A tap-in from last season’s player of the year Matt Rhead was enough to earn Mansfield Town a hardfought 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town.
Rhead had one of the simplest finishes of his career as he poked home into an empty net after Ollie Palmer’s effort smacked the post and fell into his path on 44 minutes.
It was the second successive clean sheet for Stags who, at times, rode their luck defensively with Paddy McLaughlan hitting the inside of the post moments before Rhead broke the deadlock.
New goalkeeper Sascha Studer looked impressive on his first official start for Stags and commanded his box well with a range of impressive catches and punches and a superb one-handed save in the closing stages.
It was an excellent workout for Mansfield, who gave starts to two trialists, including to the left wing-back who has started the last three friendlies.
Hot-shot striker Liam Hearn returned to his former stomping ground with a 30 minutes cameo appearance off the bench as he continues to build up his fitness levels.
The result means Stags have now conceded just four goals in their first four pre-season games as they look to build on the solid foundations they have laid.
Sascha Studer made his first official start for Mansfield Town after joining the club on Thursday following his successful trial.
Ryan Tafazolli returned from injury to earn a place in the defence alongside Sutton and Riley, while Liam Hearn again started on the bench despite his superb brace against Leeds.
Former Mansfield favourites Craig Disley and Nathan Arnold featured in the Grimsby Town line up.
Scott Brown registered the first shot on goal for Grimsby with a long range effort which was comfortably held by Studer on nine minutes.
Ollie Palmer came close to beating James McKeown in the Grimsby goal with a cheeky chip from a tight angle on 19 minutes.
Midfielder Fergus Bell then forced another decent save out of McKeown from a narrow angle two minutes later as Mansfield enjoyed a good spell of pressure.
Studer got down well to turn away Paddy McLaughlan’s well-hit effort on 25 minutes at the expense of a corner.
Martin Riley had to be alert on 32 minutes to block the goal-bound effort of one of Grimsby’s trialist midfielders after the home side broke at pace.
The Conference side’s trialist centre forward was unable to nod home from eight yards out on 40 minutes as Studer held comfortably.
Mansfield were breathing a huge sigh of relief a minute later when McLaughlan cracked a fierce effort against the inside of the post with Studer rooted to the spot.
Big Matt Rhead was unable to get enough contact on his header on 43 minutes when he pulled away from his marker to connect with Lee Beevers’ corner.
But a minute later Rhead put Stags ahead with one of the easiest finishes of his career when he tapped home from two yards after Ollie Palmer’s shot smacked against the post and fell into his path.
Mansfield made seven changes at the start of the second half, with Fisher replacing Palmer in attack, while Dempster, Marsden, Clements, Murray, A. Bell and Heslop also entered the action.
Studer alertly came off his line well to punch Ross Hannah’s dangerous cross away to safety on 53 minutes as the home side found space in the right-back area.
Grimsby were close to the equaliser on 62 minutes when Jack Mackreth burst past the Mansfield back three, before his cut-back ran agonisingly along the six yard box to safety.
Ross Hannah fired a 25 yard free-kick high over the bar following a foul by Adam Murray on 74 minutes.
The agile Studer produced a superb one-handed save in the 81st minute to keep his side ahead after the Mansfield defence failed to react to a corner.
Moments later A’amari Bell cleared off the line as Grimsby pushed without success during the closing stages.
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Bignot, Thomas, Brown, Doig, Magnay, Mackreth (Arnold 69 mins), A. Trialist 1, A Trialist, John Paul Pittman (Neilson72 mins), Paddy McLaughlan. Subs: Pearson, Bastock. Disley, Hannah, John-Lewis, Humble, Walker.
Mansfield Town: Studer, Tafazolli, Riley, Sutton, Beevers, Trialist 1, McGuire, Trialist 2, F. Bell, Rhead, Palmer. Second half subs: Marsden, Murray, Dempster, A. Bell, Fisher, Clements, Thomas, Heslop, Hearn.
Referee: K. Evans.