REPORT: Rochdale 0-1 Mansfield Town - Maris comes off the bench to earn Stags a win

George Maris heads the winning goal at Rochdale. Photo Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.mediaGeorge Maris heads the winning goal at Rochdale. Photo Chris Holloway / The Bigger
George Maris heads the winning goal at Rochdale. Photo Chris Holloway / The Bigger
Mansfield Town got back to winning ways as super-sub George Maris came off the bench to fire the Stags to a 1-0 victory at struggling Rochdale.

Maris sent the Stags back into the coveted play-off spots with his first league goal since the start of September.

After three defeats in four league outings, Nigel Clough was desperate to get back on the horse.

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And it was another fine away performance as they secured a sixth win on the road in all competitions.

Clough made four changes from the side which lost to Mark Hughes’ ten-man Bradford City on Tuesday night.

Kieran Wallace, Oli Hawkins, Stephen Quinn and Lucas Akins were the quintet to return as Kellan Gordon, Riley Harbottle, Maris and Will Swan were replaced.

Swan, who scored in mid-week, was a last-minute withdrawal from the match-day squad as James Gale took his place on the bench.

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The Stags started strongly and were unfortunate not to be ahead before the break as Rochdale’s resolute defence held firm.

Akins and Elliott Hewitt saw efforts blocked as they tried to break the lowly hosts down.

Clough’s charges were further frustrated as Dale cleared a goalmouth scramble, which saw George Lapslie and Hewitt both go close.

Returning Quinn curled a strike over the bar as the Stags continued to pile on the pressure.

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Anthony Hartigan fired agonisingly wide of the mark as the game headed towards half-time.

Oli Hawkins squandered a great chance on the stroke of the break as he thundered a header wide.

On the stroke of the hour, Quinn nodded Hartigan’s corner over the bar.

But Maris made his mark mere minutes after being thrown into the action as he poked Boateng’s ball home as the Stags eventually took the lead after 66 minutes.

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Rochdale: O’Donnell, Keohane (Seriki, 74), Graham, Ebanks-Landell, John, Brierley, Diagouraga, Rodney (Malley, 85), Ball (Tulloch, 74), Sinclair (Kelly, 90+1), Henderson.

Unused subs: Kelly, McNulty, Nelson.

Mansfield: Pym, Hewitt, Perch (O’Toole, 69), Hawkins, Wallace (Gordon, 68), Quinn (Maris, 62), Hartigan, Clarke (Bowery, 56), Boateng, Lapslie (Law, 68), Akins.

Unused subs: Flinders, Gale.

Referee: Robert Lewis.