Full Time Score Mansfield Town 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers U21s
Competition Checkatrade Trophy (North) Group H [Game 2 of 3]
Venue The One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorers Jacob Mellis, Mal Benning
Attendance 1,112 (131)
Craig Priest writes…
Following Saturday’s deflating draw this evening’s match was about one key word – progression. Despite seven changes I’m a firm beliver that we win, lose and draw as a team, and therefore a 2-1 victory is not one for the “reserves” or in a “friendly style match” – it’s a win for Mansfield Town Football Club.
In truth it was a harder win that it should have been but not because of missed chances or a lack of creativity, there was a bit of rustiness from players and a negative mindset which comes from the way we’ve performed coupled with that outside pressure and a wolves academy side who were eager to show they were not there to just make the numbers up.
The victory gives us progression in the competition which is imperative in our mission to be successful, and it also gives us progression in game management and minutes. We had to soak up pressure, we found it tough to break through at times and that’s a progression in not crumbling and imploding which will serve us well going forward.
The international break I’m thankful for as it gives us time to breathe and work on these niggles and errors, this time we must come back a week on Saturday and really kick on as a unit.
Seven changes were made from the side to draw 2-2 at Bury on Saturday with many players getting value minutes, including Omari Sterling-James – one of three players jetting off on international duty over the coming days.
The Stags started with real fire and should have been ahead within the opening minute as excellent work from Sterling-James contributed in the build up, Will Atkinson nodded wide at the far post and after a momentary pause for a potential head injury – play went on.
Mansfield didn’t have to wait much longer as Mellis, one of the seven changes, grabbed the opening goal – Sterling-James instrumental in the build-up sending the midfielder into the box, before he trickled easily beyond the keeper.
Sterling-James, Jordan Graham, Calum Butcher and Mellis came close to adding a second but the young visitors did well to defend, at the other end Conrad Logan made a fine save on 24 minutes to keep out Niall Ennis for the visitors only real sight of goal.
After the break the stags found their second goal early as Mal Benning fired in from a narrow angle on 47 minutes, before Mellis’ stunning free kick was saved by the keeper just after the hour.
The visitors looked just about done but found a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes to go as Goncalves pulls one back for the visitors with a stunning free-kick
A nervy finish was then set up, but Flitcrofts men did enough to see the game out and subsequently qualify for the next stage of the competition – they need just a draw in their final group match against league one Scunthorpe United next month to secure the group win, and therefore a home tie in the knockout stages.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers U21s
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Conrad Logan, Hayden White, Krystian Pearce ©, Matt Preston, Will Atkinson, Timi Elsnik, Jacob Mellis, Mal Benning, Calum Butcher (Otis Khan 79), Jordan Graham (Danny Rose 65), Omari Sterling-James (CJ Hamilton 60)
Unused Subs: Bobby Oljenik, Jason Law, Lewis Gibbens, Tyler Walker
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