An Adam Baskerville goal on 32 minutes proved enough for Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division side Mickleover Sports to see off visiting Mansfield Town 1-0 at the Don Amott Arena.
The Stags fielded a very youthful back four for this fixture and they were tested to the full by John McGrath’s very talented young Sports side.
On a bobbly surface, good football was difficult, so it was fitting the winning goal came from the best passing move of the match.
Sports were good value for their interval lead, Danny Schofield wasting a great chance and Brian Jensen making a good save.
However, with first team coach Karl Hawley pitched into the action in the second half, Mansfield created far more chances in a scrappy, but entertaining end to end half.
Hawley forced two good saves from Lewis King while Adi Yussuf proved a handful, hitting a post and also forcing a save.
However, Mickleover were always a threat with their swift one-touch passing and Jensen had two more fine saves to make while Baskerville blazed a close range chance over the top.
CJ Hamilton again showed glimpses of his electric pace, but no one could finish when he did get balls into the box.
Boss Adam Murray elected to throw four of his youngsters into the starting-line-up.
Defenders Teddy Bloor, Louis Danquah, and Keiran Harrison joined young centre half Corbin Shires while young striker Jason Law also began on the right of a midfield four in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Yussuf was the lone striker with James Baxendale behind him, with Jamie McGuire skippering a side that also had Adam Chapman and Hamilton alongside him in midfield.
Sports had ex-Stags trialist Pablo Mills and former Mansfield youth player Ben Turner.
Stags had an early let-off as Schofield raced into the box and Jensen did just enough to prevent him getting a finish away and he was eventually crowded out.
On eight minutes Dale sent Baskerville into the Mansfield box and Harrison’s lunging attempt at a tackle proved enough to see the ball roll safely through to Jensen.
A great burst of pace to the by-line by Dales saw him cross low into the middle of the Stags’ six yard box. Harrison intercepted but couldn’t clear and Schofield blazed a glorious chance well over from five yards after 14 minutes.
Aside of Hamilton winning a corner and a low Yussuf shot pulled well wide, Stags had shown little in attack in the first 20 minutes.
On 22 minutes Chapman dipped a clearance back into the keeper’s arms from 35 yards, representing Mansfield’s first on-target effort.
Two minutes later Yussuf might have done better, stabbing a foot at a low Hamilton pull-back, but the ball bobbled away past his lunge.
A big gap opened up down the centre of the Mansfield defence on 26 minutes as Schofield ran through and squared it to Litchfield who saw Jensen superbly beat away his powerful one-on-one finish.
A superb through ball from Baxendale on 28 minutes sent Yussuf on his way, his low finish just touching keeper King en route and rolling out for a corner.
But it was Mickleover that broke through with the move of the night on 32 minutes. Turner started the move and was involved in several crisp first time passes outside the box before laying on a ball for Baskerville, who curled a superb left footed finish high inside the left post.
Two minutes from the break a neat Mansfield move saw Baxendale slip Chapman into the box only to see Burgin slide in with a perfectly-timed block on his shot.
Then King was down to grab a low Baxendale shot to his right as a bright rainbow appeared over the stadium just before the half-time whistle.
First team coach Hawley replaced youngster Law for the second half.
The second half began in scrappy fashion, Stags the first to make a goal attempt as Hamilton rose to nod well wide from a long right wing cross by Bloor.
But on 56 minutes Dales found Baskerville in the box and Bloor had to come up with a fine block, the ball rolling back to the Sports man and Jensen lucky not to concede a penalty with his follow-up challenge.
On 58 minutes Stags were almost level, Hawley forcing King to save his header from a Hamilton cross from the right.
Yussuf came even closer on 62 minutes as Hamilton sped superbly to the right by-line and crossed for Yussuf to turn a finish against the near post.
Within a minute Baskerville beat Jensen to Litchfield’s near post cross from the right but headed wide.
Play swung from end to end and another Hamilton cross from the right saw Yussuf’s low finish well saved.
Sports should have sealed the win on 72 minutes. Dale’s corner was not cleared and, from close in, Baskerville skied a finish over the bar.
With 12 minutes to go Jensen had another save to make as Litchfield got into the box on the left and tried to beat him with a ow shot at the near post.
On 82 minutes King again denied Hawley as he turned well onto a Baxendale cross from the right by-line and got away a low shot.
McGuire was lucky this was a pre-season friendly as his two-footed tackle on Dales saw play continue as time ran out on Mansfield.
MICKLEOVER SPORTS: King, Grocott, Turner, Broadhead, Mills, Burgin, Dales, Norcross, Litchfield, Baskerville (sub 90mins), Schofield.
STAGS: Jensen, Bloor, Shires, Harrison, Danquah, McGuire (C), Chapman, Baxendale, Hamilton, Yussuf, Law (Hawley HT).
REFEREE: Ian Smedley.