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Stags sweep aside Eastwood

PUBLISHED

09:22 1th August 2012

by Andrew Webb

Mansfield Town extended their unbeaten pre-season run to seven games with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Evo-Stik Premier League side Eastwood Town.

On his return to Coronation Park, Lee Stevenson netted his second goal of pre-season to put the Stags ahead on 33 minutes before Cameron Fearon doubled the advantage with an own goal before the break.

Nick Wright struck a third goal in the closing stages to round off what was another perfect pre-season outing for Paul Cox’s dominant side.

On a miserable evening in Nottinghamshire, the hosts enjoyed the better of the early exchanges and created their first chance on three minutes when Fearon fired over from close range after a low ball into the box from Jermaine Hollis.

Mansfield created their first opportunity two minutes later when Stevenson, stationed in the middle of the park, sprayed a delightful ball towards Wright located out on the right. Wright then cut inside, but saw his shot smothered by goalkeeper Ian Deakin, before defender Paul Riley cleared the danger.

George Pilkington headed over the woodwork a minute later, before Grant Ryan tested Redmond’s reflexes at the opposite end with a powerful swerving shot which the Stags shot-stopper did well to hold.

On the quarter-hour mark, a routine ball into the area from Jamie Hand was fumbled by Deakin and fell straight in the path of Stevenson. However, the Eastwood keeper made amends as he blocked Stevenson’s instinctive snap-shot and did enough to distract Jamie Tolley who fired wide from distance with the rebound.

The Stags continued to enjoy the majority of the possession, though the game soon erupted into a full-blooded affair. Danny Elliott was penalised for a foul on Stevenson on 16 minutes, before Eastwood won a free-kick in a dangerous position after Hand clattered Paolo Piliero on the edge of the box.

Mitch Hanson lacked accuracy from the resulting free-kick as his shot sailed high over the woodwork and Piliero came only marginally closer to opening the scoring a few moments later when his attempted chip was comfortably gathered by Redmond.

Mansfield then came close to opening the scoring on 22 minutes when Louis Briscoe’s corner towards the back post caused havoc inside the Eastwood area. Ben Hutchinson’s flick picked out Wright on the near post, but Riley flung his body infront of the ball to deny the big striker.

Nevertheless, Wright played a significant role as Mansfield opened the scoring on the half-hour mark. The former Kidderminster Harriers star fooled his marker with some intricate footwork and launched a pinpoint cross into the area from the right flank, which was powerfully headed home by Stevenson.

The Stags almost reaped further rewards in an identical attack on 35 minutes. Briscoe whipped a long cross into the box, though a back-peddling Stevenson only managed to direct his header wide of the post on this occasion.

Moments prior to the half-time, Mansfield once again used the right flank to devastating effect as they enhanced their superiority by doubling their advantage.

Wright launched a speculative ball into a six-yard box occupied by both Stevenson and Hutchinson, but it was the unfortunate Fearon who inadvertently turned the ball into his own goal with an awful attempted clearance.

Godfrey Poku and John Thompson replaced Hand and Pilkington after the break as the Stags continued to dominate proceedings.

Lee Beevers fired over with a speculative strike from distance on 48 minutes, moments before Thompson glanced a free-header wide from close range following a corner from Tolley.

Tolley then came within inches of extending the scoreline further eight minutes later. The former Wrexham midfielder collected the ball after Deon Meikle could only partially clear a cross from Wright, but his thunderous long-range volley landed on the roof of the goal.

Both teams made a flurry of substitutions on the hour mark and it was Stags substitute Gary Roberts that exquisitely linked up with Briscoe five minutes later. An intricate one-two between the pair cut the Badgers defence wide open, but Briscoe was unable to find the target with a low shot from inside the area.

Anthony Howell also came close to adding his name to the score-sheet on 74 minutes. A long-range shot from Briscoe took a wicked deflection off the former Alfreton Town midfielder and fell only inches wide of the post, with Deakin rooted to his line.

Briscoe came no closer only two minutes later when his more cleanly struck effort also sailed off-target.

Having been on the back foot for most of the night, Eastwood enjoyed a rare opportunity on 81 minutes when substitute Markel Bailey cut inside from the left flank and fired a powerful shot wide of the target.

The hosts came much closer a minute later though when Redmond failed to claim a cross after advancing from his line, which resulted in Chris Clements having to clear from a yard out in order to protect the Stags clean-sheet.

However, with only one minute of normal time remaining Wright rounded off a perfect evening for the Stags with a third goal. The striker was allowed to cut inside from the left flank after being left unmarked and let fly with a right-footed shot from 12-yards, which nestled perfectly in the bottom corner.

Mansfield Town: Redmond, Beevers (Todd 74), Dempster, Pilkington (Thompson 46), Sutton, Briscoe, Tolley (Howell 60), Hand (Poku 46), Wright, Stevenson (Howell 60), Hutchinson (Clements 60).

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