Mansfield Town continued their pre-season preparations with Sheffield Wednesday the visitors to the One Call Stadium, which saw the Owls run out 3-2 winners.
It was a great chance for Stags fans see the new players who didn’t travel to Malta, and also for the new signings making their home debuts.
Even though it was only a friendly and the results mean nothing, it was hard not to look forward to seeing the quality of players we have signed and seeing them testing themselves against some top players who have played Premier League football.
I can’t remember seeing a Mansfield team with so many good options in all positions. There were a number of good displays from the likes of Mellis, Hamilton, Benning and Digby, to name a few who looked sharp as they grew into the game.
The first half started with Wednesday having the lion’s share of possession and they took the lead through Jordan Rhodes with a header that the defence should have dealt with but will no doubt learn from. The Stags equalised through George Taft from a free-kick that led to a scramble in the area, and he was first on hand to blast into the roof of the net.
The Owls came knocking on the door by testing Conrad Logan between the sticks in the first half. But Logan commanded his area well and impressed with his kicking up to Lee Angol.
The second half saw many changes to give everyone much-needed minutes under their belts, apart from Macdonald, who felt a strain and so was not risked. It was nothing serious, though, and you would expect him to feature against another good test in Middlesbrough on Wednesday night.
The second half saw the Stags up the tempo and play some good football in spells, which caused the Yorkshire side some problems down the wing. Against the run of play, the Owls went back in front, courtesy of Tom Lees, who rose well to head the ball past Oljenik. That was unstoppable.
As the second half progressed, Sterling James caused problems going forward and looked a threat every time he was on the ball, along with Rose, who gives it his all every time he plays. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself and was only foiled by some last-ditch defending by the Owls.
There was also a triallist who was introduced for the final 20 minutes of the game and he should have converted his effort at goal after a great ball through. But the Wednesday ‘keeper pulled off a great save. The triallist was the former Plymouth Argyle man, Jordan Slew, who many Stags fans will have known from when he scored against us last season.
Personally, I think we have enough firepower for our promotion push. But the quality between the two sides showed when Lucas Joao converted to make it 3-2 to finish the game off.
Overall, I think it was good for the players to be tested against top players and was another giant step towards the opening game against Crewe come August 5. Also, credit to both sets of fans for turning out, with a crowd more than 4,000 in attendance. I expect it to be much of the same against Nottingham Forest next Saturday. Up The Stags!!