeed offside. The Stags should have been in front on 57 minutes when Danny Rose pulled back to Coulthirst, whose shot was parried by the keeper, into the path of Rose, who should have scored but fired wide with only the keeper to beat. The long awaited goal came on 63 minutes. Coulthirst did superbly on the left to find room for a cross, shuffling the ball from his right foot to his left foot and back, and his high cross was met by Matt Green, who sent an excellent looping header into the top left corner. The goal brought the house down, with huge relief all round. CJ Hamilton should have doubled the lead on 74 minutes but fired straight at the keeper. Mansfield did make it 2-0 on 76 minutes to seal the game. Hayden White lobbed a ball forward to the corner of the area on the left. Coulthirst got there first, cut back inside makeshift right back Gary Liddle on to his right foot, and fired a fabulous low shot into the bottom right corner of the net, across the keeper, who never moved. A wonderful goal from Coulthirst. Coulthirst had an opportunity to set Danny Rose away a minute later for a chance of a 1-on-1 with the keeper but his pass was poor and intercepted. Carlisle forced several corners late on but didn’t look like pulling a goal back. A very important win for Mansfield, who are back to three points behind 7th place, and four points behind 5th and 6th place. All to play for 8 games to go. Plenty of really good performances in the Stags side with the pick of the bunch being Danny Rose who was excellent up front as was Shaq Coulthirst, who made one and scored the other.

Mansfield made three changes from the side that lost at Colchester. Jake Kean returned from injury in place of Scott Shearer. Danny Rose and Shaq Coulthirst returned as the front pair, in place of Lee Collins and Ashley Hemmings. Collins has a hamstring injury. Hemmings was dropped from the 18. Alfie Potter was going to start but felt his knee in training on Friday so wasn’t risked in the starting XI. Matt Green had done well on Tuesday when moved to wide midfield, so Evans elected to play him wide again, this time on the left, to attempt to get at right back Tom Miller. It was a 4-4-2 formation with Byrom and Whiteman in central midfield, and MacDonald in right midfield. It was therefore a very attacking line-up. It was announced just before kick off that Steve Evans was serving a one game touchline ban following his sending off at Grimsby. He was allowed in the dressing room and allowed to do media interviews, but took his place next to John and Carolyn Radford in the directors’ box to watch the game. Late in the game, he could be heard shouting instructions to Matt Green and CJ Hamilton, very loudly.

Before the game Steve Evans commented that he thought Mansfield need 18 points from 9 games to reach the play-offs.