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1st November 2023 22:27

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 1 Walsall
Flint 16, Bowery 71. Stirk 52.
Attendance: 7,641 (778 from Walsall)

Date: 28 October 2023

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town beat Walsall 2-1 at the One Call Stadium yesterday. It was a deserved win. The Stags were much the better side in the first half but only went in at the break 1-0 ahead with Aden Flint’s second goal in three goals. Walsall equalised out of the blue after 52 minutes with their first and only shot on target of the game when former Stag Ryan Stirk fired in from 10 yards. The Stags then lost their way for 15 minutes as Walsall were in the ascendancy without creating clearcut chances. But Mansfield regained the lead after 71 minutes when Jordan Bowery fired in off the left post and the Stags created chances to make it more comfortable while Walsall created little or nothing and never looked like equalising.

Walsall were not a bad side with Stirk and his lookalike Ross Tierney impressing in midfield. So this was a good win for Mansfield, especially having lost their way for 15 minutes in the second half. Walsall though had nothing up front with another former Stag Danny Johnson having too quiet a game, indeed he only touched the ball 15 times in 90 minutes. They were missing top scorer Freddie Draper, who has had a good season so far, on loan from Lincoln.

Mansfield lost Lucas Akins to a head injury and we await news of his scan after he went to hospital.

Mansfield remain unbeaten in league and cup this season (19 games), and remain the only EFL or Premier League club to be unbeaten this season in all competitions.

Mansfield are now 15 league games unbeaten this season and that extends the club record for the longest unbeaten start to a league season (see club records here).

Including last season, Mansfield are 16 league games unbeaten. The club record is 20, set in 1976.

The club record league and cup games unbeaten in all competitions is also 20, set in 1976 (as there were no cup games in that run).

If you include cup games, including last season, Mansfield are now 20 league and cup games unbeaten in all competitions, which therefore equals the club record set in 1976.

Incidentally the club record set in 1976 also straddled two seasons: 19 games at the end of the 1975/76 season under manager Dave Smith, and 1 game at the start of the 1976/77 season under Peter Morris, after Dave Smith have surprisingly been sacked.

Nigel Clough was asked about it on iFollow Stags: "another club record to talk about, Mansfield now 20 games unbeaten, stretching back to last season, equalling a club record."
Clough replied: "Brilliant. Let's try and beat it. It'll be tough to do that this week with Port Vale and Wrexham in town."

Mansfield were looking for their 5th consecutive home clean sheet in the league for the first time since 2009, but didn’t manage it with that goal from Stirk.

Mansfield have conceded the fewest goals in League Two (12 goals in 15 games this season).



Mansfield Town 2-1 Walsall
Flint (16'minutes), Bowery (71'minutes)
Stirk (52'minutes)
Swan (71'minutes)
Knowles (52'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media

Mansfield Town extended their remarkable start to the season to 19 games unbeaten in all competitions after a narrow League Two home win over Walsall.

The home side went ahead after 16 minutes. A combination of goalkeeper Owen Evans and the crossbar kept out Aden Flint's first header from a George Maris corner.

In the scramble that followed, Davis Keillor-Dunn had a shot blocked before Flint fired the ball home at the third time of asking.

Maris had a good effort deflect just wide, while after 37 minutes, Evans had to go down to his left to keep out a Keillor-Dunn finish that was fired across him from a narrow angle on the left.

Aaron Lewis sent a great chance over from 12 yards within two minutes of the restart.

But with their first shot on target of the game, the Saddlers were level after 52 minutes. Tom Knowles drove down the right and crossed low for Ryan Stirk to finish from 12 yards against his former club.

However, Jordan Bowery won it for Mansfield after 71 minutes with a first-time finish from Will Swan's left-wing cross that found the net off the inside of the post.

Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Walsall
Possession Home 59% Away 41%
Shots Home 22 Away 7
Shots on Target Home 7 Away 1
Corners Home 6 Away 5
Fouls Home 12 Away 11


Jordan Bowery nets winner as Mansfield Town extend unbeaten run against Walsall
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Sat 28 Oct 2023

Mansfield Town continued their fantastic run as they made it 19 games unbeaten in all competitions with today's hard-earned 2-1 home win against Walsall.

This display was below the level of recent outstanding showings but proved just enough to see off the battling Saddlers - and Stags still carved out enough chances to have won much more handsomely on the day.

Aden Flint gave the home side a 16th minute lead in a first half in which Stags dominated but never quite hit top gear, though Christy Pym was largely a spectator.

But he was beaten by ex-Stag Ryan Stirk with Walsall's first shot on target on 52 minutes.


That shook up the home side but they recovered well and Jordan Bowery restored Stags' advantage on 71 minutes with few scares at the other end after that decisive blow.

Not surprisingly Mansfield were unchanged from the side that won so handsomely in Harrogate on Tuesday night.

That meant Baily Cargill, available again after suspension, had to make do with a place on the bench.

The visitors included two former Stags in Danny Johnson and Ryan Stirk.

There was worry for Stags in the second minute as Gordon sped from halfway into the home box and went down after contact by Flint, but no penalty was given.

On four minutes Bowery crossed from the right and Clarke took the ball on his chest and hit a fierce volley that was blocked.

Evans then did well to grab Maris' corner off the head of Flint at the far post.

On 13 minutes a good interception by Bowery saw him feed Keillor-Dunn, who went off on a run that ended with a low shot straight at Evans.

But Mansfield were ahead from a Maris corner on 16 minutes.

It was floated to the far post where Flint headed it goalwards and the ball bounced up and was kept out by a combination of keeper and crossbar.

A scramble ensued in which Keillor-Dunn's effort was blocked on the line but Flint was on hand to smash the loose ball home from close range.

Akins needed treatment for an injury before the game restarted.

And on 29 minutes he went down again in some discomfort and this time was replaced by Gale.

Walsall survived another six yard box scramble from a Reed free kick and on 36 minutes Maris had a shot deflect wide with Brunt seeing his finish blocked from the resulting corner.

A minute later Evans did well to get a hand to Keillor-Dunn's low finish across him from a tight angle on the left after Clarke had won the ball back for the Stags.

Brunt was booked for a foul on 38 minutes and then Knowles was booked on 39 minutes for tripping Gale in full flight down the left. Macdonald sent the free kick to the far post where Flint was well over with his header.

Ex-Stag Johnson produced his first moment of danger on 43 minutes as he got into the box only to see Bowery stick out a leg and rob him.

Pym punched the first corner up and over his bar and the second was cleared.

Johnson was wide on the turn from 20 yards in the first of five added minutes.

In the fourth Stags could have gone further ahead after Gale stole the ball off Daniels. He squared to Maris who chose not to shoot but set up Keillor-Dunn only to see his shot blocked.

Cargill replaced Brunt for the second half and Mansfield should have been two up within two minutes as Maris set up Lewis for a shot that he sent over the bar from 12 yards.

Instead the visitors drew level on 52 minutes with their first shot on target of the afternoon.

A burst of pace and a low cross from Knowles on the right fell perfectly for Stirk to drill home from 12 yards.

Hutchinson dragged a low shot wide on 58 minutes as the visitors grew in confidence.

Comley was booked for bringing down Keillor-Dunn on 59 minutes and seconds later Gale joined him for a dive in the box.

Stirk wasn't far over with a great shot from 30 yards on the hour mark.

On 70 minutes Bowery curled a tempting ball in front of goal where Gale just unable to reach it and turn it home.

But Mansfield were ahead again on 71 minutes. Swan crossed from the left and Bowery met it first time with not the best of finishes, but the ball somehow found its way in off the inside of the far post.

Thanks to a decoy run by Clarke, Swan was then able to find time to get away a low shot that went wide before Clarke was inches wide from 20 yards.

That was his last action as he was replaced by Boateng for the final 11 minutes.

Keillor-Dunn forced another save from Evans from distance as Stags sought a decisive third.

Boateng quickly saw a booking on 86 minutes for a foul on Tierney.

A minute later Swan set up Boateng for a close range finish that was blocked.

Four added minutes were safely negotiated and Stags preserved their fine record.

STAGS: Pym, Bowery, Flint, Brunt (Cargill HT), Macdonald, Reed, Lewis, Clarke (Boateng 79), Maris (Swan 63), Keillor-Dunn, Akins (Gale 29). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Williams, Johnson.

WALSALL: Evans, Okagbue, Gordon, Daniels, Riley, Hutchinson ( James-Taylor 78), Knowles (Allen 88), Comley, Stirk (Matt 82), Tierney, Johnson. SUBS NOT USED: Smith, Foulkes, Griffiths.

REFEREE: David Rock.

ATTENDANCE: 7,641 (778 away).


Mansfield 2 Walsall 1 - Report
expressandstar.com, By George Bennett, Sat 28 Oct 2023

Jordan Bowery's 71st minute strike condemned Walsall to a 2-1 defeat against unbeaten Mansfield Town at Field Mill.

Aden Flint scrambled the ball over the line from a corner to give the hosts the lead inside 15 minutes.

Ryan Stirk responded after the break with an equaliser against his former club, before Bowery produced the decisive strike 19 minutes from time.

Mat Sadler was forced into two changes with Harry Williams and top scorer Freddie Draper missing out due to injury.

Danny Johnson was handed his first start since the trip to Sutton United and led the line as a sole striker against his former employers.

David Okagbue also returned from an ankle injury to partner Donervon Daniels in the heart of defence.


Walsall did start quite positively with Liam Gordon roaring forward on a mesmerising solo run, which was eventually halted by Ollie Clarke's challenge inside the box.

However, Mansfield dominated possession and soon took control, especially once they got off the mark after 15 minutes.

The Saddlers failed to deal with a corner, which was delivered into the danger area by George Maris. Owen Evans took two bites of the cherry to claw Lucas Akins' header at the back post away, before the Welshman sprung into another save to deny Davis Keillor-Dunn.

Flint was first to the loose ball inside the six-yard box and scrambled the ball over the line to provide the hosts with the lead.

Walsall needed to regroup and weather the storm after falling behind, and they did keep the score down to just one at the break.

Okagbue blocked Maris' low drive behind and Evans was at full stretch to keep out Keillor-Dunn. Joe Riley was caught on the ball by Clarke and he fed Keillor-Dunn down the inside left channel.

The Mansfield forward surged inside and Evans sprung to his left to produce an impressive stop to thwart him.

Johnson combined with Ross Tierney on the cusp of half-time but the ball just wouldn't land for him at the end of an auspicious counter-attack.

He then spun away from his marker on the edge of the box before blazing wide of the target, as Christy Pym's goal remained untroubled for the opening 45 minutes.

Mansfield started the second period on the front foot with Keillor-Dunn racing into the penalty area with a mazy run. He teed up Aaron Lewis for a golden chance, which the midfielder squandered by firing his effort over.

But Walsall found an equaliser against the run of play with Stirk finding the net for his second goal of the season.

Knowles was released down the right and his low cross was missed by Johnson at the near post. But Stirk was present to collect the cross and send a composed finish beyond the reach of Pym.

Walsall enjoyed their best period of the game after finding the leveller. Hutchinson dragged a low effort wide, whilst Stirk sent a rising strike over the bar from distance.

However, Mansfield soon snapped back, and fired a warning sign, before eventually finding the net through ex-Villa player Bowery.

Bowery had flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal which just alluded James Gale on the stretch. But Bowery would be celebrating just moments later.

Substitute Will Swan found himself free to glide down the inside left channel and pick out Bowery inside the box. His effort beat Evans and crashed in off the far post to restore Mansfield's lead.

Sadler introduced Douglas James-Taylor and Jamille Matt for the closing stages but it was Mansfield who had the better chances to add to their advantage.

Clarke took aim from range and sent a low effort whistling just wide, before Keillor-Dunn stung the palms of Evans from range.


Walsall (4-2-3-1): Evans; Riley, Okagbue, Daniels, Gordon; Comley, Stirk (Matt 82); Knowles (Allen 88), Tierney, Hutchinson (James-Taylor 79); Johnson.

Subs not used: Smith, Foulkes, Griffiths.

Mansfield (4-3-1-2): Pym; Bowery, Flint, Brunt (Cargill 46), MacDonald; Lewis, Reed, Clarke (Boateng 80); Maris (Swan 62); Akins (Gale 28), Keillor-Dunn.

Subs not used: Flinders, Williams, Johnson.

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 7,641 (708)


Walsall analysis: Saddlers’ run ended as injuries continue to bite
expressandstar.com, By George Bennett

Walsall suffered a first defeat in five as high-flying Mansfield Town condemned them to a 2-1 defeat at Field Mill.

The Saddlers had collected three draws and one win from their previous four games in all competitions, but faced a stern test at the home of one of League Two’s most in-form teams.

Mat Sadler was not helped by a growing injury crisis, which has swept across the squad, especially at the heart of defence.

Harry Williams was the latest victim as he was ruled out with an ankle injury, although David Okagbue made a surprise return to feature for the first time since being withdrawn after 45 minutes at Salford on September 9.

The club’s top goal scorer, Freddie Draper, also missed out after limping off against Crawley Town on Tuesday night.

That created one of the game’s most interesting sub plots, as Danny Johnson started on his return to the East Midlands.

However, a familiar tale played out during the opening exchanges. No other side in the division have conceded more goals in the opening 15 minutes than Walsall (eight) and Aden Flint gave Mansfield the lead on the quarter-hour mark after the Saddlers failed to clear their lines from a corner.

Owen Evans initially saved Flint’s header at the back post, before bizarrely clawing the ball back into the danger area.

Lucas Akins then nodded the ball into the path of Davis Keillor-Dunn, who was denied at point blank range by Evans.

But Flint exposed Walsall’s statuesque defending inside the box to help scramble the ball over the line for his second of the season.

Mansfield settled into the game from that point onwards and began to dictate the play with Keillor-Dunn invariably at the heart of the action.

The Mansfield forward surged inside midway into the first period and Evans was forced to plunge to his left to produce an impressive low save.

Sadler switched from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 after 35 minutes with Ross Tierney dropping deeper.

But chances were few and far between for the Saddlers with Johnson’s wayward effort from outside the box representing their best chance before the break.


Isaac Hutchinson has been unable to build on his hat-trick heroics against Gillingham, and it felt as if Walsall also missed Oisin McEntee’s energy in midfield.

Keillor-Dunn raided the Walsall defence once again after the interval with a mesmerising mazy run into the box.

He beat a number of challenges before teeing up Aaron Lewis, who fired a golden chance over the woodwork.

Walsall would eventually reap the benefits of Sadler’s tactical tweak when Ryan Stirk hauled them back into the contest seven minutes after the restart.

Tierney released Tom Knowles down the right and Walsall got bodies in the box to receive.

Johnson failed to make contact with his low cross at the near post, but Stirk was on hand to tuck a tidy finish past Christy Pym and score against his former employers.

The goal came against the run of play, although Walsall enjoyed their best period of the game after getting back on level terms.

However, Walsall struggled to create any clear-cut chances with Hutchinson dragging one wide, and Stirk blazing over from distance.

Just as Walsall appeared to be growing into the game, ex-Villa forward Jordan Bowery delivered a deadly blow on 71 minutes.

It was a nicely worked Mansfield move which started inside their own half.

They eventually worked the ball down the left with Will Swan squaring for Bowery inside the box.

Bowery scuffed his effort into the turf and watched it spin out of the reach of Evans, before crashing in off the post.

Any momentum Walsall had gathered was lost. Sadler threw on Douglas James-Taylor and Jamille Matt in an attempt to salvage something, but it was Mansfield who always looked the most troubling in the closing stages.

Ollie Clarke sent a low effort which whistled wide of the post, before Evans was once again forced into a low save by the ever dangerous Keillor-Dunn.

It proved to be an unhappy return for Johnson with the defeat leaving Walsall in 15th place.

The table remains extremely tight with still only six points separating them from the play-offs.

But inconsistency has been the story of Walsall’s season so far, and a failure to reverse that trend will make it difficult for them to climb the table.

As for Mansfield, they extended their unbeaten start in all competitions to 19 games, and registered a third win on the spin in League Two.


Mansfield 2 Walsall 1 - Player ratings
expressandstar.com, By George Bennett

George Bennett gives his Walsall ratings following defeat at Mansfield.



Denied Keillor-Dunn twice but his error of judgement by clawing the ball back into the danger zone in the build-up to Aden Flint’s opener proved costly.

Error 5


Riley enjoyed a relatively solid display although he was caught in possession in the first half, which led to a good chance for Keillor-Dunn.

Ok 6


Uncharacteristically delayed on the ball to present Keillor-Dunn with a chance before the break. However, his driving runs forward helped Walsall build momentum during their brightest period in the game.

Average 6


Thrown in at the deep end after not playing for over six weeks. Acquitted himself well and made some important blocks.

Return 6


Looked dangerous at times breaking down the left and relatively solid defensively.

Glimpses 6


His pace offered Walsall an attacking outlet, which they should’ve utilised more. He played an instrumental role in the Saddlers’ goal - setting up Ryan Stirk with an accurate low cross.

Outlet 6


Walsall’s brightest performer. He was nursing a cold but never stopped running and took his goal well with a composed finish.

Bright 7


More game time will help Comley return to full fitness, but he struggled to impose himself on the contest.

Difficult 6


He has struggled to build on his hat-trick heroics against Gillingham, and was largely ineffective.

Ineffective 5


Always a bundle of energy and helped release Knowles in the build-up to Walsall’s goal.

Energetic 6


Not the return that Johnson would’ve hoped for. He often found himself isolated up top.

Isolated 5


Douglas James-Taylor (for Hutchinson, 78); Jamille Matt (for Stirk, 82); Taylor Allen (for Knowles 86). Subs not used: Jackson Smith, Joe Foulkes, Harvey Griffiths.


Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Mansfield Town.

Walsall went in search of their first win in three league games as they made the trip to the One Call Stadium where they were to take on Nigel Clough's undefeated Mansfield Town. After seeing their hopes of returning to winning ways against Crawley Town dashed in second-half injury time, the Saddlers were hoping to become the first team to lay a glove on the Stags in the league so far this season. Mansfield began the game brightly, with Jordan Bowery working the ball to Ollie Clarke just four minutes into the contest, though nothing would come of the opportunity as the midfielders early effort on goal was well blocked by the Walsall defences. Walsall showed signs of promise as the game continued, but it was their hosts who looked the more likely to score, as thirteen minutes in, Bowery picked out Davis Keillor-Dunn, whose low strike from just outside the box was easily saved by Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans. Mansfield took the lead in the sixteenth minute, as Donervon Daniels turned the ball out of play, gifting the hosts a corner. George Maris swung the ball into the area from the flag-kick, with Aden Flint seeing a headed effort saved by Evans, though the ball was cleared only as far as Keillor-Dunn, who also saw a shot saved by Evans, before Flint fired another effort in from the rebound, finding the target from close range. The hosts continued to press, winning another corner in the twenty-first minute, as David Okagbue turned the ball behind, but nothing would come of the flag-kick as the Saddlers cleared the danger. There was a brief halt to proceedings in the twenty-eighth minute, allowing Lucas Akins to receive attention from the medical staff, but it was soon determined that he would be unable to play any further part in the match, and James Gale was brought on in his place. Mansfield continued to see much of the ball as play continued, though they were unable to create much to trouble the Saddlers defences, although, thirty-five minutes in, a low ball into the area from Calum MacDonald was deflected into the path of Maris by Joe Riley, allowing the number ten chance to shoot, but the ball was deflected behind, and the resulting corner came to nothing. The hosts continued to press, with Keillor-Dunn curling an effort goal-wards in the thirty-seventh minute, forcing Evans to make a save to deny him. Lewis Brunt became the first player to see yellow, in the thirty-eighth minute, as he was cautioned for a foul on Danny Johnson. Tom Knowles joined Brunt in the referee's notebook just two minutes later, as a foul on Gale saw the Walsall man booked. The resulting free-kick saw MacDonald cross the ball in for Flint, but the Mansfield captain headed the ball high and wide of the target. Five additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time, Johnson saw a curling effort from the edge of the area sail narrowly wide of the upright. Keillor-Dunn saw an effort blocked at the other end a few minutes later, but there was little further action of note and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Mansfield leading by one-goal-to-nil.


Mansfield opted to make their second change of the afternoon ahead of the restart, with Lewis Brunt sitting out the second-half, as Baily Cargill took his place. The hosts began the second-half brightly, with Keillor-Dunn working the ball to Aaron Lewis, just two minutes in, but the midfielder was unable to keep his effort on target, sending the ball sailing over the crossbar. Walsall levelled the scores in the fifty-second minute, as Knowles crossed a low ball in towards the back post, where Ryan Stirk was on hand to fire past Town 'keeper, Christy Pym, from close range, to secure his second goal of the season. The Saddlers were presented with a chance to take the lead just six minutes later, winning a free-kick in a promising position as MacDonald fouled Knowles. Ross Tierney floated the ball into the box, where it was cleared by a Mansfield man, only as far as Isaac Hutchinson, but the midfielders strike from twenty yards out missed the target. Brandon Comley was added to the referee's notebook in the fifty-ninth minute, as he was cautioned for a foul on Keillor-Dunn. James Gale joined Comley on a caution just one minute later, as he was booked for simulation, after going down inside the area. The visiting side went close again as we reached the hour mark, as Stirk picked up the ball and drove forwards, but his effort from distance sailed over the crossbar. With sixty-three minutes on the clock, Town opted to introduce a third substitute, with George Maris making way for Will Swan. Walsall continued to look the brighter of the two sides as the match continued, but it was Mansfield who found the target, as the recently introduced Swan crossed a low ball into the box for Jordan Bowery, who fired home to restore his sides earlier lead, with seventy-one minutes on the clock. The Saddlers looked to respond quickly to falling behind, with Stirk playing in Johnson just one minute after the Stags had scored, but Bowery was on hand to prevent the restoring of parity, and the resulting corner came to nothing. The visiting side chose to make their first change of the afternoon in the seventy-seventh minute, as Isaac Hutchinson made way for Douglas James-Taylor. Ollie Clarke looked to extend his sides lead in the seventy-ninth minute, but his low strike sailed narrowly wide from distance. That would be his final involvement in the game, as he was replaced moments later by Hiram Boateng. Just three minutes later, Walsall opted to make their second change of the game, as Ryan Stirk saw his place taken by Jamille Matt. The hosts went close to extending their lead in the eighty-fourth minute, as Keillor-Dunn looked to find the bottom corner, but Evans was alert to the danger and got down low to make the save. Hiram Boateng joined those playing on a caution in the eighty-sixth minute, as he was booked for a foul on Tierney. Mansfield continued to press, with Swan driving towards the box in the eighty-seventh minute, before passing to Boateng, who had space to shoot, but fortunately for the Saddlers, Daniels was well positioned to block the effort. Walsall made a third change to their line-up, in the eighty-eighth minute, as Tom Knowles was replaced by Taylor Allen. Four additional minutes were added to end the game, but there was little further action of note and the match was brought to it's conclusion with Mansfield winning by two-goals-to-one. Read more: https://www.bescotbanter.net/2023/10/match-report-mansfield-town-2-walsall-1.html