Friday, 14th August 2015: Notts County 0, Mansfield Town 2

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Mansfield Town produced a magnificent performance to win 2-0 in the first local derby of the season at Notts County tonight.

Chris Clements put Stags ahead on 36 minutes before Ryan Tafazolli headed the second on 81 minutes to alleviate the nerves.

But the winning margin was thoroughly deserved as Adam Murray’s men earned their first victory of the campaign and, overnight, went top of League Two.

Stags got stuck in from the opening minutes and dominated the first half away to a Magpies side that had won their opening two games.

Mitchell Rose and Clements were superb in midfield, the back four heroic and Matt Green a tireless runner up front.

Also heroic were the 2,767 following from Mansfield, who sang their hearts out all night and gave their team the perfect backing a year after they booed them at Meadow Lane during a JPT tie.

Mansfield were given a massive boost when Green was passed fit from a slight knock and came in as one of five changes.

Also restored to the side after the midweek Capital One Cup defeat at Sheffield Wednesday were Mitchell Rose, Krystian Pearce and Reggie Lambe.

There was also a debut in goal for summer signing Brian Jensen after Scott Shearer was taken ill.

Also out from midweek went Craig Westcarr, Corbin Shires, Jack Thomas and Chris Beardsley.

The sides emerged to a fantastic atmosphere with both sets of fans in full cry.

Inevitably the early stages were all about getting stuck in and Rose was unhappy with the first tackle one him while on three minutes tempers flared after a crunching challenge by Nathan Thomas saw Sprockel rolling around in agony, Thomas shown a yellow card.

But on six minutes the visitors should have gone ahead after Audel gifted the ball to Chapman. He found Green who set up Nathan Thomas in front of goal, but Carroll got his body in the way and the ball flew up and hit the bar.

Mansfield pressed forward well and Notts could barely get out their own half for the first 15 minutes.

It took the Magpies 18 minutes to threaten as a Hunt clearance clipped Pearce and landed in the path of Jenner who whipped a powerful shot wide of the sidenetting on the right.

On 21 minutes Sprockel was booked for handling on the edge of the box as Green tried to flick the ball over his head. Tafazolli was then booked for trying to block off Carroll and getting involved with the keeper for a second time.

When the free kick was finally taken Benning was too high.

On 26 minutes Jenner crossed from the left and, despite the challenge of Pearce, Stead managed to guide the ball on target, Jensen in the right position.

Chapman sent a low shot wide of the home net while Sprockel was too high from a half-cleared Jenner free kick as the two sides continued to slug it out.

But the visitors broke the deadlock on 36 minutes. Clements and Green passed their way superbly into the box with Green finally feeding Clements for a low finish just inside the left post.

Notts made a double change at the break, Spencer and Burke on for Thompson and De Silva.

But within three minutes they had to use their final sub as Hollis replaced a limping Sprockel.

A minute later Benning failed to cut out a cross towards Jenner and Jensen had to be brave to smother at his feet.

At the other end, Green set up Thomas for a shot from a right angle that Carroll was forced to turn round at the near post.

The action flowed end to end as Spencer hoisted the ball over Benning to make space for a shot that was lobbed well over.

On 53 minutes County’s best move so far saw Stead send Jenner in on goal, Jensen smothering his low finish.

Green was inches away from being able to reach a Jack Thomas cross from the left and head home from close range on 67 minutes.

But Notts were starting to come into the game more and more and it took a fantastic sliding interception from Benning right in front of goal as Spencer threw himself towards an inviting low Burke cross.

Spencer then collided with Jensen and both needed treatment.

When the corner came over, stead was inches over on the turn. But we had reached 70 minutes and Stags still held the lead, the visitors wasting as much time as they could to the anger of the home fans.

Green left the pitch to huge applause on 76 minutes as Beardsley came on for the final furlong.

Aborah was just too high from distance on 79 minutes after Jack Thomas had slipped over and gifted him the ball.

Stags needed a second goal to ease the nerves. And it came with nine minutes to go. Benning hoisted a long free kick from the left and Tafazolli rose to head home just inside the post.

After the away celebrations died down, trouble erupted behind the goal where the majority of the home fans were sat.

Adams was well wide for the desperate home side as we neared the end.

Four minutes were added in which Spencer headed at Jensen and Stead headed over as Stags ended the night with a marvellous clean sheet to put the icing on the cake.

NOTTS COUNTY: Carroll, Adams, Bennett, Thompson (Spencer HT), Noble, De Silva (Burke HT), Jenner, Stead, Audel, Sprockel (Hollis 48), Aborah. Subs not used: Snijders, Sharpe, Loach, Campbell.

MANSFIELD TOWN: Jensen, Benning, Rose (McGuire 85), Pearce, Chapman, Clements, Green (Beardsley 76), N. Thomas (J. Thomas 54), Tafazolli, Hunt, Lambe. Subs not used: Westcarr, Yussuf, Caton, Marsden.

REFEREE: Tim Robinson of West Sussex.

ATTENDANCE: 10, 074 (2767 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Mitch Rose.