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May 14, 2022 at 7.45pm UK at One Call Stadium
2 - 1
Oates (13'), Bowery (32')
Maris (50'), Perch (61')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Koiki (61')
McWilliams (22')

Preview: Mansfield Town vs. Northampton Town - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Mansfield Town vs. Northampton Town - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's League Two clash between Mansfield Town and Northampton Town, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Northampton Town head into the first leg of their League Two playoff semi-final with Mansfield Town looking to bounce back from the disappointment of agonisingly missing out on automatic promotion.

While at one stage Mansfield were challenging for the same target, they were fortunate to remain in the top seven after ending the regular campaign with two draws.

Match preview

Heading into the final day of the season, the odds were stacked in Northampton's favour when it came to finishing in the top three, there needing to be a five-goal swing in terms of goal difference for Bristol Rovers to claim the final automatic spot.

When Northampton scored three times in the opening 21 minutes against Barrow, it felt like the job was done, but as the goals dried up for the Cobblers, Bristol Rovers got on the scoresheet with regularity against Scunthorpe United.

Barrow's goal just before half time proved decisive, a 3-1 win for Northampton not being enough as Rovers put seven past the bottom-placed team, and it leaves Jon Brady and his squad having to contend with the playoffs.

After three defeats came from five games during March and April, Northampton cannot feel too hard done-by, although they ended the campaign with 14 points from their final six games.

While Brady will see that as a huge positive heading into Saturday's fixture, he knows that he has work to do in the build-up to keep his squad on track for a return to the third tier.

The same can be said for Nigel Clough and his Mansfield side, who know that wins from their final two fixtures would have been enough for automatic promotion.

Although neither of their games versus Salford City and champions Forest Green Rovers could be claimed to be easy, Mansfield held second-half leads in each contest.

Like Northampton, a run of defeats before the final few fixtures is what ultimately proved pivotal, meaning that eight points from their concluding four outings was not enough.

On a positive note, Clough will be delighted with his team's efforts in the final third after witnessing them net at least two goals in six of their final seven matches.

Mansfield Town League Two form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D

Northampton Town League Two form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

Clough may be prepared to stick with the Mansfield XI which claimed a 2-2 draw at home to Forest Green on the final day of the season.

However, Elliott Hewitt, who has made 40 league starts this season, is an option at right-back ahead of James Perch.

Jamie Murphy is expected to retain his spot behind the front two ahead of George Lapslie.

Northampton will be forced into at least one alteration after goalkeeper Liam Roberts, an ever-present this campaign, was sent off in the final minutes at Barrow.

Jon Maxted, who has not made a senior appearance since an EFL Trophy game in October, will deputise between the sticks.

Brady could retain the same outfield players for this contest after Northampton extended their unbeaten streak to six games.

Mansfield Town possible starting lineup:
Bishop; Perch, O'Toole, Hawkins, McLaughlin; Longstaff, Maris, Quinn; Murphy; Oates, Bowery

Northampton Town possible starting lineup:
Maxted; Mills, Horsfall, Guthrie; Felix-Eppiah, McWilliams, Sowerby, Koiki; Pinnock; Appere, Hoskins

We say: Mansfield Town 2-1 Northampton Town

Despite their lengthy unbeaten streak, Saturday could have taken a lot out of Northampton. Even with Mansfield having failed to win either of their last two fixtures, we feel that the home side should capitalise on the mindset of their opponents to claim a narrow victory.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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League Two Table
CForest Green RoversForest Green462315875443184
4Northampton TownNorthampton4623111260382280
5Port Vale4622121267462178
6Swindon TownSwindon4622111377542377
7Mansfield TownMansfield4622111367521577
8Sutton UnitedSutton4622101469531676
9Tranmere RoversTranmere4621121353401375
10Salford City4619131460461470
11Newport CountyNewport461912156758969
12Crawley TownCrawley461710195666-1061
13Leyton Orient4614161662471558
14Bradford CityBradford461416165355-258
15Colchester UnitedColchester461413194860-1255
17Hartlepool UnitedHartlepool461412204464-2054
19Harrogate TownHarrogate461411216475-1153
20Carlisle UnitedCarlisle461411213962-2353
ROldham AthleticOldham46911264675-2938
RScunthorpe UnitedScunthorpe46414282990-6126
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CManchester CityMan City38296399267393
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382251169402971
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381610125757058
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham38168146051956
8Leicester CityLeicester381410146259352
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381215114244-251
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38156173843-551
11Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381310154462-1849
12Crystal Palace381115125046448
14Aston Villa38136195254-245
17Leeds UnitedLeeds38911184279-3738
RNorwich CityNorwich3857262384-6122
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