Goal-glut at Oakwell for Bobby Hassell testimonial.Strikes from Matt Green, Reggie Lambe and Craig Westcarr were on the score-sheet at Oakwell as Bobby Hassell’s Barnsley triumphed 4-3 in a goal-packed testimonial.
Both Adam Murray and opposing boss Lee Johnson named strong line-ups for the occasion, with Hassell involved from the start for the hosts while Scott Shearer was recalled between the posts for the Stags, with Matt Green spearheading the attack.
It was the home side who asked the first question in this encounter, with Josh Scowen earning a free-kick on the corner of the box. The young winger whipped in a dangerous cross that had Shearer scrambling towards his back-post, but the Scot was adjudged to have been fouled as he attempted to claim the high ball.
With seven minutes on the clock Barnsley were handed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. The lively Scowen darted in to the penalty area before taking a tumble under the challenge of Nathan Thomas, with the referee duly awarding the penalty.
Cheers from the home end as man of the moment Hassell placed the ball down on the spot, before stepping up to squeeze his strike from 12-yards past the diving Shearer.
The lead lasted less than two minutes, and it was a resident hero of Mansfield who notched his first goal of his second spell with the club. Matt Green pounced on Thomas’ deflected free-kick, beating the offside trap to slot past the helpless Adam Davies.
The Nottinghamshire side were impressing more and more as the game went by, with Adam Chapman and Reggie Lambe providing threatening chances in a bid to take the ascendancy.
Both teams were really going for it in a very evenly matched pre-season tie, but it was the away side that scored the game’s third goal of the afternoon.
Right on the half-hour mark Nathan Thomas drifted inside before playing a delightful cross-field ball to the oncoming Lambe, who in turn plucked the ball out of the air before scrambling it past the ‘keeper and in to the back of the net.
The Stags were ahead for the first time, but it was Hassell lauding the praise of the stadium as he was replaced by Marc Roberts shortly after the goal, with the fans offering a standing ovation to the Tykes number two.
It didn’t take long for Lee Johnson’s men to draw level, with trialist David Ball pouncing on a defensive error before beating the onrushing Shearer to the ball. The ex-Fleetwood forward delicately chipped the bouncing ball over the goalkeeper’s head, before watching it drop under the cross-bar and nestle in to the corner of the net.
Chances began to wane for both sides as the game petered towards the break, with the referee blowing for half time with the score at 2-2.
Mansfield returned for the second half with two alterations; Jack Thomas replaced Mitch Rose in the middle of the park while Nathan Thomas came off in place of Craig Westcarr.
The League Two side started the brighter with Nicky Hunt’s persistence forcing an error from Davies, with the ‘keeper gifting the ball to Lambe who immediately found Hunt in space. The right-back laid a pass off to the newly introduced Westcarr, but the forward sliced his strike high and wide.
Barnsley’s turn next, and similarly to the first half it was Scowen who registered the Yorkshire side’s first chance. The Tykes number seven was teed up by a team-mate, before drilling over from 20-yards.
Six changes for the Stags just past the hour mark, with Conor Green, McGuire, Beardsley, Shires, Dwyer and Fitzpatrick replacing Hunt, Collins, Benning, Chapman, Lambe and Beardsley.
Within 60 seconds of the changes, Barnsley regained the lead they lost in the first half. James Bree swung in a tantalising cross for Joe Rothwell to attack, and the Manchester United loanee did just that as he swept home on the half-volley from 10 yards, leaving Shearer beaten.
As the 70th minute came round, the full XI for the Tykes were withdrawn in favour of a team of ex-Barnsley players who were team-mates of Hassell’s throughout his career.
With the plethora of changes completed, Hassell was the first to try his luck at extending the home side’s lead. A blocked strike kindly fell in to his path, before unleashing a wicked effort from 25-yards out that fizzed through a crowd of players and inches past Shearer’s right hand post.
Moments later, David Preece in the Barnsley goal rolled back years with 10 minutes left on the clock as Chris Clements saw his initial effort blocked, before Conor Green’s pile driver was superbly palmed away by the veteran ‘keeper.
With goals aplenty, Barnsley made it 4-2 after a dangerous cross from the right by Neil Austin was just too high for Corbin Shires to reach, with the lurking Daniel Nardiello profiting by slamming his header home from close range.
The two-goal deficit was cut within seconds, as Craig Westcarr continued his fine spell in front of goal in pre-season with a beautifully crafted solo strike. Marauding down the wing, the summer signing turned this way and that before drilling a low shot across goal, beating Preece all ends up.
With the two sides putting on a fantastic game of football for both sets of fans, the referee blew his whistle to draw the game to a close. Defeat ultimately for the Stags, but a great workout and performance all round for Adam Murray to take on board.
Barnsley FC: Davies (Preece, 70), Bree (Heckingbottom, 70), Mawson (Templeton, 63) (Reid, 70), Nyatanga (Foster, 70), Smith (Austin, 70), Scowen (Shuker, 70), Hassell (Roberts, 30) (Hassell, 70), Rothwell (Howard, 70), Pearson (Kay, 70), Ball (Devaney, 70), Wilkinson (Nardiello, 70).
Mansfield Town: Shearer, Hunt (Shires, 66), Tafazolli, Collins (Fitzpatrick, 66), Benning (C. Green, 62), Chapman (McGuire, 62), Clements, Rose (J.Thomas, 45), N.Thomas (Westcarr, 45), Lambe (Dwyer, 66), M. Green (Beardsley, 62).