The Stags started the new year the way they finished the old one by extending their unbeaten run to seven matches with an emphatic victory over Beaconsfield who, at times, were made to look a very ordinary outfit when pitted against a defence with Barnes and Tickner standing solid and an attack with Cooper, Clarke and Kanyuka pulling the home defenders every which way for two thirds of the match.
In atrocious rainy conditions, the Stags were always a yard faster than their opponents and with Karhu back controlling the midfield there seemed little to go wrong. The first goal came on 12 minutes after some sounding out attacks. Kanyuka had dropped back into his own half and picked up a loose pass from the home side.
Kanyuka sent a glorious pass out to Clarke on the right wing, he ran on to the byline and cut the ball back for Cooper to run in and score a typical close range stunner.
Beaconsfield tried to get back on level terms by pushing up and the game became condensed into the midfield for a ten minute period but there was always the chance of a break from either Kanyuka or Clarke: and when that break came it invariably meant some last ditch defending from the home side.
The Stags went on to rule the game in attack and should really have scored a hatful of goals. The home defence seemed mesmerised every time the Stags went forward and really had no answer to the runs of Cooper and Clarke and could do nothing against the sheer trickery of Kanyuka on what was a terrible playing surface.
The state of things to come was forewarned on 27 minutes when Solomon Henry made a lovely run down the right and crossed for Kanyuka to rise above a static defence to head just wide with the ’keeper beaten.
Clarke was to get his just reward for all the hard work on thirty two minutes when, once again, he came in from the right after receiving a short corner from Ashton. He jinked into the penalty area and blasted the ball home from an acute angle.
On 38 minutes Kanyuka came in from the left and after moving the ball from one foot to the other to get past his defender, had a shot that was only inches wide.
The half time tally could have been three for the Stags had referee Mr Belbin been up with play and had courage enough to see that Kanyuka was taken down inside the home penalty area rather than right on the line where he gave the kick.
Beaconsfield made the changes to start the second half bringing on a midfielder and an attacker but and for short periods in the second half Beaconsfield did try to mount an attack but the Stags’ defence made no mistake and Eneke did not have a real save to make.
Every time Beaconsfield tried to attack all they ended up seeing was the Stags on the counter attack as in the 49th minute when the ball came out of midfield to Clarke who switched play to Kanyuka on the other side. Once again he beat his defender and once again, narrowly missed scoring.
This was to be the pattern for much of the remainder of the game with the three front runners swinging the ball from side to side leaving the home defence wondering which player to go for.
The Stags sowed up the game on 78 minutes when Kanyuka, once again became the provider, this time brining a ball from the midfield to the right side of the Beaconsfield penalty box then sending the ball to the penalty spot for Cooper to shoot home once again.
One of the most telling points of this display though was the work of Ian Barnes and Simon Tickner in defence. They were solid in the tackle and, in the case of Tickner, quick to release the ball upfield to start an attack. Barnes’ main attribute was to close up the hole so evident at right back against Barking the previous week.
An excellent display from a team which is improving fast and showing a great deal of confidence.