Report: Stags 0-2 Doncaster
Two second half goals were enough to give Doncaster Rovers a 2-0 win over Mansfield Town in the first game of the Checkatrade Trophy.
Strikes from Alfie Beeston and Riccardo Calder inflicted the damage to give the South Yorkshire outfit three points in the group stages of this newly-formatted competition.
Stags had enough chances to scribe themselves onto the scorecard but were ultimately unable to find the net.
Boss Adam Murray shuffled the line-up, making seven changes from the side which beat Leyton Orient 2-1 on Saturday.
Scott Shearer reclaimed his place in goal following concussion whilst George Taft was drafted into the defence. Ashley Hemmings and CJ Hamilton also gained starts, as did Jamie McGuire and James Baxendale in midfield.
Striker Danny Rose began the match up front, but the striker will serve his final match league ban in Saturday’s home game to Cambridge United.
Stags began well and drew an early save from Rovers’ ‘keeper Ross Etheridge through Chapman’s well hit shot from 25 yards.
On eight minutes, the visitors mounted their first real charge. Jordan Houghton showed neat trickery on the left before slipping it into the box for Riccardo Calder who could only drag his effort wide.
Both sides then had a spell in which possession was enjoyed in equal measure, but the final ball was lacking.
On 20 minutes, midfielder Adam Chapman sent an exceptional 45 yard ball down the left for CJ Hamilton to latch on to. Known for his pace and skill, Hamilton used both in abundance to dance his way into the Rovers box before firing his low drive narrowly off target .
The duo linked up again just three minutes later. Hamilton peeled away on the left after picking up Chapman’s killer ball. But as Hamilton squared it, Hamilton mis-cued his shot from inside the box.
Stags began to pile the pressure on the Donny goal and it was Rhys Bennett’s turn to get the crowd purring with a delightful pass down the line. Danny Rose, the recipient, smashed a vicious attempt towards goal, but it flew behind.
Winger Matty Blair, on his return to One Call Stadium since he joined Rovers in the summer, darted down the Stags’ left to win a corner. However, as with previous flag-kicks from Doncaster, Stags’ defended it well.
The end of the first half was punctured by stoppages, with lengthy treatment given to midfielder Jamie McGuire, twice, and goalkeeper Scott Shearer.
It was the end of the match for McGuire in the 42nd minute, who was warmly applauded off the field by the home faithful, before being replaced by Kevan Hurst.
In the final minute of normal time, Calder beat Bennett on the Rovers’ left to whip in a dangerous cross into the box, but nobody was there to connect.
Stags carved out two good chances in time added on. Rose leapt superbly to flick on a long ball into the path of Hemmings, whose attempt at goal sailed into Etheridge’s grasp.
Rose then had a chance of his own to find the net. Hurst’s deep free-kick was teasing and Rose climbed well from six yards, only to head wide of goal.
Six minutes after the interval, Rovers’ Liam Landeville drifted in a dangerous right-wing cross, but Taft got there first to clear behind for a corner, before any Donny player could attempt to connect.
Stags’ summer signing Pat Hoban was then introduced into the action on 53 minutes, replacing James Baxendale.
A second home change was made as the game approached the hour. Kyle Howkins departed, appearing injured after putting the ball out for a corner, by regular captain Lee Collins.
Doncaster missed a golden chance to take the lead on 61 minutes. Mandeville caused all the problems on the right, sending a hazardous ball into the goal area, but somehow captain Andy Williams mis-fired on the goal line.
At the other end, Lee Collins was well placed to shoot, 22 yards from goal, after receiving a short pass from Hoban. But his crashing drive arrowed over the bar.
The decisive breakthrough came after a double substitution by Rovers.
On 72 minutes, Stags were unable to clear when Rovers mounted a charge and after an initial shot was blocked, Alfie Beestin had time to pick his spot from 20 yards, low to Shearer's right and into the net.
Danny Amos, a second-half substitute, then tried his luck at goal with a curling effort, but it was an easy save for goalkeeper Shearer.
Hemmings then forced a corner for Mansfield after good work on the left, but the flag kick came to nothing.
On 86, Rovers sealed the win when Darren Ferguson's side surged forward on the break. Mandeville, after a bursting run towards the goal line, pulled it back for Calder who was left with the simple task of putting the ball in the net from short range.
In added on time, George Taft rose high to meet a Kevan Hurst corner, but was unable to hit the target.
In the dying seconds, Rose smashed goalwards against a Doncaster player to register another Stags corner, before the referee sounded the final whistle.
STAGS: Shearer, Bennett, Pearce (C), Taft, Howkins (Collins 59), Chapman, McGuire (Hurst 42), Hamilton, Hemmings, Baxendale (Hoban 53) D. Rose
UNUSED SUBS: Jensen, Benning, M. Rose, Hakeem
DONCASTER: Etheridge, Calder, Williams (C) (Pugh 71), Middleton, Wright, Houghton, Blair (Amos 71), Mandeville, Beestin (Longbottom 88), Evina, Fielding
UNUSED SUBS: Marosi, Butler, Barker, James
REFEREE: Neil Swarbrick
ATTENDANCE: 1,461 (337 visiting fans)