STAGS WIN 4-0 AT FOREST GREEN
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Forest Green Rovers 0 - 4 Mansfield Town
Clarke 11, 90+7, Nichols 69, Swan 78
Attendance: 2,240 (604 from Mansfield)
Date: 10 February 2024
Martin Shaw at the New Lawn
Mansfield Town won 4-0 at Forest Green Rovers yesterday. This was the bottom club versus the club in second and a 4-0 victory suggests a routine win for the team near the top. But for 69 minutes of this game it was anything but that. Forest Green with a competent new manager now in charge after two dreadful appointments previously, and with several impressive new signings, played very well and with great spirit, and things could have been different if they had turned their good play into a goal or two.
The Stags led 1-0 early on with a goal from Ollie Clarke. But then for long periods, Forest Green impressed albeit without creating too many clearcut chances. On 69 minutes, the game swung decisively. At one end, Emmanuel Osadebe, who had a fine game for the home side, sent a scorching shot straight at Christy Pym from 15 yards. The Stags broke straight to the other end and Tom Nichols scored his first goal for the Stags with a fine finish on his first start. That made it 2-0 and broke the home side’s spirit. Forest Green manager Steve Cotterill described it after the game: “the second one broke our hearts because it sort of stopped our running, stopped our landing on second balls and stopped our competing.”
After that, the Stags added two more goals with Will Swan scoring and Ollie Clarke adding his second goal of the game, a cracker, to cap a man of the match performance.
Both managers noted after the game that 4-0 flattered Mansfield, and it did, but this was a fine result for the Stags with four really good goals.
Mansfield made two changes from the side that started against Notts County: Baily Cargill wasn’t fit enough to start against his former club having been ill with the flu virus earlier in the week and not trained. He was replaced by Jordan Bowery who returned from suspension and slotted in at left back. And Tom Nichols came in for his first start, in place of Lucas Akins up front. Nigel Clough explained after the game why he went with Nichols and Swan up front rather than Akins: “We thought the smaller, more agile, nimble lads would cause the three centre-halves a few more problems and it couldn’t have worked out better. Tom’s scored and Will’s got one today.”
Forest Green appointed Steve Cotterill as their new manager recently. An experienced manager after two disastrous appointments in rookies David Horseman and Troy Deeney. Cotterill has moved quickly to bring in some excellent signings, especially Christian Doidge up front and Richard Keogh in central defence, the spine of the team. Keogh hadn’t played for a few weeks and looked a little rusty but will be a good addition for the rest of the season I think.
It was a pleasant sunny day and the pitch was in good condition despite plenty of rain during the week.
The Stags took the lead after 11 minutes. Following a corner, Louis Reed crossed high from the right, Aden Flint rose high to head it back and down, and Ollie Clarke sent a crisp low shot from 20 yards into the bottom left corner of the net. A great finish from Clarke.
For the remainder of the half, Forest Green had the Stags under spells of pressure, with multiple corners and crosses. The Stags defended well but created next to nothing going forward.
Mansfield were much better in the second half. And chances now started coming: Maris side-footed just over the bar from 18 yards, Swan cut inside on the edge of the area and forced a save at full stretch from the keeper, and the keeper then made another good save from Swan but he had to be stretchered off moments later.
The game swung decisively in Mansfield’s favour after 69 minutes. Following a Forest Green corner, a shot from Dom Thompson from 20 yards was blocked by Williams, out to Charlie McCann who headed down to Emmanuel Osadebe, who turned and sent a scorching shot straight at Christy Pym from 15 yards. The Stags broke straight to the other end, Reed lifted a ball down the right channel, Swan chased after it, got to it quicker than Keogh, turned and fed back to Nichols who was on the edge of the area, running into the area. Nichols took a touch before firing low and hard into the bottom left corner of the net. I was right behind his shot and it was a fine finish with the keeper narrowing the angle and not much of the goal to aim at.
This was the critical goal that decided the game.
A Forest Green fan in front of me in the main stand took exception to my commentary of the goal and shouted quite a rant at me, which you can hear in the background on the goals video (minus some choice language muted out).
Akins and Quinn were on the touchline waiting to come on for Nichols and Keillor-Dunn as the goal went in!
They did come on 4 minutes later.
And Akins was straight into the action with an assist for the third goal after 78 minutes. Pym’s kick out to the right was brilliantly flicked on by Clarke, into the path of Akins. Akins got into the area on the right, and pulled it across to Swan who hit it first time low into the bottom right corner of the net. A clinical finish from Swan, his second goal in successive away games and he’s starting to get back to his form of last season. Great play from Akins. And Clarke too. Clarke won plenty of those headers all afternoon.
More great play from Akins after 85 minutes with a square ball to Boateng, just on as sub, but Boateng sent his first time shot over the bar.
Pym made a brilliant save from a Kyle McAllister scissors kick after 90+4 minutes. Pym didn’t have much to do but once again what he had to do he did expertly.
The Stags turned it into a rout making it 4-0 after 90+7 minutes. Sub Lewis played a ball down the right for Akins, Akins again got into the area on the right and pulled the ball back for Clarke who hit a tremendous shot across the keeper and into the left corner of the net from 15 yards. A screamer from Clarke, his second goal of the game.
The scoreline was certainly harsh on Forest Green. The Stags deserved the win in the end but not by 4-0. Forest Green are 9 points adrift of safety and have so much to do to avoid relegation but with their spirit and the quality of Doidge and others, they will pick up plenty of points between now and the end of the season, but perhaps not enough to stay up. Had Cotterill been in charge all season, with that squad, I don’t think they would be in the bottom two.
For the Stags, a great result, and two wins on the trot after those four games without a win in January. The Stags remain in second place. Ollie Clarke was my man of the match, not only for his two excellent goals but his all-round display. The Stags defence was very solid, limiting Forest Green to few chances despite them putting Mansfield under pressure. Nichols and Swan both got goals, great for Nichols on his first start since joining from Gillingham, and great for Swan starting to return to form. And a word for Akins too, who made quite an impact from the bench with two assist and setting up another great chance for Boateng.
The next game is against Harrogate at the One Call Stadium on Tuesday. Since Mansfield beat Harrogate 4-1 towards the end of October, Harrogate have taken 28 points from 15 games and propelled themselves above Notts County, Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon into the play-off positions. I didn’t see that coming and it is an enormous credit to them. They will not be an easy nut to crack. They will sit behind the ball and it’s imperative Mansfield don’t gift them a goal to hang on to. The Stags, and the fans, might need to be patient in trying to break them down. If you haven’t got a ticket for the game, why not get a ticket in the North Stand? If you can’t make it to the game, you can buy a match pass to watch it with us on iFollow Stags.
DETAILED REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
SAT 10 FEB 2024, LEAGUE TWO
Forest Green Rovers 0-4 Mansfield Town
O Clarke (11'minutes, 90'+7minutes), Nichols (69'minutes), Swan (78'minutes)
Swan (69'minutes), Akins (78'minutes, 90'+7minutes)
Report supplied by PA Media.
Mansfield Town stayed in the automatic promotion race with a 4-0 win at struggling Forest Green.
A double from Ollie Clarke, as well as goals from Tom Nichols and Will Swan, helped the Stags to victory despite a resurgent first-half performance by Steve Cotterill's Rovers.
Forest Green had new signing Richard Keogh making his debut, but Mansfield took the lead after 11 minutes when Aden Flint cushioned a header into the path of the oncoming Clarke, who hammered into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
The visitors were almost gifted a second from a loose back pass but Clarke and Swan were both denied by Luke Daniels.
Nichols made it two when he ran on to Swan's pass before cutting inside to hammer an effort into the far corner after 69 minutes.
Swan then added a third after 78 minutes after Lucas Akins' low cross found the forward six yards out and he turned home right-footed at the near post.
Clarke completed the rout when he added a fourth with a fine right-footed finish that found the top corner.
Home Team Forest Green Away Team Mansfield
Possession Home 50% Away 50%
Shots Home 19 Away 13
Shots on Target Home 5 Away 8
Corners Home 10 Away 7
Fouls Home 5 Away 9
Mansfield Town coast to victory at bottom club Forest Green Rovers
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Sat 10 Feb 2024
Magnificent Mansfield Town kept up the pressure at the top of League Two with a convincing 4-0 victory at basement boys Forest Green Rovers.
Two-goal captain Ollie Clarke fired the visitors in front early on at The New Lawn and the Stags never looked back.
Second-half goals from Tom Nichols, his first for the club on his full debut, Will Swan and a second from Clarke secured successive victories for the first time since Boxing Day.
Clough made two changes from the side which beat fellow promotion-chasers Notts County last time out.
Jordan Bowery came in for Baily Cargill at left-back, whilst Nichols made his full Stags’ debut as he replaced Lucas Akins.
Both sides went close in the opening exchanges.
Swan had the first chance of the game, fiirng wide, before Emmanuel Osadebe’s powerful shot was well blocked by George Williams.
But the visitors hit the front after just 11 minutes through captain Clarke.
Aden Flint knocked Louis Reed’s delightful delivery into the path of Clarke, who expertly fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Matt Stevens saw his shot deflected wide of the mark as the hosts tried to force their way back into the contest.
The Stags stood firm to go into the break one goal ahead.
Clough’s side charged out of the blocks after half-tine as George Maris fired over from 20 yards out.
Tom Nichols nets on his full debut during the Sky Bet League 2 match against Forest Green Rovers FC at the Fully Charged New Lawn, 10 Feb 2024
And moments later Swan forced Luke Daniels into a great save after fashioning himself a decent chance.
Daniels needed to be even better on the hour mark with an excellent double stop.
First he denied Clarke a second before he tipped Swan’s strike over from the rebound.
But that was his last input on the afternoon as he was stretchered off after keeping out Swan.
Crucially, Nichols broke his duck for the club with a precise effort after being teed up by strike partner Swan with 20 minutes to go and Mansfield were firmly in the driving seat.
And Swan got his deserved goal eight minutes later as substitute Akins raced down the right and slipped the ball into his path to add the third with a first time finish.
Clarke added the gloss as he slammed home his second seven minutes into nine minutes of stoppage time, the lively Akins again providing the assist.
FOREST GREEN: Daniels (Searle, 64), Inniss, Keogh, Robson, Dabo (Jones, 73), Osadebe, McCann, Thompson (Bernard, 74), McAllister, Stevens (Omotoye, 84), Doidge. SUBS NOT USED: Oyedele, Bunker, Brown.
STAGS: Pym, Williams (McLaughlin, 81), Flint, Brunt, Bowery, Maris (Boateng, 81), Reed, Clarke, Keillor-Dunn (Quinn, 73), Michols (Akins, 73), Swan (Lewis, 80). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, Cargill.
REFEREE: Sunny Gill
ATTENDANCE: 2,240 (604 away).
by Jake Williams
Forest Green Rovers were defeated 4-0 by Mansfield Town at The New Lawn.
Rovers picked up a point last time out after an entertaining 3-3 draw at Colchester, while the Stags were 1-0 victors at home against Notts County.
An early over-the-top ball saw Christian Doidge get the better of two defenders, with his shot seemingly hitting the hand of goalkeeper Christy Pym outside the area, but the referee wasn’t interested.
A minute later, Mansfield had their first effort at goal, but Will Swan could only watch his shot fly past the post.
In the sixth minute, Rovers had another good opportunity, with Manny Osadebe striking after some pinball in the box, but George Williams’ block kept the game goalless.
11 minutes in, the visitors took the lead. After Luke Daniels superbly turned an effort on goal wide, the resulting corner was headed down by Aden Flint into the path of Ollie Clarke on the edge of the box, and he fired into the bottom corner.
Shortly after, a brilliant ball into the box from Fankaty Dabo was almost turned into his own goal by Flint, who saw his header whistle past the woodwork.
After end-to-end action with chances coming thick and fast, the game did start to settle, but it was Forest Green that were looking the far more dangerous of the two teams, building some nice passages of play that just lacked the end product. Despite the scoreline, it was a feeling of positivity heading into the break.
Immediately after the restart, a run down the right-hand side from Swan saw him cut inside and pull it back to George Maris, but his shot sailed over the bar.
Minutes later, it was Swan who was once again a threat going forward, this time shooting and forcing Daniels into a save at full-stretch.
In the 56th minute, McAllister tried his luck with a first-time volley from the edge of the area. He connected well, but it was straight at Pym.
Just before the hour mark, a misplaced pass set Clarke away, but Daniels came out well to deny him. The ball then came out to Swan, but his follow up was once again saved by a scrambling Daniels. However, the Rovers keeper picked up an injury in the process and was unable to continue, meaning a league debut for Jamie Searle.
A Forest Green corner after 68 minutes led to a couple of chances. The first from Thompson was blocked, but the second from Osadebe made its way through the crowd, but only into the arms of Pym.
60 seconds later, the Stags doubled their lead. Swan played Tom Nichols through, and his low curling effort found the far corner.
Rovers almost responded straight away through Doidge, but his attempt on goal was easy enough for Pym.
With just over 10 minutes left, Mansfield made it three. Substitute Lucas Akins sent a low cross into the box, and it was turned home by Swan from close range.
Four minutes into an additional nine, McAllister attempted an acrobatic overhead kick after controlling it well on his chest, and forced a reaction save from Pym who tipped it over the bar.
With two minutes to play, it was 4-0. Akins played the ball to Clarke, who curled it into the top corner and got his second of the game.
Forest Green: Daniels (G/K) (Searle 63’); Inniss (C), Keogh, Robson; Dabo (Jones 73’), McCann, Osadebe, Thompson (Bernard 73’), McAllister; Stevens (Omotoye 84’), Doidge
Mansfield: Pym (G/K); Williams (McLaughlin 80’), Flint (C), Brunt, Bowery; Reed, Maris (Boateng 80’), Clarke; Keillor-Dunn (Quinn 73’); Swan (Lewis 80’), Nichols (Akins 73’)
Attendance: 2,240 (604)
Star Man: Emmanuel Osadebe.
gloucestershirelive.co.uk, By Alfie Ryan
Forest Green Rovers boss Steve Cotterill said that “we were the better team for 60 minutes by a mile" after his side’s 4-0 home defeat against Mansfield Town.
The visitors opened the scoring after just 11 minutes when Ollie Clarke’s volleyed effort found the bottom left corner past Luke Daniels.
Rovers were on top after the goal up until the Stags’ second.
Mansfield doubled their lead after 68 minutes when Tom Nichols’ strike found the bottom left corner after a pass from Swan.
The Stags scored their third goal in the 78th minute through Will Swan, assisted by Lucas Akins.
The three points went back to Nottinghamshire after a fourth from Mansfield and a second by Clarke, after he was there to easily tap home, assisted once more by Akins.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Mansfield around the top of the table come May.
Forest Green remain nine points away from safety despite Doncaster’s 2-1 win over Tranmere Rovers. Grimsby Town’s 3-0 loss to Stockport keeps the Rovers the same gap adrift.
On the gap remaining the same, Cotterill said: “I suppose that is a bonus, it is just a dent confidence wise. There have been improvements, I feel that.”
Rovers’ next game is a trip to Barrow in the week which is set to be a very tough test on paper with the Bluebirds sat fourth.
Ahead of what can be done before Tuesday’s game, the Rovers boss said: “This week will be all about rest and recuperation really so no there isnt anything that we can do where we will change anything majorly.”
Forest Green Rovers: Daniels (Searle 63); Inniss, Keogh, Robson; Dabo (Jones 73), McCann, Osadebe, Thompson (Bernard 73), McAllister; Stevens (Omotoye 84), Doidge.
Mansfield Town: Pym; Williams (McLaughlin 81), Flint, Brunt, Bowery; Maris (Boateng 81), Reed, Clarke, Keillor-Dunn (Quinn 73); Nichols (Akins 73), Swan (Lewis 80).
Referee: Sunny Gill.
Attendance: 2240 (604 away).