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Report: Gainsborough 0-5 Stags

30 July 2013

Mansfield Town ended their pre-season campaign on a winning note, as they cruised to a comfortable 5-0 win at Gainsborough Trinity.

In monsoon like conditions at The Northolme Ground, The Stags led 2-0 at the interval thanks to goals from Louis Briscoe and Lee Stevenson.

Striker Calvin Andrew netted a brace after the re-start, before Ben Hutchinson completed the rout of the Conference North side late on.

The Stags thought they had scored inside the opening minute, but Stevenson’s close-range finish after Matt Rhead’s knockdown was ruled out for offside.

Gainsborough, however, looked lively in the early exchanges, and Alan Marriott was called into action for the first time he kept out a shot by Brad Barraclough.

Jon Williams then curled a free-kick only inches wide, whilst Dominic Roma’s low right-wing cross two minutes later was unconvincingly sliced away by Pilkington.

Continuous torrential rain made for interesting playing conditions, but The Stags soon started to pour men forward at frequent intervals.

On the quarter-hour mark, the deadlock was broken as Briscoe wrestled his way past Tom Ward in order to latch onto Pilkington’s clever though ball.

Despite Phil Barnes producing an excellent save from Briscoe’s initial shot, the winger pounced upon a fortuitous rebound and fired home at the second attempt.

Moments later, an unmarked Lindon Meikle spurned a gilt-edge opportunity to double the advantage as he blazed over following good work by Briscoe.

But goals continued to flow for the visitors, with Stevenson finally adding his name to the score-sheet when he converted an inviting left-sided delivery by Adam Murray.

Nevertheless, the Trinity shot-stopper prevented a shower of further Mansfield goals, as Briscoe came close with a low, long-distance free-kick, which skidded off the wet surface.

And Barnes again showed excellent reflexes to parry away a swerving 30-yard strike by Meikle, which looked destined to ripple the back of the net.

Despite monsoon like weather conditions in the first period, bright sunshine bizarrely greeted the two teams as they re-emerged after the break.

The PA operator inside the stadium also kept the spirits of the drenched spectators high, with a rain-related and good-humoured choice of music.

The Stags also made nine changes at the break, with only Martin Riley and Murray remaining from the team which was fielded in the first period.

And Gainsborough’s damp mood was further enhanced within minutes of the re-start, as Stags trialist Andrew finished from close-range.

Skipper Murray played a defence-splitting pass to Jake Speight, whose low shot cannoned off Barnes and fell straight into the path of an unmarked Andrew, just a few yards out.

On the hour-mark, Andrew then struck again in spectacular fashion.

The striker skipped past Greg Young on the right flank and unleashed a thunderbolt attempt that flew into the top corner, leaving Barnes with no chance.

Ten minutes later, Andrew turned from scorer to provider, as he again fooled Young with some clever footwork, and fed Ben Hutchinson.

Hutchinson slammed a powerful low drive straight into the bottom corner, to put The Stags on course for their most comprehensive victory in pre-season.

Speight could have added to the rout in the closing minutes, but it mattered little as Mansfield ran-out as comprehensive winners.

Stags (First Half XI): Marriott, Pilkington, Riley, Dempster, Jennings, Briscoe, Murtagh, Murray, Meikle, Stevenson, Rhead.

Stags (Second Half XI): Deakin, Sutton, Riley (Pilkington), Tafazolli, Black, Dyer, Murray, Gnahore, Hutchinson, Speight, Andrew.

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