Mansfield Town strike late to secure 1-0 friendly win at Alfreton Town

Alistair Smith hit the only goal of the game in Mansfield's 1-0 win at Alfreton Town.
Alistair Smith hit the only goal of the game in Mansfield's 1-0 win at Alfreton Town.

Alistair Smith hit a late winner to earn Mansfield Town a 1-0 win at Alfreton Town.

Smith hammered into the roof of the net with eight minutes to go after Mal Benning's perfect cross picked him out.

It capped an excellent second half display from Stags, who played a different line-up in each half, with the first team players getting the first run-out before 10 changes were made at the break.

But it was the back-up squad that impressed the most with a higher tempo 45 minutes and more energy and creativity on show following a largely forgettable first 45 minutes.

Otis Khan, Andy Cook and Alex MacDonald all came close to breaking the deadlock during an impressive spell straight after the break.

And the visitors eventually got their reward in the dying stages against a tiring Alfreton side.

At the other end Stags were rarely troubled with Josh Clackstone wasting Alfreton's only real chance with 21 minutes to go.

It was a useful work-out for Stags against their hard-working home neighbours who gave Mansfield a good test throughout.

Shane Killock had a header blocked for a corner on eight minutes during an even start.

Bobby Johnson failed to find the target with his header when he pulled away from his marker on 17 minutes.

It was the best chance of the opening 20 minutes as both sides effectively cancelled each other out in midfield.

Conrad Logan made a comfortable save on 26 minutes to keep out Josh Wilde's long range effort, before he saved easily from Killock's header on 33 minutes.

CJ Hamilton had a powerful shot blocked for a corner five minutes later as Mansfield looked to get into their stride.

Johnson curled a free-kick from a dangerous position straight into the crowd just before half-time. It was a free-kick which perfectly summed up the lack of quality on show in the final third during the first 45 minutes.

Stags made ten changes at the break, with the new line-up featuring two trialist players.

And they nearly found an early breakthrough when Trialist B sent a cross-shot just wide following a surging run four minutes after the restart.

Khan sent a first-time effort just over the bar after a superb cross from Alex MacDonald on 54 minutes.

Cook, one of the ten second half subs, fired over on the turn minutes later as Stags started to up the pressure.

Jack Atkinson superbly tipped over MacDonald's close range header over on the hour mark as the increased tempo from the visitors continued to cause Alfreton bother.

Clackstone screwed an effort badly wide from close range after the ball fell kindly from a corner on 69 minutes.

Sub keeper Aiden Stone had to punch away Morgan Brough's header at the expense of a corner with ten minutes left.

Smith then popped up with a tidy finish at the to wrap up the win.