Calvin Andrew again staked a claim for a Mansfield Town contract as he scored two and set up another as a second half substitute in Stags’ 5-0 win in the final pre-season friendly away to Conference North side Gainsborough Trinity tonight.
Stags are desperate to sign a striker or two and may have news of one coming in tomorrow. Manager Paul Cox missed the game to run a final rule over one of his intended targets.
In the meantime, former Crystal Palace, Luton Town and Port Vale forward Andrew again impressed, scoring the goal of the night in his brace and again led the line well.
Fellow trialist, Birmingham midfielder Eddie Gnahore had a neat and tidy second half, too, while Ben Hutchinson and Ryan Tafazolli also shone in a bid to win a starting place in the weekend League Two opener.
With a handful of players rested, Mansfield went with nine half-time changes to give all 20 players available an outing.
Stags thought they had gone ahead with just 50 seconds gone, but Stevenson was just offside as he turned home Meikle’s flick.
The game had started in bright sunshine but, within a few minutes while Wilde was treated for a head injury after a challenge with Briscoe, heavy rain began to fall.
He eventually went off for treatment a cut to the left of his eye and Trinity soldiered on with 10 men.
Barraclough tried to get away the night’s first shot, but Jennings’ challenge took the sting out of it as it looped comfortably into the arms of Marriott.
As Wilde returned, the home side won a free kick just outside the box on eight minutes which Jonathan Williams curled inches wide with Marriott scrambling.
Then Leary was only just over with a 20 yard shot as Trinity forcing enjoyed the early pressure.
Stags were clearly under the cosh, but stung Trinity with the opening goal on 16 minutes.
Briscoe did well to battle his way onto the end of a forward ball from Pilkington just inside the box and, although Barnes parried his first attempt, Briscoe slotted past him at the second time of asking.
Stevenson and Murray then fed the ball out to Meikle running into space on the left, whose first time finish curled just over the far angle.
Stevenson found the net again on 25 minutes, and this time the effort counted.
Murray floated the ball to the left of the box where Briscoe directed it into the path of Stevenson, whose half-volley was too hot for Barnes to keep out, despite partly getting in the way.
Jones almost found an immediate reply as Jones planted a far post header wide across goal from ex-Stag Ryan Williams’ long cross.
Briscoe might have done better as Rhead directed a superb ball into acres of space for him, but Briscoe chose to shoot first time instead of taking the ball on and, from 16 yards, was low and wide.
The early showers had now developed into a torrential downpour as Rhead had to leave the field for a bandage for a head wound.
Meikle pulled a half-chance wide while Briscoe’s 30-yard free kick skidded into Barnes’ arms in dreadful conditions.
A slower, disguised pass from Murtagh fooled the defence to give Rhead a long range sight of goal which he drilled wide.
Meikle was given space 30 yards out and tried to loop a shot over Barnes, who was off his line, and the keeper did well to reach up and turn it aside.
So, after an inauspicious first 15 minutes, the Stags were completely in control at the break when all but Murray and Riley were replaced.
Williams tricked his way inside Sutton to fire in the first shot of the second half, but straight to Deakin.
Hutchinson then saw his low shot deflect for a corner as Stags ventured into the home half.
The corner was cleared to Gnahore, the Birmingham midfielder then blazing well over the stand.
However, it was 3-0 to the visitors on 54 minutes when Murray’s cutting pass put Speight in on goal, the keeper saving his low finish but helpless as Andrew quickly dispatched the loose ball into the net.
Stags came close again as Speight wrestled his way into the box and slipped a pass back towards Dyer, whose poked finish was blocked on the line, Andrew unable to get a shot away for the follow-up.
But Andrew produced the night’s best goal on 61 minutes. Hutchinson rolled the pass to Andrew on his right, but, with Speight looking for a far post cross, Andrew cut inside and curled home a stunning left foot finish from 25 yards which beat Barnes all ends up.
On 70 minutes it was 5-0 – and again Andrew was heavily involved. He received a pass to feet on the right, turned and went away from two opponents before picking out the perfect low, square pass to Hutchinson whose finish was equally superb, low and accurate inside the post from 18 yards.
Andrews came on for Trinity with 14 minutes to go and within seconds pulled a rare shot wide for the Conference North outfit.
Trinity did have the ball in the Mansfield net with nine minutes to go as a multitude of players challenged for a corner, but the referee indicated a handball.
Another great pass from Murray sent Speight skipping through on the right. However, he got his sights all wrong on the finish as his low shot failed to even go for a goalkick.
A worrying sight for Mansfield was Riley taking a knock and needing to come off on 86 minutes, Pilkington having to come back on.
In the end, it was a comfortable win and a fine finak work-out before the real business begins at Scunthorpe on Saturday.
One of the interested spectators at Northolme was former Stags star Ian Stringfellow, over here to visit family but now living out in New Zealand.
He will be a guest, along with uncle and fellow former Stags player Mike, for the home clash with Exeter City next week.
GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY: Barnes, Roma, Wilde, J. Williams (Andrews 75), Ward, Young, Russell, Leary, Barraclough, Jones, R. Williams (Davis 65). Subs not used: STAGS: Marriott (Deakin ht); Pilkington (Sutton ht), Riley (Pilkington 86), Dempster (Tafazolli ht), Jennings (Black ht); Briscoe (Dyer ht), Murtagh (Gnahore ht), Murray, Meikle (Speight ht); Stevenson (Hutchinson ht), Rhead (Andrew ht). REFEREE: David Sullivan.