Mansfield Town see off Championship neighbours Sheffield United 3-0 in fine pre-season friendly victory

Mansfield Town comfortably shot down Championship neighbours Sheffield United 3-0 in an excellent display behind-closed-doors at the One Call Stadium tonight.

Goals by Hiram Boateng (65 minutes) and Rhys Oates (71), both set up by young striker James Gale, had Stags in charge before a stunning finish by Boateng on 84 minutes put the icing on the cake against a very strong Blades side.

After Saturday's 1-1 draw with another Championship side, Rotherham United, this was another excellent work-out for Nigel Clough's squad with all fit members of the squad given plenty of minutes and most coming off and going back on again for a second spell over the 90 minutes.

That was important as, despite the powerful sunshine dying down, this was still an extremely sticky evening for football on the day the UK recorded its record highest temperature of over 40 degrees.

Oli Hawkins clears the ball against Sheffield United. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media

Kick-off had been put back to 8pm, but it was still very uncomfortable on the field for Clough's meeting with his old club.

The game was played with no fans in the stadium. The club had stayed tight-lipped on the reason but it was widely believed to be a directive from the police.

Stephen McLaughlin missed out with a knock and Will Swan was also absent, presumably for the same reason.

Transfer-listed Danny Johnson was given some time up front, but had little opportunity to shine against the expensive Championship back line.

Rhys Oates challenges for the ball. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media

There was also the sight of the versatile Jordan Bowery showing he could be another option at centre half.

It needed a good block from Harbottle to deny Berge on three minutes as the referee played on when it seemed Akins had been tripped.

The passing by both sides was fast and neat in the early stages.

On eight minutes Maris failed to control on the edge of his own box and Osborne fired over.

Riley Harbottle wins the header inthe empty stadium tonight. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media

Stags were back on the attack after a 15th minute drinks break and a good move down the right saw Gordon curl a tempting, low ball into the six yard box from which United conceded a corner.

Brewster had shouts for a penalty waved away, then Pym had his first save on 27 minutes as Berge's cutting pass down the middle sent Ndiaye through only to see the keeper block low to his left.

The corner was then worked short for a cross that Ahmedhodzic headed wide from close range.

On 32 minutes Stags made six changes with Bowery given a try as a centre half alongside youngster Cooper and O'Toole and Akins moved to right wing back.

Cooper produced a superb goal line clearance on 29 minutes after Ndiaye had again been sent down the middle and tried to send a clever flick over Pym.

A minute from the break Clark was up well to meet a free kick but sent his downward header wide of the near post as the sides went in all square.

Stags survived an early scramble in the six yard box with Pym dropping safely on the ball at the feet of Ndiaye after Baldock had drilled it in hard and low.

Gordon put a good cross to the far post on 52 minutes which Akins could only guide straight to the keeper.

On 59 minutes Stags made more wholesale changes with most of the players who went off in the first half returning for more minutes.

Oates forced Foderingham to block a powerful near post shot from a tight angle on 63 minutes.

Two minutes later Stags broke the deadlock through Boateng.

Gale got away and sent in a powerful low ball from the left by-line, and Stags' summer signing made no mistake in diverting it first time past the keeper from five yards.

An offside flag was raised well before Brewster headed home on a break and the same player bundled an 18-yard effort at Pym.

Instead the home side doubled their lead on 71 minutes.

Gale was again the provider from the left as he sent another tempting, low cross in and Oates was on hand to finish first time from close range.

With 14 minutes to and another drinks break, United also made a raft of changes.

On 84 minutes Oates latched onto a poor back pass but could not beat Foderingham on his near post.

But seconds later Boateng picked up the ball from Lapslie’s pass 18 yards from goal and curled a simply delightful finish that found the net off the inside of the far post, giving the keeper no chance to crown a fine night for the Stags.