Papa John’s Trophy – Group Stage, Game 3/3 – Tuesday 9th November
A treble for Danny Johnson helped Mansfield Town on their way to netting £10,000 and taking something away from this seasons EFL Trophy campaign, running out 6-3 winners against Newcastle United U21s, in a game which other than minutes and potential prize money, meant little to either club.
Both sides were already out of the competition ahead of kick-off but had to go through the motions and tick the boxes, a prime opportunity for Nigel Clough to give minutes to fringe players and ensure those playing on the fringes, are ready to step in when called upon as the Stags look to push on in the league.
Conceding three goals won’t have pleased Clough, especially given the ease the opposition had in creating those openings – however at the other end, his side were hungry and importantly clinical enough, to win the game, even if the Stags did have to come from 2-1 down.
Danny Johnson will undoubtedly take the headlines netting three goals, including one from the penalty spot banishing his demons from a few weeks previous – however there were a handful of younger players who also caught the eye, particularly 19-year-old James Gale who played alongside Johnson and Bowery in attack.
The small Stags faithful also got their first proper glimpse of Stoke City loanee Will Forrester who had a steady enough game alongside Rawson at the back, it’s nice to know there’s another option there, however personally I think he’ll be used as cover, with O’Toole ahead of him.
Speaking of O’Toole he got 45 minutes in midfield and capped a good display with a goal, again a good utility man to have around who provides cover in a number of areas, he was replaced at the break by the returning Ryan Stirk – it’s nice to have players coming back and options again!
There’s little else to be said really other than well done on getting the job done. Few will care about that result, but I think confidence breads confidence and winning games certainly brings that, regardless of opponent or competition.
STAGS: Shelvey, J.Clarke, Rawson (Cooper 80’), Forrester, Law, O’Toole (Stirk 46’), Ward, Gale, Sinclair, Johnson (Caine 70’), Bowery UNUSED SUBS: Stech, Charsley, Maris
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