Mansfield Town turned in a strong performance before ‘running out of steam’ and losing 5-2 away to a strong League One Stevenage Borough side in a behind-closed-doors friendly this afternoon.
Stags boss Paul Cox was furious with some of his players’ displays in last night’s 4-1 defeat at Worksop Town.
But, playing a completely different XI today, he was much much happier with what he saw.
Cox kept most of his side out there for most of the game while Stevenage changed their XI for the second half.
In the first half the home side played what looks to be their best XI, including ex-Stag Luke Jones, but Mansfield held on for 1-1 at half-time.
After the break it was 2-2 for a long time until Stags’ tiring legs allowed the fresher Stevenage players to add three goals, one from the spot.
Mansfield’s goals came from Nathan Arnold and Anthony Howell.
Cox said: “A lot of good things came out of that. I was really pleased with us against a strong side who I think will be up there among the promotion race next season.
“It was about 26 degree heat down there, I think it just caught up with us in the end. We ran out of steam. But our fitness levels looked really good.”
He added: “I have mixed the sides up over the two games and now have to put together an XI that can play together and can take us forward.
“Last night hurt a bit, but today I was pleased we bossed it for an hour against really tough opposition.”
Stags began the game with a line-up of: Marriott; Beevers, Tafazolli, McCombe, Jennings; Howell, McGuire, Clucas; Stevenson, Rhead, Daniel.
Tonight Stags send a youth side to Ollerton Town and on Saturday, Nottingham Forest are the visitors to the One Call Stadium.
Cox also today confirmed that Andy Todd had left the club to try to prolong his playing career.
Todd had been a player-coach but was only offered a coaching deal for next season.
“Andy is talking to a number of clubs about continuing his playing career,” said Cox.
“We have only offered him a coaching post so it’s in his best interests to look elsewhere now. But he did a good job for us while he was here and never let us down as a player.”