REPORT: Mansfield Town 2-0 Notts County - Derby day delight for Stags as run goes on

CJ Hamilton celebrates his first goal. Photo by Anne Shelley.
CJ Hamilton celebrates his first goal. Photo by Anne Shelley.

CJ Hamilton was the derby day hero with a decisive brace as Mansfield Town shot down neighbours Notts County 2-0 at the One Call Stadium in today's lunchtime kick-off.

The win propelled Stags into the top three at last before the afternoon kick-offs and it extended their unbeaten league run to 13 games – their best for 42 years.

It also meant Notts had not managed to beat Mansfield in 12 league outings.

Struggling County arrived with new boss Neal Ardley in charge of a league game with them for the first time.

But they were well beaten in the end with Mal Benning, Krystian Pearce and Jacob Mellis other star turns in a fantastic team performance by the home side.

Mansfield were boosted by the inclusion of influential skipper Pearce.

He suffered a slight groin strain in the midweek defeat by Bury but recovered in time to face his former club.

Otherwise the Stags side showed three changes with Bobby Olejnik, Timi Elsnik and CJ Hamilton returning in place of Conrad Logan, Otis Khan and Danny Rose.

Hamilton joined Walker up front in a 3-5-2 formation.

Notts welcomed back top scorer Jon Stead to their starting line-up with ex-Stag Kane Hemmings fit enough to return to their bench after injury.

Good early Mansfield pressure drew a couple of free kicks just outside the Notts box, but poor delivery from the first and an offside flag from the second saw the Magpies survive them.

Sweeney then conceded a foul on Stead in a dangerous central position just outside the box which Patching sent straight into the wall.

The first shot on target came for Notts after 13 minutes as Olejnik beat away a powerful 20-yard effort by Thomas.

Then, after Fitzsimons had left his box to beat Hamilton to a through ball, Benning tried to hit the empty net from distance but Ward was there to comfortably block.

On 19 minutes Thomas was only just over from outside the box after a move started by a superb flick by Stead.

Two minutes later Turley got his body in the way of a Hamilton blockbuster, after the winger had cut in from the right and clearly felt the pain of its ferocity.

Then Benning should have hit the target when a long Mellis cross reached him, but his low shot skidded wide.

On 24 minutes Walker popped the ball between Ward's legs to create an opening, but again the finish was wide.

Thomas was looking a constant menace and on 27 minutes he was found by Vaughan to his right and his low shot was blocked by Olejnik's legs.

A loose pass by Olejnik and then a poor Pearce clearance gifted a shooting chance from 25 yards for Patching, but he was well over.

Turley saw the game's first yellow card for dissent on 32 minutes.

Stags finally worked Fitzsimons on 35 minutes. A brilliantly disguised reverse pass by Mellis sent Bishop away down the centre, but the keeper saved with his leg.

Walker then shot at him a minute later and seconds afterwards Olejnik made a smart save from a Patching shot as the action began to really hot up.

So it was no surprise when the deadlock was broken on 37 minutes. Benning sent in a superb cross from the left to the far post where Hamilton had ghosted in to apply the finishing touch.

Hamilton was wide of the target with another ambitious effort from just inside the Notts half after the keeper had again had to leave his box to win a race.

Stags made an excellent front foot start to the second half, aware of what a second goal would mean.

Hamilton almost doubled his own tally on 52 minutes from Walker's pass, but his fierce shot came back off the bar.

Fitzsimons then made a good near post block to deny White with Stags bemused as Notts were awarded a goalkick.

Home fans booed loudly as ex-Stags Hemmings joined the action as part of a double Notts sub on 58 minutes.

Elsnik's late tackle on Vaughan on 62 minutes saw him booked.

But a minute later it was 2-0 with Hamilton again the scorer. Mellis fed him into the right of the box where he twisted and turned, went inside and smashed home a low finish.

A mistake by Turley let in Walker for a low shot across the face of goal as Notts wobbled.

The Magpies hit back with two corners, Olejnik forced to save from Ward from the first of them.

On 72 minutes it could have been 3-0 as Mellis again sent Hamilton rampaging away. He saw Walker unmarked and found him, Jones made a brilliant sliding block.

Mellis was then booked for a foul on Thomas followed by Crawford for bringing down Walker.

Ex-Chesterfield striker Dennis, booed as he came on, was booked on 88 minutes for going in late on Olejnik after losing the chase.

Flitcroft was furious and the referee ran over to book him too.

In added time Bishop went off with a shoulder injury which must be a worry for the Stags.

Hamilton set up sub Rose near the end but Fitzsimons was down to gather well.

STAGS: Olejnik, Sweeney, Pearce, Preston, White, Mellis, Bishop (Atkinson 90+2), Elsnik (Khan 81), Benning, Walker (Rose 86), Hamilton. Subs: Logan, Davies, Law, Graham.

NOTTS: Fitzsimons, Hewitt, Vaughan, Thomas, Brisley (Crawford 58), Ward, Patching (Hemmings 58), Jones, Milson, Turley, Stead (Dennis 80). Subs: Pindroch, Duffy, Evina, Campbell.

REFEREE: Jeremy Simpson of Lancashire.

ATTENDANCE: 6,604 (1,140 away).