CLINICAL Stags wrapped up their pre-season campaign with an impressive 4-1 win away at Chasetown on Saturday, reports Stephen Thirkill.
It was the fifth win on the trot for Paul Cox’s side as they once again showed their attacking prowess at The Scholars.
After hitting four against Ilkeston and Boston as well as three against Hednesford, Mansfield once again hit the goal trail with the dangerous Ross Dyer leading the way.
Adam Smith opened the scoring with the sweetest of lobs after just six minutes before Dyer doubled the lead with a clinical finish on 21 minutes.
The only downside of the contest for the visitors, who fielded a mixture of first-team regulars and squad players, was their inability to keep a clean sheet.
The Stags rearguard switched off allowing Gary Hay to head home and give the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side hope.
But there was only ever going to be one winner in this game with Mansfield looking likely to score every time they poured forward.
Dyer made it three after he smashed home a Bell corner from close range on 34 minutes before defender Matt Flynn fired home from 10 yards shortly before half-time to seal the solid victory.
Stags closed the second half out without incident and now go into their opening game of the season against Bath City next Saturday with a successful pre-season under their belt.
Stags went into their final pre-season friendly missing all three of the players left injured in the abandoned ‘friendly’ win against Ilkeston in midweek.
Defenders Richie Sutton, Martin Riley and John Thompson were all seriously injured after clashes with home player coach Gary Ricketts, before manager Paul Cox ordered his players off the field after 68 minutes.
A number of key first-team players incuding Briscoe, Connor, Murray and Marriott were left on the bench.
Trialist striker Odilon Koudemba was named on the bench for Mansfield Town.
After a slow start to their campaign, Stags went into the match with the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League outfit on the back of three successive wins against FC Halifax, Hednesford Town, Boston United and Ilkeston.
Stags got off to the perfect start after just six minutes with the first chance of the game when Adam Smith sweetly chipped goalkeeper Ryan Price from 20 yards to find the back of the net.
Smith was played in by Ross Dyer before unleashing the perfect lob over the head of the helpless Price.
And it was nearly 2-0 just a minute later when Dyer broke down the right flank at pace before sending in a teasing cross along the six yard box.
But Howell couldn’t stretch his leg enough to tap home, before Stevenson saw his effort blocked for a corner.
Chasetown enjoyed a spell of possession and tested Redmond for the first time on 19 minutes when Karl Edwards fired a shot from distance into the stomach of the Mansfield shot-stopper.
But Stags remained comfortable throughout and extended their lead after 21 minutes when the lively Ross Dyer managed to spring the home side’s offside trap.
Dyer then cut into the box from the right flank before firing hard and low across the face of goal to double Stags’ lead.
Chasetown cut the lead to get back into the game four minutes later when Gary Hay powerfully nodded home Stephen’s cross at the back post.
It was a sloppy goal for Stags to concede after they had built a solid lead at The Scholars.
The dangerous Dyer then crashed a curling right footed effort against the left post on 33 minutes after Howell found space before playing in Dyer.
But from the resulting corner Stags once again doubled their lead when the home defence failed to clear a Bell corner which was smashed into the roof of the net from four yards by Dyer.
It was a further example of Mansfield’s growing creative threat, with Stags looking likely to score every time they went forward.
The unmarked Howell nearly made it 4-1 on 40 minutes after he connected with an outswinging O’Neill Cross.
But his bullet header was impressively saved at full-stretch by Price, before the ball was turned away for a corner.
From the resulting corner Stags made it 4-1 to wrap up the game by half-time when the fragile Chasetown defence once again failed to clear a Bell corner.
Trialist defender Matt Flynn needed no second invite as he pounced on the loose ball to drill home from 10 yards.
It was nearly five on 47 minutes when a pin-point pass through midfield by Stevenson played Dyer clean through on goal.
The sharp striker rounded the keeper coolly and looked certain to seal his hat-trick before Chris Peel lunged to clear off the line for a corner.
Stevenson threatened to extend the visitor’s lead on 56 minutes when he rose well at the back post before heading Adam Smith’s cross out for a goal-kick.
Moments later Howell cut across the edge of the box before firing a timid shot straight at the goalkeeper as Stags continued to threaten from all areas of the pitch.
Stags knew the match was safely in the bag as the pace of the game began to significantly slow.
Peel and Sedgemore had half-chances for the home side as full-time approached, but it was all too little too late as Mansfield comfortably closed the game out.
CHASETOWN: Price, Turner, M. Branch, J. Branch, Farquarson, Teesdale, Stephens, Parsons, Hay, Edwards, Jevons, Birch: Subs: Perrow, Slater, Sedgemore, Westwood, Robinson, Steadman, Peel, Wiggins, Cohen.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Redmond, O’Neill (Naylor 75 mins), Bell, Worthington (Koudemba 60 min), Flynn, Wood, Todd, Stevenson, Dyer, Howell, Smith. Subs not used: Briscoe, Connor, Murray, Green, Kendrick, Marriott.
REFEREE: Michael D’aguilar.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ross Dyer.