A 3-3 draw at home to a bottom half side may not feel like a victory, but considering City were 0-3 down after 87 minutes there was something of a feeling of euphoria when Reuben Reid smashed home the equaliser, and therefore the mood in the City camp is likely to be buoyant heading in to a trip to Nottinghamshire for the archetypal “six pointer”. Paul Tisdale will be forced into a couple of changes, most notably at left back where the ever dependable Craig Woodman is out with a broken arm. It may be that skipper Jordan Moore-Taylor moves across to the left with either Pierce Sweeney or Luke Croll deputising in the middle – Croll being left-footed might see the Crystal Palace loanee getting the nod. Jake Taylor is also out which will likely see David Wheeler, who suffered no ill-effects off the bench from a knock picked up at Luton, return to the starting line up. Lee Holmes may be in contention to return to the matchday squad for the first time since December, while Jordan Tillson is also pushing for a start.
One of the acknowledged higher spenders in the division, Mansfield have crept into the playoff picture under the aegis of the colourful Steve Evans. The Stags have admitted that they did try an audacious bid for City’s young star Ollie Watkins during the transfer window following his match-winning brace back in December, a bid which was swiftly rebuked. Successive wins after a four match run without a win (and one win in seven) have propelled Evans’ side back into the mix. Goals have been shared around but the likely spearhead is Matt Green, who has 13 in all competitions, while Shaquille Coulthirst, on loan from Peterborough, has five in ten starts.
The reverse fixture saw City finally register a home win by a margin of 2-0 thanks to that brace from Watkins, before Mal Benning saw red for a second yellow card in second half injury time. It was the same scoreline in City’s favour at Field Mill (aka the One Call Stadium) last season where Joel Grant and Lee Holmes both notched their first goals for the club. City have a slight Football League head to head advantage with 22 wins to Mansfield’s 20 (17 draws).
The match day officials are:
Ben Toner has refereed two Exeter games, the most recent being the away game at Grimsby. See here for details.