Promotion hopeful Mansfield head to mid-table Northampton Town


Mansfield Town travel to Northampton Town on Saturday with only five games to go left in the league season and both teams wanting to end their seasons on a good winning streak.

Mansfield Town head into the game on the back of another great victory against Cambridge United.

The Stags rarely threatened during the first half but clever link-up play between substitute Jacob Mellis and Tyler Walker led to the latter nestling a low shot into the bottom corner on 63 minutes. The vital win meant Mansfield added three points to their promotion cause, allowing them to leap-frog MK Dons into second-place.

Mansfield Town boss David Fltcroft was over the moon with the effort that his team put in against the U’s. He said:

“It meant so much to the players to keep the clean sheet. You just have to look at Tyler’s contribution, too. It was a red hot finish and there was a calmness and clarity to his work.

“The lads were thankful to him for that [winning goal]. We have a really honest group.

“Ben Turner at half-time, we had a chat, and he had a little bit of a calf injury. One thing he said to me is ‘gaffer I don’t want to let you down.’

“That’s what it means to the players. Sweens then came on, and I thought Ryan Sweeney was brilliant.

“[Jacob] Mellis came on and made an absolute difference by getting the ball down and getting us playing. He gave us a calmness.

“Everyone played a part. Danny [Rose] has come on and he gave us everything he had. The three substitutes made a difference.”

The hosts faced Notts County at Meadow Lane last weekend with the Cobblers producing a dominant performance.  The Magpies opened the scoring in the 27th minute through midfielder Mitch Rose. Northampton levelled the scoring just before half-time, Daniel Powell equalising for the Cobblers. In the 46 minute, County goalkeeper Ryan Schofield was shown a straight red and the two teams scoring in quick succession and the score finishing 2-2 with both teams taking one point away from the tough contested tie.

Northampton manager Keith Curle was left frustrated after not gaining maximum points against Notts County but, praised his players focus. He said:

“With the chances and the man advantage that we had, I’d definitely say it’s two points dropped,” he said.

“We had some great opportunities to win the game in the second half and it’s always good to see the set pieces you have worked on come off.

“The players have had a good week and I thought their focus was excellent but you are always at your most vulnerable when you have just scored.

“They have responded to me personally very well and the individual application has been very good. They have listened and I’ve been impressed with their concentration levels.

“I think it’s unfair to start talking about next season just yet, we have got five games to go and we need to put in five more performances.

“We want to build a platform in which we can take this football club forward.

“It was a phenomenal turn out from the fans again and that is another thing that gives us a great foundation from which to build.”

Last time these two met in the league was in September. After a fantastic game played by the Stags the game ended in a great 4-0 victory for Mansfield. Timi Elsnik opened the scoring for Mansfield in the fifth minute and another three goals added in the second half, a brace from Danny Rose and a goal from CJ Hamilton secured all three points in an emphatic style for the Stags.

Team News

Mansfield Town still have a large amount of players injured. Hayden White, Bobby Olejnik, Jordan Graham and Craig Davies have been out for most of this season. Nicky Ajose was added to that injury list as confirmed by David Flitcroft last week. Jorge Grant and Ben Turner are doubtful for this game as they have picked up small injuries that they have carried for a long time.

Cobblers’ on-loan defender George Cox can possibly return in this fixture after ankle ligament damage that has sidelined him since January 19 and also 20 year-old midfielder Shaun McWilliams may return after a series of repeated hamstring strains kept him out of the Notts County fixture. If both players return, Curle will have a full-strength squad to pick from against second-placed Mansfield.


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