Tuesday, 1st September 2015, JPT Round One: Notts County 3, Mansfield Town 1

Craig Westcarr Mansfield Town
Craig Westcarr Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town made a first round exit in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as Notts County gained some semblance of revenge for their League Two home defeat in last month’s derby with a 3-1 win at Meadow Lane tonight.

Stags boss Adam Murray chose to give a game to some of his squad players, two making full debuts, and their lack of match action this season showed as they tired on the night.

Notts had the better of a scoreless first half, Adam Campbell hitting the post and the Magpies creating the better chances.

However, Adi Yussuf might have done better when he allowed Scott Loach to deny him in a one-on-one on 35 minutes while the keeper also saved well from an Adam Chapman free kick.

But Notts finally grabbed the lead through a high quality chipped finish by former Derby County and MK Dons striker Izzy McLeod on 52 minutes.

Stags rallied briefly but failed to seriously test Loach before home stalwart Mike Edwards popped up as an unlikely scorer during a scramble from a corner on 79 minutes.

Jon Stead’s deflected free kick in the final minute cheered the home fans, but there was still time for Stags to win a penalty, Craig Westcarr netting against his old club in the last of five added minutes – scant consolation on the night.

Stags had gone 86 games before being awarded a penalty and have now had two in three games. It was actually the first they had scored since 5th October 2013.

However, the night belonged to Notts, though Murray will have been far more pleased to have taken the League points from Meadow Lane last month and said afterwards he was delighted to see some of his fringe players get some much-needed game time.

Striker Yussuf and central defender Neil Collins were both given their first starts for Mansfield Town as two of six changes.

Collins was given the captain’s armband and they were joined in the side by Jamie McGuire, Liam Marsden, Chris Beardsley and Nathan Thomas.

Out for the night went Ryan Tafazolli, Matt Green Reggie Lamb, Chris Clements, Craig Westcarr and Nicky Hunt, though Lambe, Clements and Westcarr were on the five man bench.

Stags began the night with the derby bragging rights after a 2-0 League Two win at Meadow Lane less then three weeks ago.

Stags were also boosted by Saturday’s 2-1 win at York City while Notts were shot down 4-1 at Morecambe.

Notts started well and Jensen was involved three times in the opening exchanges, taking two dangerous crosses from the air and winning a race to the ball.

On eight minutes Burke had a shot blocked after McLeod had raced inside Marsden.

It took Stags 18 minutes to fashion a chance as Yussuf took the ball full in the face and went down, but play went on and Benning continued to chase the ball into the box, Loach just managing to drop on it as Benning tried to nick the ball to Beardsley in front of an open goal.

But the Magpies almost took a 21st minute lead as Campbell cut into the box on the left and curled a superb low shot across Jensen which came back off the far post. Stead tried to put the ball back into the danger zone and Jensen was safely there to intercept.

The Magpies were starting to look very dangerous and when Stead held off Collins’ challenge to reach a ball over the defence on 25 minutes, Jensen had to get down to make a save.

However, Stags survived the spell of pressure and wasted the chance of the night so far on 35 minutes as McGuire sent Yussuf through one-on-one with Loach only to see the keeper turn the finish round for a corner.

Rose then won Stags a free kick 25 yards from goal on 41 minutes which Chapman whipped over the wall on target, forcing Loach to block for a corner.

Notts found their second breath just before the break and a low Atkinson ball skidded right across the face of the Mansfield goal while, seconds later, Hollis nodded a long Atkinson cross just wide of the target.

Veteran Edwards replaced the injured Swerts for the second half, Jack Thomas taking over from Rose for Mansfield as the Stags changed formation.

But it was the Magpies who almost broke through on 47 minutes as the nimble Campbell played a one-two with Stead to burst into the box and, with only Jensen to beat, saw the keeper get a piece of it and force a corner.

When that came over Edwards was just too high with a powerful header.

Stags had a half-chance when Beardsley won the ball and sent over a cross that Pearce headed at Loach.

But the breakthrough arrived on 52 minutes. Collins failed to cut out a through ball and McLeod was away, showing all his class and quality as he dinked a clever chip over the helpless Jensen.

Nathan Thomas sent a vicious shot at the home goal which Loach was always behind, then soon after his low shot forced the keeper down the his left to turn away for the first of two corners.

Murray made his other two changes as Clements and Westcarr took over from Chapman and Beardsley, Westcarr soon testing Loach with a low 20 yard shot.

But Notts began to turn the screw and from the third of three successive corners, they grabbed the all-important second goal with 11 minutes to go, Edwards on hand to squeeze the loose ball between the legs of Jensen from eight yards amid a scramble.

Notts rubbed salt in the wounds on 90 minutes as they added a third from a 20-yard free kick, Stead seeing his effort deflect off the Mansfield wall and leave Jensen helpless.

But Mansfield had some late consolation as Edwards brought down Westcarr in the last of five added minutes and Westcarr stepped up to drill home a low finish fromt the penalty spot.

NOTTS COUNTY: Loach, Hollis (Jenner 88), Snijders, Campbell, Burke, Swerts (Edwards HT), Atkinson, Stead, Audel, Aborah (Smith 75), McLeod. Subs not used: Spencer, Pilkington.
STAGS: Jensen, McGuire, Marsden, Benning, Rose (J. Thomas HT), Pearce, Collins, Chapman (Clements 61), Beardsley (Westcarr 65), N. Thomas, Yussuf. Subs not used: Lambe, Shires.
REFEREE: Richard Clark of Northumberland.

ATTENDANCE: 2,696 (754 away).

CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Brian Jensen.