Rhys Oates earns Mansfield Town a draw with Rotherham United as new faces impress for Stags

Rhys Oates' late leveller earned Mansfield Town a highly credible 1-1 home draw with Championship new boys Rotherham United in today's pre-season friendly at the One Call Stadium.

Saturday, 16th July 2022, 4:55 pm

Oates guided home a superb low finish five minutes from time to wipe out Joshua Kayode's header on the hour mark as both sides gave energetic displays in the extreme temperatures.

Most home attention was on the new faces who all impressed on the day and looked good additions.

There was also a fine display in central midfield from former Scottish international Dylan McGeouch, who was a surprise name on the team sheet.

Free agent Dylan McGeouch turned out for Stags against Rotherham this afternoon. Picture by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

Mansfield gave an immediate debut to young defender Riley Harbottle, who agreed a season-long loan move from neighbours Nottingham Forest earlier in the day.

New keeper Christy Pym, on loan from Peterborough United, also made a first start.

And there was also a surprise place for ex-Celtic and Coventry star McGeouch, 29, a free agent who was said to have trained with the Stags at their camp in Scotland as a favour to him last week.

On a sweltering hot afternoon, the game was played in bright summer sunshine with drinks breaks every 15 minutes or so.

Will Swan impressed for Stags against Rotherham. Picture by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

The visitors should have taken the lead inside 25 seconds as a teasing cross by Barlaser on the right saw Wiles presented with a six yard header that he sent straight at Pym, who was perfectly placed to block.

On three minutes McGeough did not give up as Barlaser tried to shepherd a McLaughlin pass out for a goalkick, and won the ball and then tried to catch Johansson napping at his near post, but he made the stop.

And on seven minutes Swan came even closer with a burst of pace to the right by-line, then cut back inside and lashed a low shot across goal and just wide of the far post.

Pym was quick to come forward and pounce as Washington tried to get on the end of a through ball into the box and the danger was quickly averted.

An immediate debut for Forest loanee Riley Harbottle hours after signing for Stags today. Picture by Chris Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

Akins was not far wide with a far post header from McLaughlin's measured cross on 26 minutes as both sides continued to entertain.

On 35 minutes Kayode robbed Clarke on the edge of the Stags box and crossed to the far post where Kioso forced Pym to grab his on-target header.

Then Stags were unlucky as a lovely pass from the outside of his boot by Swan sent Clarke into the left of the box, no one able to touch home his powerful cross as an entertaining half ended without score.

There were soon chances at both ends after the restart.

On 54 minutes Washington guided a free header wide from six yards from an Ogbene cross and straight away at the other end Johansson was behind Bowery's low shot from 12 yards.

But the Millers broke the deadlock on the hour as Kayobe headed in from close range amid a crowded six yard box from Barlaser's right wing corner in front of their own supporters.

Soon after Kayode appeared to pull a muscle and limped off which sparked a raft of home subs on 62 minutes.

Pym was safely behind a low 30 yard free kick by Marlaser on the restart.

Rotherham made their raft of changes on 70 minutes when Kellan Gordon also entered the fray and won a free kick which McLaughlin rolled to Akins, whose low shot was easily gathered by Johansson.

More changes followed as the game inevitably slowed and became a little disjointed.

With six minutes to go Boateng was unlucky as he fired a loose ball goalwards which deflected up and over for a corner from which Law teed up McLaughlin only to see the wing back slice over.

But Stags were level with a slice of Oates magic five minutes from time.

Law swept a great pass out to the right wing where Oates raced away and into the right of the box before dispatching a superb low finish across the keeper and inside the far post.

Maris then sent Oates away down the middle only to see the striker go down under the challenge of Odoffin.

Oates had been goalside, but the referee decided no penalty.

Stags next have more Championship opposition with a game against Sheffield United behind closed doors on Tuesday.

STAGS: Pym, McLaughlin, Harbottle (Cooper 76), Akins (Law 76), Clarke (Maris 62), Bowery (Gordon 70), Hawkins, McGeouch (Boateng 62), Swan (Oates 76), Lapslie (Quinn 62), O'Toole. SUBS NOT USED: Mason, Gale.

ROTHERHAM: Johansson, Barlaser (Holvey 70), Wood (Champion 76), Wiles (Rathbone 62), Ogbene (Douglas 70), Washington, Lindsay (Durose 70), Kayode (Kelly 62), Odoffin, Humphreys (Hull 62), Kioso (Warne 70). SUBS NOT USED: Vickers, Durose.

REFEREE: Josh Smith.

ATTENDANCE: 2,440 (410 away).