Boston United 1 v Mansfield Town 4, Saturday 30th July - Friendly

TWO thunderbolt goals from skipper Adam Murray fired Stags towards an impressive 4-1 pre-season friendly win in the bright summer sunshine at Conference North Boston United on Saturday, reports John Lomas.

After Murray’s opening first minute ‘net-burster’ Stags dominated against a side who made the BSB North play-offs last season.

They could have been out of sight by half-time. Instead the Pilgrims levelled on 67 minutes through Liam Parker.

Parity was short-lived as Louis Briscoe made it 2-1 within four minutes and the home side could have little argument with the result as Murray bagged another scorcher with sub Anthony Howell adding a fourth with almost the last kick of the game.

The only concern was a knock to Jon Worthington in the same week fellow experienced central midfielder Paul Bolland was also injured.

Stags began with a 4-4-2 line-up with Thompson returning to the side at right back and Kendrick at left back.

Boston, now co-managed by ex-Stag Jason Lee, included two former Mansfield players in Jelleyman and Sleath in a youthful line-up.

Stags made the perfect start as Murray found the net inside the first minute.

The Stags skipper found the ball bouncing near his feet 25 yard from goals and let fly with a dipping shot that found the top left hand corner, keeper Bastock getting a hand to it but unable to prevent it going in.

Two minutes later Bastock had to threw his body in the way of Connor’s shot as the striker was afforded too much time and space in the box.

Mansfield fashioned another chance on seven minutes as Connor and Briscoe produced a sparkling exchange of volleys before Briscoe got his shot away, Bastock half-stopping it and then grabbing it before it could spin back over his line.

Boston, fortunate not to be 3-0 down, finally got to grips with the task in hand and Ogden fed Stones for a shot that proved easier for Marriott after clipping a leg en route

Then Worthington, still limping from a tackle moments before, slid in to prevent Millson going through on goal with Stones allowed a header that he sent wider from the corner.

After 15 minutes Naylor and Thompson roles and on his first raid forward as the overlapping right back, Naylor was set up nicely by Briscoe to his left but sliced a defender’s finish wide of the near post.

On 22 minutes Sleath almost unlocked the visiting defence with a near reverse flick that sent Ogden clear, Marriott leaving his line to face him and getting his body firmly in the way of Ogden’s stabbed finish.

Worthington had never fully recovered from the firm tackle he had suffered earlier and on 27 minutes it was decided to replace him with Stevenson.

Murray was warned for hacking at Millson as the ball ran out of play for a throw, but no card was shown.

Thompson just failed to get enough on a glancing header from a corner to test Bastock, then Jelleyman got in the way of a Stevenson shot with the Stags players claiming the ex-Mansfield defender had blocked with his hand.

Mansfield ended a good half firmly on top.

The home side, having started the afternoon with a young side, sent on more of their experienced players with seven half-time changes.

But it was the Stags who almost began the second as the first as Todd’s early header onto a Briscoe cross forced a save out of veteran Bastock.

Sleath warmed Marriott with an angled 20 yard right-footed drive on 52 minutes and, two minutes later, Bastock had to get down smartly after a long cross from the left feel nicely for Briscoe at the far post.

After a shoving spat between Riley and veteran Austin had been halted by the referee, Sleath fired a poor free kick well over from a central position.

Bastock did well to block a low Todd shot but, with the keeper grounded and the ball loose, it took a great challenge from Field to do enough to put off Briscoe as he tried to find the empty net.

However, the home side were level on 67 minutes. Semple’s corner was headed back across goal by Holsgrove towards Parker who saw Marriott pull off a breathtaking save from his close range header but reacted quickest to turn the loose ball over the line.

Within two minutes Stags were back ahead after Green was upended by oncoming keeper Drury as he burst towards goal to win the penalty.

There was a hold-up while Kendrick received treatment and then on 71 minutes Briscoe finally walked up to drill a low spot kick into the left hand corner.

Hall showed good footwork to beat three men in a mazy run but his finish was always curling away from the angle.

Murray ended the afternoon as he began it with another spectacular finish. Parker’s headed clearance came towards Murray who, from the edge of the box, simply rocketed the loose ball high under the bar, giving Drury no chance.

Marriott was called upon to get a hand to a low finish from former Villa star Joachim as we entered the last four minutes.

But Stags underlined their superiority on the day with a fourth goal in the last minute.

Kendrick’s long corner found Howell at the far post and, getting in the right position, the ball cannoned in off his leg to complete a highly satisfying afternoon.

BOSTON: Bastock (Drury ht), Fairclough, Jelleymen (Field ht), Sleath (Joachim 61), Ward (Parker ht), Austin, Deane (Semple ht), Millson (Hall ht), Stones (Suarez ht), Newsham (Milnes 61), Ogden (Holsgrove ht).

STAGS: Marriott; Thompson, Riley, Naylor, Kendrick; Todd, Murray, Worthington (Stevenson 27), Briscoe; Connor (Dyer 62), Green (Howell 73).

REFEREE: Steve Ross of Lincolnshire.

ATTENDANCE: 637 (178 away fans).