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19th November 2023 20:57

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two

Salford City 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Smith 22. Bowery 19, Keillor-Dunn 37
Attendance: 3,281 (1,173 from Mansfield)

Date: 11 November 2023

Martin Shaw at the Peninsula Stadium, Moor Lane

Mansfield Town won 2-1 at Salford City yesterday for the first time (at the 4th attempt) to move up to third place in the table, and with a game in hand. It was a small hoodoo overcome to add to the likes of beating Harrogate and winning at Accrington.

The win was not a typical Stags performance this season. Mansfield have been routinely clocking up 20+ shots in a game this season, but at Salford the Stags had only 9 while the home team had 18. Instead the win was based on clinical finishing from Jordan Bowery and a poacher’s finish from David Keillor-Dunn from a wonderful Callum Johnson cross. And it was also based on an excellent defensive display with Callum Johnson putting in a man of the match performance, Aden Flint a colossus as usual after switching to man-marking Matt Smith in the second half, Lewis Brunt very good again, including fine play in the build-up to the Bowery goal, and Callum Macdonald at left back. And a couple of fabulous saves from Christy Pym. Salford had plenty of possession, 65% in fact. But much of it was in their own half with centre half Tilt having more touches of the ball than anyone else on the pitch, and doing nothing with it.

After 3 cup defeats in 7 days, this was the Stags’ 4th league win on the trot.

Mansfield are now 16 league games unbeaten this season (8 wins and 8 draws) which continues to extend the club record for the longest unbeaten start to a league season (see club records here).

Only Mansfield and Portsmouth are unbeaten in the Premier League, EFL, and National League (including North and South), so that’s the top 6 tiers of English football.

Including last season, Mansfield are 17 league games unbeaten. The club record is 20, set in 1976.

Mansfield are 14 away league games unbeaten. The club record is 15, set in 2018-19 (stat from Paul Taylor).

Mansfield have also conceded the fewest goals in League Two this season (13 goals in 16 games).

Mansfield made two changes from the Wrexham FA Cup game: Macdonald and Maris came in for Cargill and Clarke.

Clarke is out for three or four weeks with a thigh strain.

McLaughlin didn’t make the squad and is out for three to four weeks with a groin strain.

Akins missed the game as expected with a small fracture just below his eye. There is a chance he may be back for the Newport game next Saturday. Nigel Clough said “Lucas had a little operation on Monday and felt a bit groggy after it. He is having a mask fitted this week and we will see how he is before Saturday.”

For news on Quinn and O’Toole see the injury round-up at the bottom of this report.

On the suspension front, Macdonald picked up his fifth yellow card in the league this season and will be suspended for one game (against Newport). I was not sure in commentary yesterday whether it would be a two game ban because of his red card against Crewe, but it seems it will not be, yellow and red card suspensions are considered separate.

Reed picked up his fourth yellow card in the league this season at Salford and if he picks up a fifth before the end of the 19th league game, he will be suspended for one game.

Salford brought in Matty Lund. Stags fans remember Lund who should have been sent off in the game here two seasons ago. Striker Matt Smith had just been named League Two player of the month. Luke Bolton was out injured, he had caused Mansfield problems with his pace before.

Salford were in good form after a poor start to the season. They had won 4, drawn 2 and lost 1 of their last 7 league games. And they had won 2 and drawn 1 of their last 3 home games, after losing 3 on the trot at home before that.

Mansfield had lost 2 and drawn 1 of the 3 games between these sides at Moor Lane. And that draw felt like a defeat as the Stags had needed to win it to keep chances of a top 3 place alive two seasons ago.

It was a sunny autumn day.

The Stags were in the navy blue third kit for the first time. I thought it looked very smart.

The Stags had the better of the chances in the opening 15 minutes.

After just 2 minutes, Salford keeper Alex Cairns attempted to throw the ball out, it hit Rhys Oates and the keeper was lucky it didn’t fall kindly for Oates. At the other end on 5 minutes, Ethan Ingram crossed from the byline and Matt Smith headed over the bar.

After 10 minutes, a great run from Oates, he cut inside and his shot was blocked. Then on 13 minutes, Flint crossed from the right, Oates was stretching to reach it at the far post and miscued wide. Not a bad chance that.

The Stags took the lead after 19 minutes. Brunt stepped out of defence to intercept a ball forward from Liam Shephard. He played a one-two with Keillor-Dunn, was tackled by Shephard, the loose ball fell for Lewis who slid a first time ball forward for Bowery on the edge of the area. Bowery cut inside and curled a wonderful shot into the right corner of the net from 16 yards. A great finish from Bowery, his second goal of the season, and those coming in consecutive league games.

Salford were level after 22 minutes. Ryan Watson curled a high ball from the left into the area, Brunt rose to head to away but it went over him, and Matt Smith outjumped Macdonald to head into the net from 8 yards.
It was a surprise to me that Flint wasn’t man marking Smith throughout. Nigel Clough told me afterwards that he told Flint to do so as they regrouped, either later in the half or at half time. Smith versus Macdonald in the air was only going to have one winner.

Reed was booked for a high boot after 30 minutes. His 4th booking of the season (see above).

Mansfield regained the lead after 37 minutes. Johnson played a one-two with Bowery on the right touchline and curled a great cross into the six-yard box which Keillor-Dunn met on the volley from 4 yards to turn it past the keeper. A poacher’s finish from Keillor-Dunn and just a wonderful cross from Johnson. Keillor-Dunn’s 9th goal of the season.

Pym prevented Salford making it 2-2 after 39 minutes. Luke Garbett curled a high cross into the middle from the left, Smith was again marked by Macdonald and Brunt, and headed down to Matty Lund, unmarked, 7 yards out. It seemed he must score but his powerful drive was miraculously clawed out one-handed by Pym on his line. An incredible save!

Macdonald was booked after 44 minutes for a late tackle. Macdonald will now be suspended for one game (see above).

On 45+2 minutes, Macdonald made a good tackle to put behind for a corner. Had he mistimed it, it could have been a second yellow. Lund headed the corner over the bar.

After 45+4 minutes, Oates made a good run forward to the edge of the area, his shot was parried by the keeper, and Keillor-Dunn couldn’t quite get to the rebound.

The Stags ahead at the break. Salford had knocked the ball around nicely, but really only hurt the Stags with balls into Matt Smith. The Stags had to get better marking him, and were to do so through Flint in the second half.

Half time 1-2

Salford started the second half strongly. Pym saved comfortably from Stephen Mallan after 46 minutes. Then Lund headed wide from a Garbett cross. Maris slid in to put in a great block on a Smith shot after 52 minutes.

Brunt blocked a shot from Elliot Watt after 57 minutes.

Bowery might have extended the Stags lead after 58 minutes. Johnson lifted a great ball forward for Bowery to run on to, and Bowery’s shot from the right was saved by the keeper with his legs.

Maris had an ever better chance to score after 64 minutes. Reed slid a superb ball forward to him on the edge of the area. Maris got past two defenders and just had the keeper to beat from 8 yards. The keeper was already going down, but Maris tried to take it round him and only succeeded in running the ball out of play. He probably should have dinked it over the keeper as the keeper went down.

Conor McAleny replaced Lund after 69 minutes and soon made things tick for Salford. It was a surprise he wasn’t on earlier or start the game. After 70 minutes his shot gave Pym a comfortable save. Two minutes later, Johnson did well to get back and stop McAleny when he was looking dangerous.

McAleny was brought down, 26 yards out in a central position after 76 minutes. Garbett sent the free kick well over the bar.

Pym made another brilliant save after 79 minutes. McAleny received the ball 35 yards out, took a couple of touches and blasted a powerful shot towards the roof of the net from 20 yards, and Pym parried it over the bar one-handed. Pym then punched away the resulting corner.

Salford sub Kelly Nmai headed over from a Declan John cross after 83 minutes.

Oates turned his man, stormed forward and was brought down for a free kick and a yellow card after 87 minutes. Lewis sent the free kick, from 25 yards out, into the wall, and deflected over for a corner.

Mansfield saw the game out with no more chances for the home side. Nigel Clough led the celebrations with the fans at full time.



Salford City 1-2 Mansfield Town
Smith (22'minutes)
Bowery (19'minutes), Keillor-Dunn (37'minutes)
Watson (22'minutes)
Lewis (19'minutes), Johnson (37'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media.

Mansfield moved into the League Two automatic promotion places with victory at Salford.

The Stags recorded a fourth straight league win as they preserved their unbeaten record in the fourth tier this season.

Nigel Clough's side - who are joined only by Portsmouth in not suffering a defeat in the Football League this term - landed the first blow when they took the lead in the 19th minute.

Jordan Bowery handed the visitors the upper hand when he advanced forward and finished emphatically beyond a helpless Alex Cairns.

However, their lead proved short-lived as the Ammies responded almost instantly thanks to the division's top scorer Matt Smith.

Named League Two player of the month for October, the 34-year-old rose highest to head home his 13th goal of the campaign.

Mansfield again re-established control, though, and they regained the lead before the interval through Davis Keillor-Dunn's volley from close range.

Salford should have secured another immediate reply, but Matthew Lund was thwarted by a miraculous reflex stop by Christy Pym.

And an inspired Pym handled the hosts' onslaught to protect a valuable three points in the Stags' promotion push.

Match Stats
Home Team Salford Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 65% Away 35%
Shots Home 18 Away 9
Shots on Target Home 7 Away 5
Corners Home 7 Away 4
Fouls Home 10 Away 13


First ever win for Mansfield Town at Salford City
chad.co.uk, Sat 11 Nov 2023

Mansfield Town dug deep to returned to winning ways as a 2-1 victory at Salford City lifted Nigel Clough’s side into the automatic promotion spots.

The Stags started the season with an impressive 19-game unbeaten run before slipped to three defeats on the spin in all competitions.

But Goals from Jordan Bowery and Davis Keillor-Dunn either side of a Matt Smith leveller ended that frustrating run as they won at Salford for the first time in front of a huge and delighted away following at the Peninsula Stadium

And, importantly, Mansfield clinched a fourth successive League Two win in the process to leapfrog Notts County into third.


After three losses in eight days in the EFL Cup, FA Cup and EFL Trophy, Stags started brightly as they set about providing a positive response.

And their early threat was rewarded when Jordan Bowery notched an impressive opener inside 20 minutes.

The forward advanced dangerously onto an Aaron Lewis pass before unleashing an emphatic strike into the top right corner past a helpless Salford stopper Alex Cairns.

However, celebrations were cut short when the hosts secured an immediate response thanks to League Two top scorer Matt Smith.

The division’s October Player of the Month rose highest to meet a pinpoint delivery and head beyond the reach of Christy Pym.

But a pendulum first half switched direction again when Mansfield regained the advantage thanks to Davis Keillor-Dunn’s ninth goal of the season.

An inviting Callum Johnson cross found the Stags’ leading marksman unmarked, who volleyed in emphatically from close range.

Salford again threatened an instant reply and should have equalised, if not for an exceptional reaction save by Pym.

The dangerous Smith teed up Matty Lund for what seemed a certain goal, but the keeper produced a miraculous stop to preserve a slender lead.

Bowery and George Maris came close to providing Stags some daylight, but the former was denied by Cairns and the latter overran his mazy run as he tried to go round Cairns.

The impressive Pym proved the difference as he thwarted the best efforts of Stevie Mallan and substitute Conor McAleny.

And Salford’s late onslaught proved in vain as Mansfield secured a hard-fought three points on the road as they preserved their unbeaten league record in 2023/24.

SALFORD: Cairns, Shephard (McLennan, 46), Ingram, Tilt, John, Garbutt, Watt, Watson, Mallan (Nmai, 69), Lund (McAleny, 69), Smith. SUBS NOT USED: Wright, Dackers, Pedro, Humbles.

STAGS: Pym, Johnson, Flint, Brunt, MacDonald (Cargill 89), Reed (Williams, 93), Maris, Clarke, Akins, Keillor-Dunn (Boateng, 82), Bowery, Oates (Gale, 93). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Swan, Flanagan.

REFEREE: Ross Joyce.

ATTENDANCE: 3,281 (1,173).



Matt Smith equalled his best league return in a season with a goal against Mansfield Town, but the Stags continued their unbeaten start to the league campaign with a 2-1 win at The Peninsula Stadium.


Salford may feel aggrieved after a very encouraging performance, and they fell behind to Jordan Bowery's curling effort in the 19th minute. However within three minutes the Ammies were level when Smith met Ryan Watson's cross in front of the away end.

Davis Keillor-Dunn's close range finish six minutes before the break restored Mansfield's lead, and ultimately turned out to be the winner thanks to goalkeeper Christy Pym's reactions. Before half-time he clawed a Matthew Lund effort off the line, and in the second half he denied Conor McAleny from the top of the box as Salford were frustrated by the league's tightest defence.

Defeat ends Salford's own run of five games without a loss, but Neil Wood felt the levels of performance were there despite the result.

"We played well, we dominated for large periods of the game. Miles better in what we've been working on, the messages and everything that we've been putting into the lads over the last couple of weeks.

"If anything we could have been a little bit better, a bit more clinical in the final third, delivered the ball better, delivered it earlier, but it's a really hard one today. We lose the game, but in terms of performance I thought we were well on top and I thought we played well.

"We had a fair few opportunities, it just needed some more forward runs which we spoke about, we needed to switch the ball quicker and deliver it into the box quicker when it was coming out wide.

"I feel we did enough to get back into the game, we've had some good chances, clear-cut chances. I thought their keeper made two or three great saves that kept them in it; one from Matthew Lund in the first half and one from Conor McAleny in the second half, then Kelly Nmai had a great opportunity towards the end."

Salford started brightly at a sunny, but chilly, Peninsula Stadium and immediately set the stall out to take the game to Mansfield and dominate proceedings. Fresh off winning the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month award for October Smith had the first chance of the game, heading an Ethan Ingram cross over after finding a rare bit of space in the box.

The visitors weren't finding much luck against a defence that hasn't conceded in over 180 minutes of league football, and Rhys Oates spurned a chance in the 13th minute as he shot wide from an Aden Flint cross. However the Stags did make the breakthrough shortly before the 20th minute, former Aston Villa striker Bowery curling in from the top of the box. Liam Shephard put in a well-timed challenge to stop Mansfield getting forward, but the ball bounced off Aaron Lewis with pace and landed fortunately for Bowery who brought it under control on the left, entered the box and put his shot into the top right beyond the reach of Alex Cairns.

Without hesitation Salford continued with their game plan, and there was little surprise about Smith notching the equaliser just a few minutes later. The left-hand side was being worked well with Watson afforded time and space to deliver for Smith, whose header beat Pym who may have been unsighted by the low sun glaring on his goal.

Still Salford controlled the game, but hadn't particularly created anymore clear cut chances before Mansfield again finished clinically. Callum Johnson worked his way up the right and pulled a low cross into the middle where Keillor-Dunn had made a run from deep and couldn't miss from a couple of yards out despite Cairns' presence.

Again Salford responded well and 90 seconds later Lund had a great chance to equalise again, driving a powerful shot down the middle of the goal, but Pym reacted and adjusted brilliantly to claw the effort away off the line. In first half stoppage time Watson then had a chance to pull Salford level as he stooped to meet a Luke Garbutt corner on the nearside of the goal, but he got underneath the attempt and headed over.

The home side came out briskly in the second half and within a minute Stevie Mallan hit a low shot from the top of the box that Pym got down to save, and Lund headed a Garbutt corner over from the middle of the box when left unmarked. McAleny's introduction gave the Ammies another fresh burst of life, and he came close to providing the leveller with a powerful effort from the top of the box that was rising into the top of the goal before Pym stuck a hand out to push that one over the bar with the subsequent corner cleared.

Fellow substitute Nmai also had a presentable opportunity when a Dec John cross from the left came to him qucikly, and he could only head over.

A first win at The Peninsula Stadium for Mansfield extends their unbeaten league run to 16 games, but the Ammies can be encouraged by this performance as they look ahead to Tuesday night's Emirates FA Cup First Round replay against Peterborough United, then next Saturday's trip to Gillingham.


Salford City struggle to find clinical edge in Mansfield Town defeat
salfordnow.co.uk, By Lewis Gray (Uni of Salford), 11th November 2023

Salford City couldn’t find their final gear as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Mansfield Town.

Goals from Jordan Bowery and Davis Keillor-Dunn gave the visitors all three points despite an equaliser from Matt Smith in the first half.


The Ammies started the day in 13th, having strung together a five-match unbeaten run, with the memories of seven defeats in a row firmly behind them.

Neil Wood made two changes, with Declan John and Matty Lund taking the places of Kelly N’Mai and an injured Adrian Mariappa

Mansfield Town entered the game as one of only two unbeaten sides remaining in England’s top four leagues but had lost their previous three matches, all in cup competition.

It was a quiet start for both sides, the first chance coming the way of Matt Smith, whose header went well over the bar. Rhys Oates should have opened the scoring for the Stags, but did not get enough contact on the ball, his effort going wide.

The Nottinghamshire club kept their intensity up and took the lead when Jordan Bowery beat his man and fired a curling effort past Alex Cairns.

Salford quickly responded. Smith, named EFL League Two player of the month for October, eventually got the better of his marker, driving his header home to level the scores.

Poor marking left Davis Keillor-Dunn free in the box to restore Mansfield’s lead against the run of play on 37 minutes and kept their lead intact when keeper Christy Pym clawed Matty Lund’s shot off the goalline moments later.

Nigel Clough’s side went into the half in front and soaked up any Salford pressure after the restart.

It was a quiet second half, with Aden Flint and Louis Reed doing well to nullify Smith’s aerial ability.

The Ammies could not create enough clear-cut chances, with Pym easily claiming any shot that went his way.

Wood’s changes added a spark with 10 minutes to go, Conor McAleny’s effort parried away and cleared whilst Kelly Nmai put a header well over the net as the clock ticked down.

Salford put all their force behind it but could just not find what they needed to get back level, much to the delight of the over 1000 travelling Stags.

The loss means Salford fall to 15th in the League Two table, whilst Mansfield rise into the automatic spots in third.

The Ammies have a quick turnaround as they welcome Peterborough to Moor Lane in an FA Cup replay on Tuesday night.