We claimed promotion at Wembley Stadium after a completely dominant display by the Valiants
Mansfield almost made the perfect start at Wembley after eight minutes when some miscommunication between James Gibbons and Aidan Stone gave Jamie Murphy a golden chance to put the Stags in front with a close-range header but Stone reacted well and kept the game goalless.
But ten minutes later the Valiants had a chance of their own through Kian Harratt. The forward managed to squeeze a shot through a small gap in the Mansfield defence on goal but it unluckily bounced off the inside of the post and wide.
Just one minute later and Harratt got what he deserved after a superb ball from Mal Benning on the left wing he dived forward and headed the ball into the bottom left corner.
We were rampant and went searching for a quick second. Gibbons went close on 22 minutes as he drove into the area but his shot from inside the area went over the bar.
But just two minutes later we extended our lead through the man in form James Wilson. David Worrall’s ball found Ben Garrity at the back post who was unfortunate to see his header come off the bar but Wilson was there to nod the rebound home.
Wilson was feeling lucky and tried a looping effort on 32 minutes but it just went over the bar. Two minutes later Benning went on a run down the left and once he reached the area he unleashed an effort but Nathan Bishop was equal to it and palmed it away.
The game took another twist on 35 minutes as the already booked Oliver Hawkins, after a push on Nathan Smith, was given his marching orders after an awful challenge on Wilson at midfield to leave the Stags with ten men.
But the ten men almost grabbed a goal back seven minutes later after a bobbling ball found its way to Rhys Oates in the area following a free-kick but Connor Hall was there to clear the ball off the line.
The Valiants almost went in with a 3-0 lead at half-time but Wilson’s free kick in first-half stoppage time just went wide.
We started the second-half brightly and Jake Taylor had our first chance after the interval. After the ball was cleared from the area Taylor hit an effort on the volley but it narrowly went wide of the post.
Mansfield did have a couple of quick-fire opportunities midway through the second-half both coming from Rhys Oates. His first was deflected and well saved by Stone before he had another effort that went wide of the Vale goal.
But on 85 minutes promotion was sealed as Mal Benning put the icing on the cake after a brilliant ball from David Worrall was sent into Benning who struck the ball on the volley to cap off a brilliant day at Wembley.
Mansfield Town | Bishop, Hewitt, Perch, Hawkins, McLaughlin, O’Toole, Longstaff (65’ Maris), Quinn (78’ Akins), Murphy (54’ Lapslie), Oates, Bowery
Subs not used | Stech, Wallace, Clarke, Stirk
Port Vale | Stone, Gibbons, Hall, Smith, Worrall (86’ Martin), Garrity, Wilson, Benning, Taylor (66’ Charsley), Pett, (76’ Proctor)
Subs not used | Covolan, Amoo, Robinson, Edmondson