Jordan Bowery the hero as Stags secure a slim victory over Rochdale to get back to winning ways


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An important away win was achieved as Mansfield Town beat Rochdale 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Jordan Bowery in the 86th minute.

The amber and blues needed to win their postponed fixture against the Dale to remain in the hunt for a promotion spot. They delivered that with a scrappy performance at times, however, a win is a win and it moves them closer to the play-offs and automatic promotion once more.

Nigel Clough made some personnel changes ahead of the clash in Greater Manchester as John-Joe O’Toole and James Perch partnered up at the heart of the defence, Matty Longstaff and Stephen Quinn returned to the midfield and Oli Hawkins linked up with Rhys Oates upfront.

The match started off very slowly as the two sides looked to get a spell of possession under their belts and steadily build their way up towards goal.

Oates had the first shot on target of the game as he fired a shot goalwards from outside the box, however, it was a tame effort that Jay Lynch comfortably saved.

Moments later, Stephen McLaughlin delivered one of his signature crosses. The ball found Hawkins but the forward’s tame effort failed to trouble the goalkeeper.

Tahvon Campbell had a brilliant chance to get a shot away after an Elliott Hewitt mistake. The forward robbed the ball off the Stags full-back but failed to keep his effort down as it went over the crossbar.

Rochdale continued to ask questions of the Mansfield defence as they put the visitors under pressure. Max Clark drilled the ball across the face of goal looking to find a teammate with none of the Dale players attacking it.

After it was partially cleared by the amber and blues, James Ball saw the ball land at his feet but saw his effort blocked.

At the epicentre of everything good for the Stags was Oates as he looked to link-up play, fire in crosses and take some shots of his own.

The best chance of the half fell to Murphy who fired a lovely curling effort but it failed to hit the target as the two sides went into the break level at 0-0.

Clough reshuffled the formation for the second half as Hawkins stepped into a three-man backline alongside Perch and O’Toole with Hewitt and McLaughlin operating as wing-backs and Murphy moving upfront.

Matt Done was a dangerman for the Dale in the second half as he found pockets of space and had a few chances. However, his efforts did not really trouble Nathan Bishop and the clock ticked down with the score still at 0-0.

In the 58th minute, Ryan Stirk picked out the Murphy who looked destined to open the scoring. Unfortunately, the forward did not do enough as the Rochdale defence recovered quickly to stop him from shooting.

Lynch was forced into making a quick reaction save after Murphy clipped the ball into Oates who powerful drove the ball goalwards but the Rochdale goalkeeper was alert to the danger and palmed the ball away.

Stags’ number seven had another fantastic opportunity as Matty Longstaff picked him out. The angle was against him however and his effort clipped the outside of the post with the amber and blues getting more and more closer to a goal.

Alex Newby and Conor Grant both had chances blocked or easily saved by Bishop as the match was won with four minutes of normal time left.

O’Toole intercepted the ball and found the run of Oates. The forward intelligently ran towards the byline and crossed it into the box for Bowery to power home.

Rochdale threw the kitchen sink at the amber and blues for the final minutes of the game but Mansfield held onto the win and earn a big three points.

Ultimately, the performance did not matter as a scrappy game from the Stags’ perspective saw them pick up a victory on the road and close the gap on the promotion places.

For the Dale, they record their second consecutive defeat and will be hoping to pick up results in the final nine games of the campaign to avoid a shock relegation.

Mansfield Town now take on another away trip with relegation-threatened Oldham Athletic welcoming the amber and lues to Boundary Park this weekend.

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