Stags look to pick up their away form as they take on struggling Rochdale


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Following the postponement of the Stevenage clash due to positive COVID-19 cases in the Boro squad, Mansfield Town hit the road again and travel up to the Crown Oil Arena to face the Dale.

Nigel Clough’s Stags have seen their promotion challenge halted ever so slightly following back-to-back league defeats for the first time since September.

Following a spirited fightback against Tranmere Rovers, where they came from behind twice, the amber and blues unfortunately recorded a 3-2 defeat and travelled to Staffordshire in midweek hoping to regain confidence with a positive result.

The game at Vale Park got off to a slow start, but against the run of play, Rhys Oates rounded Aidan Stone to slot the ball into an empty net and put Mansfield into a 1-0 lead.

It did not take long for Port Vale to level the game as Ben Garrity found James Wilson in space. The forward fired a low effort that went straight through the gloves of Nathan Bishop and into the bottom corner of the goal.

In the latter stages of the second half, substitute Kian Harratt fired in a double which handed the Valiants a 3-1 victory over a fellow promotion rival and moved them ahead of the Stags in the league table.

With that being said, the amber and blues are by all means not out of the promotion picture. As the season enters the final stretch, Clough will know how vital points will be in the battle at the top of the table and a positive result against a struggling side may be the perfect game to bounce back from two consecutive league defeats.

Rochdale welcome the Stags to Greater Manchester having not picked up a win in their last five league matches. The Dale last won a game at the end of February and currently languish in 19th place, nine points above the relegation zone.

Since their relatively bright start to the campaign, Robbie Stockdale’s side has endured a drop off in form which has resulted in them currently occupying a place in the bottom half of the League Two table.

After a midweek 1-1 draw against Salford City, the Dale travelled to the capital to take on fellow struggles, Leyton Orient.

The visiting Rochdale got off to a fantastic start after Alex Newby’s goal in the sixth minute. The O’s levelled the game up five minutes before the end of the first half as Paul Smyth got on the scoresheet.

Orient then ran away with proceedings in the second period as Ruel Sotiriou and the club’s top goalscorer Harry Smith completed the turnaround and handed the hosts a comfortable 3-1 win.

That defeat at the Breyer Group Stadium was the Dale’s third defeat in five games and saw both Carlisle United and Leyton Orient leap above them in the table.

Rochdale and Mansfield Town have faced each other close to 100 times in their all-time head-to-head with the first game between the two dies dating back to the 1930s.

However, they have only come up against each other once in the last five years in league action due to Rochdale plying their trade in League One up until their relegation to the fourth tier last season.

The reserve fixture at the One Call Stadium in September saw the sides not separated as they played out a 1-1 draw.

With the Stags’ last victory at the Crown Oil Arena coming back in 1997, can the amber and blues break their duck in Greater Manchester and return back to winning ways?

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