Mansfield Town have booked their place in the League Two play-off final at Wembley after beating Northampton Town 3-1 on aggregate.
It has been a successful campaign overall for the Stags, playing some attractive passing football since the start of Nigel Clough’s tenure. Their boss has been able to steady the ship after they struggled at the bottom half of the table for a prolonged period of time.
The first-half started with Mansfield Town dominating possession and making it virtually impossible for the Cobblers to create any chances of their own. After a number of half chances and squandered opportunities, the visitors finally found a breakthrough, with full-back Stephen McLaughlin (32′) giving the East Midlands side a two-goal cushion on aggregate before the half-time whistle.
The second half was a relatively uneventful one with the Stags opting to park the bus to ensure their place in the final. The substitutions of Danny Rose and loan striker Chanka Zimba were unable to make much of a difference for the hosts who continued to look blunt in the final third.
Jon Brady’s men created a number of opportunities but were unable to bring themselves back in the game, with most of their efforts coming from outside the area.
Here are three Mansfield Town players that impressed in the play-off semi-final win against Northampton Town…
Stephen McLaughlin – WhoScored rating 7.9
McLaughlin has been an important player for the Stags in their promotion bid this season, using his wealth of experience to help nurture the younger players in the squad. The 31-year-old was able to grab the deciding goal in the fixture, sealing the deal for Clough’s side.
He was also solid defensively, making five aerial clearances, three interceptions and four clearances to maintain his side’s clean sheet.
Elliott Hewitt – WhoScored rating 7.9
Hewitt is another player that has been integral to the successes of Mansfield Town’s campaign, finding the net once and assisting four goals. The 27-year-old set-up the deciding goal and also made a number of runs forward to try and double their lead.
He was also superb defensively, making six defensive clearances in the air and five clearances.
Jordan Bowery – WhoScored rating 7.8
After scoring a goal in the first-leg of the fixture, Bowery has unable to find the back of the net in this one but still made a number of important contributions to his team’s performance.
The 30-year-old was able to provide his side with accurate distribution, completing 14 passes with a success rate of 70%. He was also solid in the air, winning nine headers on a success rate of 82%.