Mansfield Town made it two derby wins over Notts County in less than a month as a CJ Hamilton goal earned a 2-1 win at Meadow Lane in the second Checkatrade Trophy group game tonight.
It was no more than the Stags deserved as they dominated the game, had what looked like a goal ruled out and hit the woodwork with County’s equaliser being steeped in controversy.
Both sides made 10 changes – Rhys Bennett the only one to keep his place for Mansfield - and Evans saw several of his fringe players stake a genuine claim for a place against Exeter City on Saturday with some excellent performances.
Midfield ace Joel Byrom played for almost an hour on his comeback from injury – another huge plus – before being replaced by Jack Thomas recalled from his loan at Boston United.
Lee Angol gave Stags the perfect start when he caught Notts keeper Branislav Pindroch cold with a low shot from 25 yards with only 47 seconds gone after winning the ball 30 yards from goals and racing forwards.
On five minutes it seemed Paul Digby had headed home from a corner, but the officials decided the ball had not crossed the line.
Mansfield had half shouts for a penalty as Omari Sterling-James was challenged by Jones, but referee Graham Horwood gave only a corner.
On 27 minute Sterling-James helped the ball on for Spencer whose powerful half volley struck the post, Angol unable to put away the rebound as Brisley made a crucial challenge.
On the half-hour mark, Spencer seemed to be brought down by the keeper but again Stags were denied a spot kick.
To make matters worse on 34 minutes Notts levelled with their first shot on target from a corner.
A Stags player appeared to be knocked over off the ball as it came in and veteran Alan Smith steered home from close range, the goal allowed to stand.
Stags came back out determined for the second half and Sterling James had an effort deflect wide and another that forced Pindroch to save.
County’s Liam Walkerthen forced Olejnik into a save at the other end after cutting in from the right.
Notts were now enjoying their best spell and Walker twice came close again
But Hamilton popped up with a stunning winner on 73 minutes.
Paul Anderson sent in a cross, which was punched out, and Hamilton controlled on his chest before powerfully finding the top corner from 14 yards.
Twice Mal Benning and then Hamilton forced Pindroch into saves as Mansfield went for the jugular
Near the end Walker wasn’t far wide with a shot for Notts and Hollis headed wide, but Stags saw out the five added minutes to chalk up a confidence-boosting first win in five games.
MANSFIELD: Olejnik, Anderson, Digby, Bennett, Benning, Mellis, Byrom (Thomas 57), Sterling-James (Potter 89), Hamilton, Spencer, Angol (Hemmings 90). Subs not used: Logan, Pearce, Atkinson, Rose
NOTTS COUNTY: Pindroch, Hunt, Brisley, Hollis, Jones (Dickinson 6’), Walker, Thompson, Milsom (Grant 81), Hodge, Smith (Alessandra 80), Saunders. Subs not used: Fitzsimons, Forte, Bird, Howes.
REFEREE: Graham Horwood.
ATTENDANCE: 2,290 (405 away).