Clare scores on full debut as Stags reserves beat Forest UPDATED 17.10

GOAL ace Daryl Clare took just 220 seconds to get onto the scoresheet in his first start in a Mansfield shirt in this afternoon's excellent 2-0 League win over neighbours Nottingham Forest at Field Mill.

And Clare also forced Reds' keeper Karl Darlow into a great close range save as he staked his claim for inclusion in the Stags' squad for Saturday's trip to Grays.

Supporters had barely settled into their seats in the bright sunshine before Aaron O'Connor pulled a low pass back from the by-line to Michael Blackwood who quickly found Clare in the box.

He turned to his left and steered a perfect finish across Darlow and inside the post.

"That was the main objective today - to get back on the goal trail and get a bit more fitness," said Clare, who was replaced by Conor Higginson on 68 minutes.

"It was a little touch to the side and a little finish into the corner - that's how I've liked to do it over the years.

"I was pleased with it. It is always nice to get back scoring at whatever level. It is very important to get your eye in."

He was disappointed not to be make it a brace with his second chance but added: "It is just timing and games. Chances will come and I will get in the right positions for them.

"To be fair the gaffer has told me he wants me fit as quickly as possible. It's been hard work but I am enjoying it. I may yet be a couple of weeks from where I want to be in terms of match fitness though my body condition is nearly there now.

"I would love to be involved on Saturday. But I know it won't be easy. The team is on a brilliant run right now - we are one of the form teams in the league.

"The lads have done fantastic and Mark Stallard scored last week and played well and Rob Duffy is scoring too.

"It won't be easy to walk in. But it is always good to have competition for places. If I can sneak onto the bench on Saturday I will be delighted."

Packed with first team squad players, Mansfield, with 17-year-old Craig Disley-lookalike Tom Naylor outstanding at the heart of the defence and Sheffield United trialist Elijah Reid catching the eye at right back, comfortably kept Forest at bay in the first half and, with Reid combining well with the pacey Scott Gardner down the right, always looked a threat going forward.

Neil MacKenzie and Curtis Woodhouse impressed in the middle and after a great tackle from Woodhouse on 33 minutes, he cued up O'Connor for a low shot at Darlow.

A minute later Blackwood sent the ball over from the left and Clare met it with a powerful header from just five yards out which, had he not met it so centrally, would have flown in. But Darlow was able to parry at point blank range.

Jason White had little to do but produced a fine save from his first real danger when Adam Newbold let fly from distance with a speculative shot that looked set to find the top right hand corner.

Forest forced three successive corners and, soon after, four successive corners, but Stags defended them well to go in ahead.

Hamze Bencherif and Elijah Reid were too high with good efforts at either end before O'Connor extended Stags' lead on 73 minutes.

Blackwood this time rolled a pass inside to O'Connor who, from a tight angle on the edge of the six yard box, turned and fired across Darlow high into the far top corner.

Forest, who had Aaron Davies making his comeback in midfield, created two chances in the last seven minutes. But first Richard Tait shot straight at 6ft 4ins keeper Robert English, a half time sub, and then Tom Sharpe saw his blast deflect just over following a long throw from Bencherif.

English then confidently clutched Forest's last late corner to ensure there was to be no consolation for the visitors.

It was only the reserves' second win of the campaign and boss David Holdsworth said: "First and foremost I thought the team were excellent today.

"It was a good performance and I was delighted with their application.

"I though the senior players led by example. It was important they showed professionalism and the way forward and showed the younsgters how to perform. I was very, very pleased wih them.

"It was a good game against a strong, youthful Nottingham Forest side and we will always take a victory against a Championship club.

"We scored two very good goals and I was delighted with Daryl's 65 minutes and pleased with his work rate.

"It was a great strike, a good turn and he took advantage of the space.

"It was also nice to Aaron O'Connor score in a Mansfield shirt - it's been a long time coming and it will give his confidence a boost.

"It was a very young back four and they did very well together."

Stags: White, Reid, Turner, Havern, Naylor, MacKenzie, Gardner, Woodhouse, Clare, O'Connor, Blackwood. Subs: Gascoigne, English, Ryan, Higginson, Shaw.

Forest: Darlow, Sharpe, Tait, Hook, Mitchell, Bencherif, Davies, Rodney, Newbold, Whitehurst, Reid. Subs: Darnet, Diagne, Moke, Hopkinson, Wright.

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