Mansfield Town travel to MK Dons in a last game decider


Both Mansfield and MK Dons enter this last game on 76 points with a draw being enough to see the Stags promoted to League One. MK Dons need to win this game if they want to make their way back to League One at the first time of asking.

Mansfield Town hosted Stevenage on the penultimate game of the season with the amber and blues needing three points and for results to go their way and they would be promoted to League One.

The first half wasn’t very exciting with the only good chance being CJ Hamilton sprinting past the Stevenage defence crossing for forward Tyler Walker who was intercepted by the Stevenage keeper Paul Farman.

The first half ended 0-0 with both sides looking comfortable to play the possession game.

In the second-half Mansfield looked to be more relaxed and played comfortably on the back foot which would eventually punish them in the 71st minute, Kurtis Guthrie opened the scoring for Stevenage with Ilias Chair recording a beautiful assist for the goal.

With only seven minutes to go plus stoppage time, Mansfield equalised through top goalscorer Tyler Walker but, lost the game in stoppage time due to an Ilias Chair volley that saw Mansfield stay up in the automatic promotion places on goal difference. Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft has looked ahead to what he describes as a ‘huge game that has huge significance,’ away to MK Dons on Saturday.

He said:

“Monday was a day of flushing the Stevenage result out,” he said, speaking in a news conference on Thursday morning. “I took full responsibility for that. I felt at 1-1, that the second goal was coming, but it never did and it left us exposed.

“It’s important now that we plan for a massive football game. You can’t hide from it. It’s a huge game that has huge significance.

“It’s up to us now to go there with a game plan and make sure that game plan is successful.

“We’ve been making sure that even though we’ve moved to a different training site [St. George’s Park], our stats are consistent to what we’ve done all season. It’s been a phenomenal season for this group of players.

“Goals do change games. It’s about what happens in the big moments [on Saturday]. The real significance is in the two boxes, defending at the highest level and then executing in that area if you’re a striker.

“It’s really important that in those moments we have high quality. I have players that will thrive in that environment.

“I was brought up to win. It’s the way we were brought up and that’s my character. You can’t change who you are, and you want your team to reflect that.”

MK Dons also played a league game last Saturday against Colchester in Essex with The Dons also needing three points which would seal their automatic promotion into League One.

Colchester opened the scoring in the second minute and stunned the visitors, Sammie Szmodics scoring the goal for the home side.

Frankie Kent sealed the three points for Colchester in the second half and MK Dons missed out yet again to go into the automatic promotion places.

They will need a strong performance against the Stags if they want to go up into League One. MK Dons manager Paul Tisdale believes the Dons supporters can play a crucial role in Saturday’s Winner Takes All encounter with Mansfield Town.

He said:

“They can make a heck of a difference,” the manager said in his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with Mansfield Town.

“After the disappointment and misery of the last few years, I’m glad we’re contributing to a good day for the supporters. We’ve got a lot of people coming to the game, it’ll be a big, big crowd and what a game to finish it.

“The supporters have been exceptional in their behaviour this season. Even with disappointments, they have been sensible and supportive of everything we have done. They have been really proper all season, and I hope we can give them some real enjoyment.”

Last time the two sides met was at the One Call Stadium in late October, a fiercely-contested game that ended with a 1-1 scoreline.

Midfielder Jacob Mellis found the net for the Stags with a stunning effort from the edge of the area in the first-half with the Dons hitting back a few minutes later in the 24th minute through Jordan Houghton.

Team News

The Stags will be without long term absentees Bobby Olejnik and Hayden White for the clash. Forwards Craig Davies and Jordan Graham will also miss out.

For the Dons, George Williams and Joe Walsh could be available for the game.



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