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Report: Carlton Town 3-4 Stags

9 July 2016

Mansfield Town’s second fixture of the day saw them secure their second win of their pre-season friendly schedule, beating Carlton Town 4-3.

Goals from left-back Malvind Benning, a brace from striker Matt Green and a header by young frontman Jason Law ensured Stags would be leaving the Bill Stokeld Stadium with the win, despite goals for the hosts from striker Curtis Millward, substitute Jake Wholey and right-back Lawrence Gorman. 

The game took a while to get going, with Carlton’s organised defence making it tough for Stags to turn their constant pressure and possession into solid shots on goal. 

It took until the eighth minute for a goalbound chance, when recent signing Kevan Hurst’s cross from the right-hand side flashed across the face of goal, with Green and midfielder Chris Clements not far away. 

Fellow new-boy Danny Rose was causing problems among the Carlton defence, which led to a wayward shot from Clements as Stags continued to assert themselves on the game. 

A ball forward by defender George Taft saw Carlton ‘keeper Jack Steggles and his centre-back have a minor defensive mix-up, with Green going in for a challenge and the ball eventually being cleared away with the frontman ready to pounce.  

The breakthrough finally came in the 30th minute when Hurst fed Clements down the right, who volleyed a first time cross into the box. Carlton couldn’t clear it, and left-back Malvind Benning struck a low half-volley into the bottom right-hand corner from 15 yards out. 

However, it took Carlton just seven minutes to grab an equaliser. Defender Krystian Pearce reacted slowly in the box, allowing striker Curtis Millward to nip in and poke the ball past Stags’ stopper Brian Jensen in the Stags’ net. 

Pearce immediately made up for his error by floating a brilliant ball over the top for Green in the box. The forward chested down the ball, rolled his defender and hammered a strike past Steggles in the 41st minute to give Stags a 2-1 lead going into half-time.

The Millers came out after the half-time interval with purpose and their fine start was rewarded in the 48th minute when Jensen scuffed a clearance after he came charging out of his box, allowing substitute Jake Wholey to curl the ball into an empty Stags’ net from 35 yards out. 

The hosts weren’t level for very long. The impressive Hurst curled a smart pass to release right-back Rhys Bennett down the right-hand side, whose low, driven cross found Green again in the middle and he made no mistake as he hammered the ball past Steggles. 

Green almost grabbed his hat-trick just moments later, with Carlton having Steggles to thank after making the save of the game to deny him. The young ‘keeper acrobatically tipped the ball over from close range, as Bennett headed over from the resulting corner.

Winger Ashley Hemmings had a deflected effort from 22 yards out safely caught, as Stags enjoyed a sustained spell of possession after re-taking the lead. 

A succession of youth team players were introduced by the mid-point of the half, including strikers Zayn Hakeem and Jason Law, who replaced the starting front pair of Matt Green and Danny Rose.

Hakeem almost made an immediate impact as he turned his marker and was unlucky with a low finish which was collected by Steggles.

Midfielder Tom Marriott, too, was another to come on, showing some nice touches in the centre of the park. And it was his free-kick that led to Stags extending their lead and making it 4-2. 

Stags won a free-kick out on the left and the young attacking midfielder curled a wonderful ball into the middle of the box, where Jason Law was on hand to head the ball home against his former club. 

It looked as though the game was going to slowly peter out, with both sides using their full allocation of substitutes from the bench, with Brian Jensen the only Stags’ player to stay on the pitch.

With 78 minutes on the clock, Carlton right-back Lawrence Gorman seized upon an opportunity from a lofted corner and squeezed the ball past Jensen at the back post, to tighten things up once again. 

Carlton had a couple more late chances with substitute Kevin Lusamba driving a shot straight at Jensen from eight yards out.

On the day, Mansfield were good value for their win in this action-packed game and their preparations for the coming season continue with a game against League One Bolton Wanderers next Saturday at One Call Stadium.

Carlton Town: Steggles, Gorman (Sawyer 82), Fletcher, Kane (Knight 71), Graham (Charlton 82), Walker, Schoenecker (Wholey 18), Newton (Stovell 59), Topliss (Wedderburn 45), Millward (Rae 54), Davie (Lusamba 63)

Stags: Jensen, Bennett, Benning, Collins, Pearce, Taft, Clements, Hurst (Marriott 67), Hemmings, Green (Law 63), Rose (Hakeem 63)

A number of youth team players replaced the starting outfield players.

Referee: Declan Bourne

Attendance: 363 

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