Richard Cooper’s reserve team got back to winning ways last night as goals from Lee Stevenson and Anthony Howell saw off Doncaster Rovers at the One Call Stadium.
With the first team stretched defensively youngsters Ben Birch and Liam Marsden were both given 90minutes whilst left backs Paul Black and James Jennings also slotted into the back four, the latter partnering Birch in the middle and captaining the side.
Stags began brightly and could have had three goals inside the opening ten minutes, Ollie Palmer was denied by a defensive block from Jordan Binns after Lee Stevenson had threaded him through on goal whilst Rovers keeper Jon Maxted also kept out Stevenson who cantered forward after winning possession midway into the Doncaster half. Lindon Meikle also saw an effort go narrowly over, lifting a shot over the bar after Stevenson had again undone the visiting back line.
Palmer came close thrice more whilst midfielder Keiran Murtagh also came close from distance, the Stags eventually broke the deadlock through Lee Stevenson on 39 minutes as he tucked home his third goal in four games for the second string, latching onto Paul Blacks powerful cut back from the left hand side.
Meikle and Palmer had further attempts to double the Stags lead before the break but failed to find the killer touch, whilst after the break the Stags should have had a penalty when Meikle’s effort struck the hand of a Doncaster defender.
The visitors had a rare sight of goal on 50 minutes as Ian Deakin raced out to pressure the on rushing Chris Whincop, the pressure paid off as despite the Rovers man lobbing Deakin, his effort bounced wide of the gaping goal.
Three minutes later the Stags made the visitors miss pay as they doubled their lead, Liam Marsden provided an excellent assist with a right sided sweeping cross, Anthony Howell did the rest swivelling inside the area to drill underneath the despairing dive of Maxted.
Meikle and Howell had further efforts to extend the Stags lead but failed to beat Maxted for a third time, right at the death Stags glovesman Ian Deakin got down low to push behind Whincop’s effort after he broke the Stags back line, Deakin’s save ensuring a clean sheet for Cooper’s men.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 2-0 Doncaster Rovers
Referee: Michael Scriven
Stags: Ian Deakin, Liam Marsden, Ben Birch, James Jennings (C), Paul Black, Lindon Meikle, Keiran Murtagh, Godfrey Poku, Anthony Howell, Lee Stevenson, Ollie Palmer.
Unused Subs: Jordan Fell [GK], Kevin Hemagou, Jack Thomas, Conor Green, Ross Lamb
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