By George Cowell
Jamie Reid took Mansfield to their fifth successive league victory at Southend on Saturday.
Reid tapped in from close range in the 64th minute after Jordan Bowery’s low effort was palmed away by Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley.
Southend remain bottom of the table, and very rarely threatened against Stags, but former Barnet man Simeon Akinola did see a first-half effort saved by Aidan Stone in the Mansfield goal.
Harry Charsley then curled a shot over the edge of the box, but one goal was enough to win a tight encounter at Roots Hall.
Reid’s fourth goal of the season would prove decisive as Mansfield extended their winning run.
Following a midweek defeat to Cambridge, Southend saw another opportunity to get out of the relegation zone go amiss, but things are looking much rosier for Nigel Clough’s side.
Since joining in November, Clough has taken the Stags to a six-game unbeaten run and brought them up to 13th in SkyBet League Two. Having brought previous club Burton Albion up from the Conference (now the Vanarama National League) to the Championship, few doubted his credentials as a manager in the fourth tier.
He’s no stranger to East Midlands dugouts, having managed Derby County from 2009 to 2013, the club his father Brian famously took to Second Division and First Division titles during his time at the Baseball Ground, before moving to rivals Nottingham Forest. The rest, as they say, is history.
Nigel Clough made his first acquisitions at the OneCall Stadium last week. Irish international midfielder Stephen Quinn secured a loan switch from Burton Albion, and highly-rated George Lapslie moved from Charlton on a permanent move after a successful loan earlier in the season.
Quinn and Lapslie featured against Southend and have had an immediate impact, helping Stags to continue their best run of form since 1991.
Mansfield visit Bolton on Tuesday night, and Ian Evatt’s side will surely present them with a different challenge, sitting four points behind Stags in 17th. the Trotters have had a torrid time of it both on and off the pitch in recent seasons, but will hope to avoid a third successive relegation this season under former Barrow manager Evatt.
Blues XI: Oxley, Bwomono (Clifford 46’), McCormack (Nathaniel-George 59’), Hobson (Acquah 73’), Dieng, Akinola, Hackett-Fairchild, Halford, K Taylor, Hart, White (C). Unused subs: Seaden, Howard, R Taylor, Stewart.
Mansfield Town XI: Stone, Sweeney (C), Rawson, Charsley, Bowery, Maris, Gordon, Quinn (Cook 77’), Reid, McLaughlin (Benning 90+2′), Lapslie. Unused subs: Stech, O’Keeffe, Perch, Maynard, Law.