Goals from Chris Clements and Lindon Meikle got Mansfield Town off to a winning start in their central league east division, as the Stags defeat Doncaster Rovers Reserves by two goals to one at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Paul Cox took charge of the reserves for their first fixture of the season and named three trialists in his starting line-up. Birmingham City teenager Eddy Gnahore was given a run out after impressing in pre-season whilst former Leyton Orient man Leon McSweeney, who can play all across the park, also looked to impress. Former Notts County goalkeeper Liam Mitchell donned Stags colours again, this time on trial following last season’s short loan – Ian Deakin is out with a dislocated shoulder.
Both sides enjoyed prolonged spells with the ball however it was Stags that pressured first as Calvin Andrew stabbed a shot wide on ten minutes, seconds before Lindon Meikle hit high over the bar from Chris Clements’ corner.
Dave Syers hit over on the volley for the hosts nine minutes later before the Stags had two chances in as many minutes, the first coming on 26 as Calvin Andrew drew a save from the keeper from distance before Meikle nodded wide from Hutchinson’s follow up cross – seconds later it was Meikle again having a go, curling an effort wide after a dominant solo run.
John McCombe saw a header cleared off the line on the half hour mark from Clements’ corner before Briscoe volleyed the loose ball over the bar – Calvin Andrew again tested the water for Stags before the break whilst at the other end a Syers shot was easy for Liam Mitchell, who clung on to ensure the sides went into the dressing rooms level at half time.
Both sides made changes at the break, Doncaster made a double switch whilst Cox withdrew Andrew for Ollie Palmer – it was the hosts who adapted quicker as they saw a shot cannon off the underside of the bar and bounce away from the goal line within the opening two minutes.
Despite the hosts efforts it was Stags who grabbed the opener on 51 minutes, Lindon Meikle flicked the ball into the path of Ben Hutchinson who subsequently drilled low for Chris Clements who made no mistake with the finish.
The Stags’ lead lasted a mere three minutes as trialist Josh Payne drilled in Paterson’s pass from 18 yards, a good effort which gave Liam Mitchell no chance in the Stags goal however Lindon Meikle ensured the pendulum swung back in the Stags favour on the hour mark, lobbing the home keeper after a charging run, sparked by a smart assist from Ben Hutchinson.
Meikle’s goal to put the Stags ahead set the president for the remainder of the match, as Stags remained in control and came close to a third on numerous occasions through Hutchinson, Meikle, Briscoe and Palmer - Hosts Doncaster wasted a golden chance to grab a draw at the death as Bennett hit wide one vs one with Mitchell.
FULL TIME: Doncaster Rovers Reserves 1-2 Mansfield Town Reserves
STAGS: Liam Mitchell [TRIAL], Ritchie Sutton ©, Ryan Tafazolli, John McCombe, Leon McSweeney [TRIAL], Louis Briscoe, Eddy Gnahore [TRIAL], Chris Clements, Lindon Meikle, Ben Hutchinson, Calvin Andrew (Ollie Palmer HT (Joe Flint 87))
UNUSED SUBS: Matt Jones, Ross Lamb, Jack Thomas
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