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Report: Mansfield Town 3-1 Notts County

12 July 2014

Fisher (pen), Riley and Palmer on target in impressive pre-season victory.

Mansfield Town got their pre-season campaign off to a perfect start as they came from behind to beat Notts County at One Call Stadium.
 
Despite Brad McGowan handing the visitors the lead, a penalty from Alex Fisher and further goals from Martin Riley and Ollie Palmer gave the home side the win.
 
The visitors started the game the brighter, spending a lot of time in Mansfield's half early on without too much to test the Stags' trialist goalkeeper, but it was Jamie McGuire who had the first attempt on goal, blazing over from outside the area.
 
County made their early dominance count in the tenth minute. Jeremy Balmy's corner was not dealt with properly and McGowan poked the ball beyond Riley on the line and up into the roof of the net. 

The League One outfit soon squandered an opportunity to double their advantage when Blair Adams' free kick was met by Colby Bishop, but the young striker glanced his header wide.
 
Paul Cox's men had their best chance yet to draw level when Sam Clucas played in Fisher, but the forward looped his effort above the onrushing Spiess and the crossbar. This was seemingly the beginning of the transition in the run of play as Mansfield started to dictate proceedings.
 
The home side were not to be deterred, as in the 21st minute Fisher found himself through on goal again. Spiess was off his line once more, and was adjudged to have brought his opponent to the ground. Fisher duly stepped up and comfortably stroked home the awarded penalty.
 
The hosts went one better shortly after in what was fast becoming a very entertaining contest. Debutant Amari'i Bell won a corner, and the resulting set piece was fired to the back post by Murray. Burly forward Rhead was on hand to head back across goal before Riley bundled the ball home to give the Yellows the lead.
 
The Stags were started to enjoy more possession as the half wore on, and Fisher in particular was constantly giving the Magpies' backline something to think about. An excellent flicked header from Rhead which arrived from the trialist goalkeeper had his strike partner in on goal again, but Spiess prevented Fisher's chipped effort with a hand.
 
Rhead continued to win everything in the air, this time knocking the ball down for Clucas who sliced just wide of the left hand post. Moments later Rhead was winning important headers in his own area, diverting a dangerous Kyle Dixon free-kick.
 
It was the Stags that led an intriguing match at the break.
 
There were the multiple substitutions from both sides at the interval. Ritchie Sutton, Liam Marsden, Ollie Palmer, Chris Clements and Anthony Howell as well as a couple of trialists were introduced by Paul Cox as pre-season entered full swing.
 
There was a short period at the start of the second half where the many changes took time to adapt to the high tempo set in the first period. The hosts, despite being in the league below their opponents, continued to indulge in possession of the ball.

Fergus Bell, making his debut for the club, was starting to cause problems going forward. His inspired run at Cieron Keane produced a corner that saw Sutton and a Stags' trialist get in each other's way, despite the opportunity to further the hosts' advantage being there. Bell then tested the busy Spiess with a rasping strike from distance, which was well tipped away by the German.
 
With 20 minutes to go, Shaun Derry's men tried to display a little more urgency in search of an equaliser, but Mansfield were in no mood to give anything up easily. Paul Cox utilised his remaining changes by bringing on another trialist and the returning John Dempster.

Liam Noble latched onto a through ball on the edge of the area for the Magpies, but dragged his shot harmlessly wide. A Stags' trialist did similar shortly after in a quiet second half that saw limited action. A pair of County trialists combined in the area when well placed, but Mansfield's very own trialist in goal did well to rescue the situation of any danger.
 
The game was put to bed in the dying moments when Marsden's long throw into the area was skilfully headed into the top corner by the hardworking Palmer beyond the reach of the diving Spiess. It capped an excellent victory, and promises much for the upcoming season.


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