Boss has food for thought as Stags win both friendlies 4-0

Gainsborough Trinity FC v Mansfield Town FC
Gainsborough Trinity FC v Mansfield Town FC

Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans was given plenty of food for thought by every member of his squad tonight as they played friendlies at Matlock Town and Gainsborough Trinity and won both by impressive 4-0 scorelines.

Half the squad travelled to National League North Gainsborough where two goals by Omari Sterling-James, a strike by CJ Hamilton and a great late solo goal by Alfie Potter sealed the win.

The rest went over the border into Derbyshire to take on Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division Matlock Town where Lee Angol bagged a brace with Jacob Mellis and Will Atkinson adding one apiece.

Former Mansfield Town player Callum Lloyd was shown a red card soon after half-time for a dreadful challenge on Mellis.

With just one friendly to go at Alfreton Town on Saturday before he has to decide his starting XI for the opening game at Crewe on 5th August, Evans told his players the gloves are off this week and everyone is still in with a shout of being on that team sheet.

Evans and assistant Paul Raynor took the Matlock half of the squad with U21s staff Mike Whitlow and Richard Cooper in charge at Gainsborough.

At Gainsborough, after Logan had saved an early Jarman shot, Byrom laid a free kick short to Sterling-James who found the net from 14 yards in the seventh minute.

On 38 minutes it was 2-0 as Spencer produced a fantastic touch to bring the ball down over his shoulder, and feed Hamilton to find the net via a post and the helpless Walton.

Mansfield extended their lead after the break as Hamilton shot deflected to Sterling-James, who netted from eight yards for his second of the night.

It was all Mansfield now and Walton had to make great saves to deny Sterling-James and Potter while Sterling-James lifted another great chance over the bar.

But the fourth goal did arrive on 76 minutes - and it was a superb piece of solo skill from Potter.

Picking up the ball near halfway, he carried it past three players before slotting home from eight yards.

Keeper Logan preserved Stags’ clean sheet with a brilliant block from 12 yards out a minute from time.

Meanwhile at Matlock, White had an early shot tipped over and Rose hit the woodwork before Anderson cued up Angol from Digby’s right wing cross for a close range finish on 15 minutes.

Keeper Olejnik kept Stags ahead with a fine reaction save after Cribley’s shot took a deflection off Mirfin and threatened to level the game.

Five minutes after the break Angol gave Anderson sight of goal, but keeper Barnes denied him with his legs.

On 56 minutes the referee had to restore calm between the sides after Lloyd’s crude challenge on the impressive Mellis saw him red-carded.

On 68 minutes a superb ball by Digby found Benning on the left who helped the ball on to Anderson for a shot that hit the bar.

But four minutes later Benning found Rose in the left of the area, and he picked out the advancing Atkinson to place it home from close range.

Mansfield doubled their score against the tiring 10 men with two goals in as many minutes near the end.

On 86 minutes Mellis started and finished the move in and around the box, linking up with Atkinson to receive the return ball and slot home.

Within a minute Angol then raced beyond the Matlock defence to slot beneath the goalkeeper with a cool finish to bag his second goal.

STAGS (AT GAINSBOROUGH): Logan, Bennett, Pearce, Taft, Hunt, Byrom, Thomas, Hamilton, Potter, Spencer, Sterling-James. Subs: Hakeem, Collins, Harrison.

STAGS (AT MATLOCK): Olejnik, White, Benning, Mirfin, Diamond, Digby, Atkinson, Mellis, Angol, Rose, Anderson. Subs: Wilson, Peace-MacDonald, Healey, Hakeem.