Omari Sterling-James stakes his claim for a call-up at Exeter, despite Mansfield Town penalties defeat

Omari Sterling-James
Omari Sterling-James

Omari Sterling-James put himself in contention for Mansfield Town’s trip to Exeter City on Saturday with an excellent display in tonight’s penalties defeat to Everton U21s in the Leasings.com Trophy.

Ironically Sterling-James missed his spot kick in the 4-1 shoot-out defeat against a quality Everton side, but scored a good goal and might have had a hat-trick on another night.

“I think he has done enough to be putting pressure on the manager,” said assistant boss Lee Glover.

“The manager and I have spoken and he is very much in our thoughts.

“Then putting in a performance like he did tonight was excellent.”

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With nine first team players out injured, Stags had a sprinkling of youngsters on show tonight and Glover said: “I was encouraged by some of the young lads.

“But I though Omari did really well and I think Macca (Alex MacDonald) came on and gave us a lot of energy in midfield, getting people going.

“There were a lot of plusses but we’re not daft. We have lost a game on penalties which disappoints us and for all the good play we sometimes get round the area we need someone to get in there and finish it.”

It was Stags’ second penalties loss of the season and Glover said: “The lads take penalties all the time. I took penalties at a couple of clubs I was at and you can’t recreate what is going to happen.

“We leave it down to how the players feel and who wants to take a penalty. I have been in some shoot-outs where you would be surprised about some of the people who didn’t want one. It’s just about who is confident.”

Stags forced a late 1-1 draw in 90 minutes after Everton went down to 10 men following Beni Baningime’s second bookable offence on 70 minutes.

“I thought we were stronger in the second half,” said Glover.

“They have a lot of quality players with the academy they’ve got.

“But we blooded a lot of our lads and we came strong.

“We are disappointed not to win it as I think we finished the stronger.

“When they went down to 10 men they will say that is a learning curve for their players, lunging in like that when he’s on a booking.

“We had some good chances and we just needed someone to step up and put one in.

“We should definitely have had more than one goal. With the balls getting fed in and fired across the box someone has to get in the six yard box and put one in.”

He added: “We had to change it tactically at half-time so Knowles and Law came off. They did okay – it will be good experience for them and they will build on it.

“I thought Gibbens and Clarke were excellent throughout.

“The gaffer thought going to three at the back for the second half might suit us and he was right.

“The lad that scored their goal has got a bit of quality and it was a good finish.

“Then ours was a nice bit of play, a turn and shot. They were two quality goals.”