Slick Stags eventually overcome challenge of non league Worksop Town

NMAC NWGU Worksop town v Mansfield town    Mansfield black strip, worksop orange
NMAC NWGU Worksop town v Mansfield town Mansfield black strip, worksop orange

Mansfield Town were fairly comfortable in victory over near neighbours and non league hosts Worksop Town on Wednesday night.

Stags’ quality and strength showed in the 4-1 win, eventually, despite a creditable showing from Tigers, who dominated a spell after the break.

Two goals in either half sealed it for Adam Murray’s men, with a strong outfit sent out at Sandy Lane.

A poor pass by Phil Roe set Mansfield away on the game’s first attack, Mitchell Rose winning a corner on the right, and when the ball wasn’t cleared, Craig Westcarr provided a clinical finish to give Stags a third minute lead.

Mansfield settled into a nice rhythm on a pristine pitch, making their hosts chase the ball, getting it wide into space. Worksop looked hurried in possession, and were wasteful early on.

Tigers finally got on the ball in the ninth minute. Adam Ward burst into the box from a Mitch Husbands touch, going down more in hope than expectation and winning no more than a corner - Tom Elliott receiving the ball and firing over.

Matt Green had a golden chance to make it 2-0 to Stags, ghosting between the two central defenders to get on the end of Westcarr’s inch perfect ball over the top, Jon Kennedy making a fine one handed stop.

The Tigers goalkeeper was called into action again on 23 minutes, throwing himself into the air to palm Rose’s fierce drive over the bar, and from the resulting corner Kennedy made a point blank stop from Lee Collins’ header.

At the other end Wafula headed the ball between the Mansfield defenders and Ward scampered clean through, Brian Jensen equalling Kennedy’s heroics with a save of his own.

Worksop were holding their own for a large period of play, enjoying only a fraction less possession than their higher league opponents, but Mansfield came closest to the next goal, Rose’s shot deflected just wide, and Phil Roe had to head off his own line from a corner.

The Stags pressure told, two minutes before the break, as Malvind Benning put in a lovely cross that somehow ended up in the far corner of Kennedy’s net.

A lovely bit of football from the NCEL side got the second half underway, Elliott, James Cottingham and Ward involved, the latter curling the ball wide.

Cottingham then stepped out of midfield and beat two challenges before shooting off target.

Worksop were dominanting and got the goal their play deserved when Elliott won the ball in the Stags half, linked with Husbands and then played Sellars in, who provided a classy finish.

With several pairs of fresh legs on, Mansfield began to do more of the pressing, Roe making another two goal-line clearances in quick succession.

And once again a bit of class proved the difference, Reggie Lambe curling a free-kick low around the wall and into the bottom right hand corner of the Worksop net.

The hosts faded a little, and as in most pre-season friendlies, a glut of replacements on each side disrupted what flow there was left in the game, Mansfield running out comfortable victors as Adi Yussuf powered in a fourth.

Worksop Town: Kennedy (Townsend 82), Wafula, Roe (Smythe 75), Liversidge, Henshaw, Cottingham (Hobson 82), Sellars (Thomas 75), Woolley (Richards 79), Husbands (Jordan 69), Ward (Wesley 82), Elliott (Barnett 72).

Mansfield Town: Jensen (Bishop 46), Hunt (Marsden 69), Shires, Collins, Benning, Chapman, N. Thomas (Lambe 56), J. Thomas (Clements 61), Rose, Westcarr (Yussuf 56), Green (Beardsley 62).

Referee: Chris Ward. Assistants: Craig Grundy, Matthew Bacon.

Goalscorers: Elliott 56; Westcarr 3, Benning 43, Lambe 78, Yussuf 90

Attendance: 637.