Despite coming back from 2-0 down to level the score, Stags’ reserves succumbed to a 5-2 loss against Notts County reserves at Basford United Football Club earlier today.
Forward Tom Fielding pulled a goal back with a spectacular effort ten minutes before the first-half came to a close, before Jordan Graham’s penalty made it 2-2 moments after the break.
However, a late flurry of goals for the Magpies sentenced the Stags to their first Central League Cup defeat of the season.
Notts immediately started the game on the front foot, and created a number of half-chances before finding the opening goal in the third minute.
Sam Osborne found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Jake Kean, and did well to take the ball around the Mansfield stopper before rolling his effort into an empty net.
Stags responded with immediate effect, going close through Graham. Striker Jimmy Knowles, who was given his first start in Mansfield’s second string this afternoon, did well to win a free-kick in a dangerous area.
Wide-man Law delivered a cross from the dead-ball situation which found Graham, who saw his strike well-held by Max Culverwell in the Notts’ goal.
Although the Stags responded positively to conceding, it was the hosts who found the next goal of the contest.
Directly after a Stags’ corner was well defended, Notts launched a superb counter-attack, which ended with Will Patching’s confident finish.
It was almost three for the home side soon after, when a goalmouth scramble from a free-kick deflected onto the outside of Kean’s near post.
Mansfield were starting to grow into the game after County’s near miss, and hit the woodwork themselves in the 26th minute.
The ball was lofted into the area from a wide position, leaving Cameron Healey - who scored in last week’s 5-1 win over Peterborough reserves – to head against the crossbar.
Healey had another chance to pull a goal back, but saw his strike – which looked destined to find the back of the net – well-blocked by a County defender.
Just a minute later, the Stags found themselves back in the game. Fielding picked up the ball in midfield, before cutting in on his left foot and finding the net with a rasping drive from 22 yards.
Just as the Stags did after conceding earlier in the match, Notts responded well after Fielding’s strike. Kean, who signed for Mansfield on a one-month deal last week, was forced into making a series of impressive saves to keep the goal margin at one.
The final chance of the half fell to Graham, who beat his man well and flashed an effort over the crossbar.
Mansfield finished the first-half as the better side, and continued that into the second period. Fielding picked up the ball in the area and was brought down, leading to referee Gareth Myers pointing to the spot.
Graham stepped up, and confidently found the bottom corner with his precise penalty kick.
Stags nearly took the lead through Law, who weaved his way into the box before firing just wide of the far post.
However, it would be Notts that would be the team to reach three goals. The ball was driven low across the Stags’ area, giving Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain a simple finish at the back post.
The afternoon would get worse for Mansfield just over ten minutes from time. Substitute Leo Marshall was released beyond the Stags’ back-line, and expertly dispatched his chance into the bottom corner.
Kion Etete made it five for the ‘Pies with his excellent finish after a surging run upfield.
Stags will be keen to soon forget this result, and have an opportunity to put this game behind them on Thursday, when they welcome Doncaster Rovers to RH Academy for their third Central League Cup clash of the campaign. Kick-off is 2pm.
STAGS’ XI: Kean, Walker, Ward, Gibbens, Blake, Law, Bircumshaw, Healey, Fielding, Graham, Knowles.
UNUSED SUBS: Wilson, Armsden, Tague, Sinclair, O’Sullivan.
NOTTS’ XI: Culverwell (Brooks 46’), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kennedy-Williams, Crawford (Ramirez 85’), Betts, Bird, Osborne, Cummings (Marshall 64’), Etete, Patching, Campbell.
UNUSED SUBS: Bugg, Bucalossi.