Andy Todd’s second-string cruised into the Central League Cup Final with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over a youthful Tranmere Rovers side at One Call Stadium.
George Pilkington headed us infront shortly before the interval, whilst Nick Wright’s double and strikes from substitute Jake Green and Andy Todd sealed the win.
The Stags, skippered by Ryan Tafazolli, were dealt a blow in the early exchanges as the former Southampton centre-back limped off with an injury in just the third minute.
Tafazolli was replaced by Green, who donned the captain’s armband, as Mansfield tore into their counterparts and dominated possession for lengthy periods.
Nevertheless, it was the visitors that created the first chance when Liam Davies cleverly cut inside and drew a fine full-stretch save from Shane Redmond.
Chris Clements was soon denied by Nathan Jones at the opposite end, before Wright whistled shot high and wide midway through the first period.
The Stags then enjoyed a flurry of chances in quick succession as Ben Hutchinson and Clements were both off-target close to the half-hour mark.
Wright forced a fine reaction stop from Jones after some intelligent combination play between Hutchinson and Green, but Tranmere continued to remain resolute.
However, with half-time approaching, the Stags went ahead.
Jamie Tolley’s initial corner was only partially cleared by the Rovers defence and, at the second attempt, the midfielder found Pilkington, who headed home.
With a lead established, Mansfield dominated and doubled their advantage soon after the re-start.
A superb move saw several players exchanges passes, before Clements’ delivered a neat inside pass towards Green, who struck a thunderous 25-yard drive into the net.
The Stags put the game beyond doubt moments later as Wright rounded the keeper and slotted home, having received an intricate through ball by Hutchinson.
As Tranmere’s young legs tired due to the hosts’ relentless energy, player/coach Todd added a fourth in exquisite style as his sumptuous close-range volley was just too powerful for Jones.
Wright then bagged his second goal of a memorable afternoon when he capitalised on some sloppy defending and steered a low shot into the bottom corner.
The Stags were good value for their excellent win and will now face Gateshead in the Central League Cup Final with a date and venue yet to be arranged.
Team: Redmond, Thompson, Pilkington, Geohaghon, Tafazolli (J. Green), Sutton, Tolley, Clements, Todd, Wright, Hutchinson. Subs: Ganyiwa, Coupe, Hopkins, Harris.