Mansfield Town 2-1 Accrington Stanley – Stags seal promotion to League One

George Maris settled any early Mansfield nerves with a goal after just two minutes

Mansfield Town sealed promotion to League One with an assured win against Accrington Stanley at a euphoric One Call Stadium.

A George Maris cross-turned-shot, which was deflected beyond goalkeeper Radek Vitek by Accrington’s Tommy Leigh, gave the Stags the ideal start and had the home fans in raptures from the outset.

A second-half Stephen Quinn goal, which the midfielder tapped home at the second attempt after he was first denied by the goalkeeper, completed an ultimately comfortable win for Nigel Clough’s side.

A late Leigh response for Accrington made for a tense final few minutes, but was not enough to stop Mansfield from clinching their return to the third tier for the first time in 21 years.

Clough – a former England striker who enjoyed the best years of his playing career under his famous father Brian at Mansfield’s county neighbours Nottingham Forest – has marked his 25th year in management with promotion success and the honour of being crowned League Two manager of the season.

As someone who, over two spells, masterminded Burton Albion’s rise from the depths of the non-league football to take the Brewers to the Championship on a meagre budget, expectations will again be high at Mansfield next season.

Prolific midfielder Davis Keillor-Dunn, who has provided 10 assists to go with his 21 league goals this season, was recalled to the starting XI after scoring two goals and creating another in Saturday’s crucial win at MK Dons.

The Stags knew a point would virtually assure them a place in League One, but they made it clear from the start that wanted to put promotion beyond doubt with a victory.

A fierce low cross from Maris in the second minute was helped into the back of the net by Leigh for a fortuitous opener, and only a sprawled save from Vitek denied Hiram Boateng from adding a second soon after.

Maris also sent a sliding finish just wide after the half hour mark of a game in which Accrington faced ceaseless pressure.

The visitors were starved of chances to hit back, but Christy Pym did have to be alert to clutch a close-range header in the first half.

Keillor-Dunn, one of three Mansfield players selected in the League Two team of the season, was the home side’s biggest threat after the break and it was his cut-back pass that set Quinn up for the Stags’ second.

A Vitek save denied Quinn from adding a third soon after, and Leigh’s volleyed goal late on had Stags fans anxiously crowded around the pitch awaiting the full-time whistle to celebrate the win and promotion.

Stags finally get promotion party

A 19-game unbeaten run to start the season firmly established Clough’s Stags as a promotion contender.

And while it was not until the final week of November that they suffered their first League Two defeat, they had to wait until the last week of February to top the table for the first time.

But their stint as league leaders lasted just a month, as defeat by fellow promotion chasers Wrexham saw the Stags slip from the summit at the end of March.

They then started April by dropping out of the automatic promotion spots following a heavy loss at home against Crawley.

It was a defeat that would undoubtedly have evoked memories of Mansfield’s near misses of recent years while trying to escape the division.

They lost the 2022 League Two play-off final, missed out on automatic promotion on the last day of the season in 2019 and fell short of the play-offs on goal difference last term.

But two wins in four days against bottom side Forest Green and MK Dons – their nearest challengers for a top three finish – put them on the verge of going up at last.

And now, after more than a decade in the fourth tier, they have finally got over the line and earned their place in League One.



Formation 4-1-2-1-2







1Pym7AkinsSubstituted forHewittat 84’minutes14Flint9Bowery3McLaughlin25Reed44BoatengSubstituted forO Clarkeat 67’minutes16QuinnSubstituted forLewisat 67’minutes10MarisSubstituted forGaleat 74’minutes20Nichols40Keillor-DunnSubstituted forSwanat 74’minutesSubstitutes4Hewitt8O Clarke12Gale13Flinders15Lewis22Williams26Swan


Formation 4-2-3-1

21 Vítek





21Vítek38O’Brien5HillsBooked at 35mins16Gubbins2Shipley28Conneely6CoyleBooked at 53mins17Nolan18Leigh7WhalleySubstituted forPritchardat 57’minutes9LoweSubstituted forWoodsat 57’minutesSubstitutes1Savin8Woods10Pritchard12Quirk22Martin30Henderson39Woods

Referee:Charles Breakspear


Live Text

Match ends, Mansfield Town 2, Accrington Stanley 1.

Second Half ends, Mansfield Town 2, Accrington Stanley 1.

Corner, Accrington Stanley. Conceded by Christy Pym.

Will Swan (Mansfield Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Connor O’Brien (Accrington Stanley).

Goal! Mansfield Town 2, Accrington Stanley 1. Tommy Leigh (Accrington Stanley) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jack Nolan with a cross.

Foul by Tom Nichols (Mansfield Town).

Seamus Conneely (Accrington Stanley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by James Gale (Mansfield Town).

Brad Hills (Accrington Stanley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Mansfield Town. Elliott Hewitt replaces Lucas Akins.

Offside, Mansfield Town. Tom Nichols is caught offside.

Corner, Mansfield Town. Conceded by Liam Coyle.

James Gale (Mansfield Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Joe Gubbins (Accrington Stanley).

Corner, Mansfield Town. Conceded by Lewis Shipley.

Lucas Akins (Mansfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joe Pritchard (Accrington Stanley).

Hand ball by James Gale (Mansfield Town).

Substitution, Mansfield Town. Will Swan replaces Davis Keillor-Dunn.

2024-04-16 20:44:26
#Mansfield #Town #Accrington #Stanley #Stags #seal #promotion #League


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