10-man Port Vale suffered a 4-0 defeat away at Mansfield Town in the first game of the new year.
The game couldn’t have started much worse for the Vale, Harry Charsley hit one from distance and forced a world class save from Scott Brown, but the ball rebounded off the post and the follow up was put in by Ollie Clarke after just 50 seconds.
Vale nearly struck back in style in the 10th minute, Alex Hurst nutmegged James Perch before cutting in, beating the next defender and having his shot blocked on the line by Malvind Benning.
The hosts maintained their control of the game though, striking a numbers shots on goal, but the Vale defence did well, throwing their bodies on the line to make the necessary blocks.
Mansfield nearly doubled their lead in the 18th minute, Ryan Sweeney heading towards goal from a corner, but it was his teammate, Jamie Reid, who the ball was blocked on its way into the net by.
The pressure from the Stags paid off just past the half-hour mark, as a ball into the box pinballed around as Vale failed to get it clear and Jordan Bowery smashed it home from close range.
The second period started off poorly for the Vale, much like the first had, as Leon Legge brought down George Lapslie as he was running through and was sent off for a second bookable offence, just two minutes into the half.
Just past the hour mark Vale’s triple sub at the break nearly paid off, as Cristian Montano burst down the left and delivered a cross to the back post where Tom Pope arrived to volley on goal, but was denied by a great save before the rebound came off the striker and out for a goal-kick.
With 15 minutes left of the 90, Charsley drove into the Vale box and was brought down by a mistimed Scott Burgess slide tackle for a penalty, which was calmly converted by Jordan Bowery to make it 3-0.
Five minutes later Bowery struck again to complete his hat-trick, a counter-attacking move saw the forward convert from a tight angle, scoring off the inside of the far post.
Tyrese Sinclair, off the bench, was brought down by Nathan Smith in the box, winning a second penalty for thee Stags but he was unable to hit the target with his spot-kick, drilling it wide of the mark.
Mansfield Town: Stech, Perch, Benning (81’ Cook), Rawson, Sweeney, Lapslie, Charsley (83’ Sinclair), Clarke (84’ O’Keeffe), Maris, Bowery (83’ O’Driscoll), Reid (81’ McLaughlin).
Unused Subs: Stone, Menayese.
Port Vale: Brown, Smith, Legge, Brisley, Fitzpatrick (45’ Monatano), Joyce, Whitehead (45’ Worrall), Burgess, Amoo (48’ Mills), Hurst. (45’ Pope), Rodney
Unused Subs: Visser, Cullen, Bailey.