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Match Reports

Match report: Stags 0-1 Rochdale

8 August 2017

It took a moment of magic from Rochdale talisman Callum Camps to defeat Mansfield Town this evening as the Stags exited the Carabao Cup on a rain-drenched night at One Call Stadium.

Midfielder Camps' sensational 17th minute strike proved to be the difference as the League One side progressed to the second round, despite long periods of Stags' pressure. Striker Danny Rose also saw a late penalty saved by Rochdale goalkeeper Joshua Lillis, as the Stags pushed for an elusive equaliser.

Manager Steve Evans handed debuts to goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik and striker Jimmy Spencer following their arrivals from Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle respectively.

The summer recruits were two of six changes from the side that drew 2-2 at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday as the Stags fielded a strong line-up to combat their League One visitors.

Rochdale made a bright start to the game and created a chance inside the opening minute as Callum Camps floated a tempting cross into the area. Winger Jordan Williams rose highest, but his header looped harmlessly over Olejnik's bar.

With seven minutes gone, winger Will Atkinson intercepted a stray pass from recent Dale signing Matthew Done and raced clear from inside his own half, but his driven cross eluded everyone in the middle and drifted harmlessly out for a throw-in.

The Stags continued to fashion good chances and when midfielder Paul Digby picked up a loose ball inside the Rochdale half, he teed up skipper Paul Anderson who saw his low shot blocked by the feet of Lillis.

But, despite the early home pressure, it was the visitors who took the lead through a stunning curling strike from Camps in the 17th minute. The Rochdale midfielder fired home into the top corner from 25-yards, leaving Olejnik grasping at thin air as his effort was expertly placed in the upright.

Frontman Matthew Done then found space down the right flank before cutting inside and firing a low drive wide of the far post as Dale began to create more opportunities.

Mansfield came close to an equaliser just before the half-hour mark as Anderson struck a magnificent volley from a few yards inside the area, only to see it crash agonisingly against the far post.

That moment of brilliance from the skipper for the evening appeared to inspire the hosts as left-back Kgosi Ntlhe gifted the ball to Spencer, but his low drive from distance skidded narrowly past the upright.

The Stags continued to press for an equaliser before the break and were almost rewarded when Lillis palmed right-back Rhys Bennett's cross out to Anderson, but the winger was unable to convert from inside the area.

That would prove to be the last action of the first half as Mansfield went in at the interval unfortunate to find themselves a goal down.

The hosts made a lively start to the second half and created an opening just four minutes after the restart as Atkinson latched onto a deft pass from Digby before firing into the side netting.

A mesmeric run from young prodigy Omari Sterling-James forced a 55th minute corner which was only half-cleared by the Rochdale backline, but left-back Mal Benning was unable to keep his speculative attempt on target from 35-yards out.

Moments later, Sterling-James fired a volley wide of the far post after being picked out by Spencer before the young forward saw a low cross deflect dangerously into Lillis' hands.

Rochdale almost grabbed a freak second goal against the run of play as left-back Ntlhe's cross evaded Olejnik's outstretched arm and rattled the crossbar.

The visitors were again denied by the woodwork midway through the second half as winger Oliver Rathbone's fierce shot clipped the outside of the post.

Manager Evans introduced winger CJ Hamilton with 20 minutes remaining, and the wide-man made an immediate impact as his blistering pace carved open the Dale backline. However, neither Sterling-James nor Spencer could convert from his cross as the Stags continued to knock on the door to no avail.

Mansfield were presented with a golden opportunity to level with seven minutes remaining when Niall Canavan tripped substitute Danny Rose in the area, but the striker saw his penalty saved by the legs of Lillis as he attempted to slot it straight down the middle.

A dramatic block from substitute Steven Davies denied defender Krystian Pearce a certain goal as the Stags threw everything at their League One counterparts in the closing stages.

With time rapidly running out, Olejnik raced forward for a last chance saloon corner, but Mansfield were unable to find that deserved equaliser.

STAGS' XI: Olejnik, Bennett, Benning, Digby, Pearce, Anderson (Potter, 79), Atkinson, Spencer (Rose, 77), Mirfin, Sterling-James, Byrom (Hamilton, 70)

SUBS NOT USED: Logan, Angol, Taft, Hunt

ROCHDALE XI: Lillis, Rafferty, Ntlhe (Andrew, 90), McNulty, Canavan, Brown, Camps, Williams (Davies, 65), Rathbone, Done (Inman, 80), Henderson

SUBS NOT USED: Collis, Cannon, Morley, Kitching

REFEREE: Andy Madley

ATTENDANCE: 1,457 (121 away)

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