SUPERB SINCLAIR AND AHMED SEE OFF SALISBURY
Mansfield Town 3 - 0 Salisbury City
Sinclair 19, Ahmed 36 (pen), Stallard 89. Sangare sent off 35.
Attendance: 1921 (64 from Salisbury)
Attendance stat: Lowest league crowd at Field Mill since March, against Hereford.
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
STAGS END SLUMP
Mansfield Town 3 Salisbury City 0
McEwan's Mansfield bounced back from their FA Cup exit to record their first win in 6 League games. Stags ran out winners by three goals to nil against a Salisbury City side who on 35 minutes saw defender, Sangare deservedly sent off for a foul on Sinclair. The Defender's recklessness resulted in The Stags 2nd goal, a penalty slotted away perfectly by loan signing, Adnan Ahmed.
The result moved Mansfield away from the danger zone of the BSP up to 19th position and just three points away from their visitors.
Emile Sinclair proved the catalyst for Mansfield with a deserving Man of the match performance that saw him score the first and win the penalty for the 2nd. When substituted late in the 2nd half, he received a standing ovation from the Field Mill faithful.
Salisbury though can be grateful to their keeper, James Bittner who made a string of fine saves to keep his side within reach of the game, but he was powerless late on when Mark Stallard blasted his eighth goal of the season to finally put the game to bed.
Former Stags player, Darrell Clarke though was the first to cause concern when following a flick on from a corner by Sangare, he reacted well but saw his header go narrowly wide of the mark.
The visitor's had begun the game the more dangerous of the two sides, making a mockery of their seemingly low confidence with Davis and Herring both having attempts on the Stags goal.
Stags began to get into the game with Bittner having to save close range from the bustling play of Jason Lee after a deep free kick from Jeannin.
Mansfield broke the deadlock on 18 minutes when defensive uncertainties were capitalised on by the niftiness of Emile Sinclair. Matt Somner cleared the ball from midfield and when City defender, Scott Bartlett failed to react quickly, in nipped Sinclair. As he raced into the area with the ball at his right foot, Sinclair then neatly turned the ball onto his left leaving the defenders bemused before unleashing a left foot shot that nestled into the bottom right hand corner of the net. It was a superbly well taken goal and was greeted with rapturous approval.
Stags went a further goal in front on 35 minutes and again, Sinclair was at the heart of it speedily popping up between two defenders to rain in towards goal. Just when it looked as if Sinclair was about to finish he was crudely tripped by Sangare giving the Referee no other option but to award a spot-kick and to produce a straight red card for the City player.
With Stallard still on the bench the decision of who to take the kick was given to loan signing, Adnan Ahmad. The young midfielder on loan from Tranmere Rovers made no mistake to score his first goal for Mansfield.
With the half time interval fast approaching, Nathan Arnold showed great skill to bring down a long right wing cross, unfortunately his attempted lob was slightly off the mark and the ball ended up on the roof of the netting.
Any thoughts of Stags being on easy street were quickly dismayed on the stroke of half time when a free kick from City's Robert Sinclair was fumbled on his line by Stags keeper, Paddy Gamble. The young keeper failed to hold onto the ball but thankfully the Stags defence was alive and hastily cleared the ball away from danger.
The half time chit-chat amongst the supporters was just how The Stags would approach the 2nd period. They were two goals to the good against a team that were down to ten men. Would Stags go gung-ho? Or be a little reserved?
Within the first minute Mansfield should have been three goals to the good. Arnold floated over a perfect cross for the head of Sinclair but inexplicably just four yards from goal, the Stags striker misjudged the header and the ball flew well wide.
Good work on the byline by Jason Lee created the next opportunity for the Stags, but his driven cross seemed to smack O'Hare on the head rather than be placed and a City defender cleared the ball from close to the goal-line.
On 55 minutes the visitor's broke with skill and speed and Robert Sinclair was unlucky to see his effort slide across the face of goal.
Stags were trying to brake down a resolute looking City side but as the game worse on, tiredness began to come into play. On 71 minutes they were grateful for the athleticism of Bittner in goal as he denied a Stallard header. Stallard had earlier replaced Lee. Arnold was next to go close with an effort that cleared the crossbar as Mansfield went in search of a goal that would finally kill off any thoughts City had of getting back into the game.
Mark Stallard, obviously keen to impress cleverly chested a Gary Silk cross down, wrong footing a couple of defenders, but Bittner was equal to his 12 yard blast.
Stallard was not to be denied though and scored his eighth goal of the season with just two minutes to go of the 90. Bittner had again done well to save from both Arnold and Hurren but was powerless to stop the predatory Stallard from firing the ball into the top corner of the net.
With five minutes time being added on, Arnold almost created a Stags fourth, but after doing well on the byline his low cross was missed by O'Connor.
In the end it was a satisfying result for Mansfield who now face the prospect of two long trips in the coming weeks as they take on struggling Forest Green Rovers before travelling to Weymouth.
Observer Man of the match – A close call between Sinclair and Ahmed, both who impressed but the award goes to Sinclair for being a thorn in the Salisbury side.
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