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Match report: Alfreton Town 0-2 Stags

29 July 2017

Mansfield Town emerged from this afternoon's physical pre-season friendly against Alfreton Town as 2-0 victors following a hard-working 90 minutes at the Impact Arena.

Second half goals from forward Danny Rose and midfielder Jacob Mellis ensured Stags left the Impact Arena with a well-earned victory.

The pair were both second half substitutes with Rose netting after latching onto Mellis' though ball to calmly slot home, while Mellis found the net himself three minutes from time after finishing from close range following a fine run into the Alfreton box.

Boss Steve Evans fielded a strong line-up with all-but-one making way after 63 minutes when Stags made 10 changes.

It was a far from friendly start between the two sides as forward Omari Sterling-James was the recipient of a very strong Alfreton challenge before the hosts were awarded two free-kicks just outside the box, which former Stag Craig Westcarr failed to make goalkeeper Conrad Logan work from.

Alfreton were making life difficult for the Stags as neither side could grab a hold on the game although winger Alfie Potter saw his left-footed effort fly over after cutting in from the right.

The hosts went close themselves two minutes later as 'keeper Conrad Logan got down well to his right to make a smart save from Tom Allan's close range shot following a scramble in the Stags' box.

Stags were beginning to control the game midway through the half as a nice one-two between Potter and full-back Hayden White saw the latter's cross turned wide of the near post by Sterling-James.

Three minutes later and captain Paul Anderson was denied by the legs of Reds' keeper Chris Elliott after midfielder Paul Digby had found his team-mate with an excellent cross-field ball.

The game was beginning to become quite scrappy as the half entered the final ten minutes, although defender David Mirfin had a flicked header which drifted wide after midfielder Joel Byrom's curling free-kick into the box.

Byrom's set pieces were causing a problem for the home side's defence as his right wing corner was headed inches past the post by centre back Krystian Pearce who had peeled away from his marker.

The final chance of the first half fell to Stags' left-back Mal Benning who drove forward after receiving Digby's pass before unleashing a powerful effort from 30 yards.

With no changes at half-time, Stags started brightly and Sterling-James broke free from the home defence after a through ball from Digby but his subsequent effort was tipped wide by Elliott.

Elliott was on hand to keep the game goal-less on the hour mark as he did well to tip Sterling-James' curling free-kick over the bar after defender Krystian Pearce was fouled on the edge of the box.

Following the set piece, manager Steve Evans made ten changes to his side as the remaining squad members were given half-an-hour to stake their claim for a starting place against Crewe next week, with Mirfin the only starting player to stay on the pitch.

The new-look Stags' side made a bright start and defender Zander Diamond rose highest to head over midfielder Jacob Mellis' left wing corner.

Stags continued to create chances as a nice turn in the Alfreton half from Rose saw his fine through-ball find strike partner Jimmy Spencer, whose powerful shot was saved by Elliott.

It was Rose who was next to go close to opening the scoring as he headed wide of the goal from six yards after Elliott failed to deal with winger CJ Hamilton's cross. The 'keeper palmed Hamilton's cross out to the on-rushing Rose, who threw himself at the ball but could only head wide.

With ten minutes to go, Rose broke the deadlock.

Taft fizzed the ball into Hamilton who produced a lovely flick to Mellis, and he scooped a superb pass over the top to Danny Rose and he carried it into the box before slotting past Elliott from close range.

As the match entered the final five minutes, Stags had a second and what an exquisite goal it was.

The ball was headed high into the air on the edge of the box and Mellis shaped to volley but, instead, chopped inside with his first touch before waltzing his way past four Alfreton defenders and then calmly rolling the ball past Elliott and into the net.

That was the last action of the game as the Stags came through a tough, physical test against their National League North opposition.

ALFRETON TOWN: Elliot, Topliss, Allan, Platt, Shiels, Priestley, Johnson, Disley, Westcarr (Robertson 82'), Sharp, Snodin

SUBS NOT USED: McGowan, Marshall, Morrison, Brough, Evans, Trialist.

STAGS: Logan (Olejnik 63'), Benning (Taft 63'), Mirfin, Pearce (Diamond 63'), White (Thomas 63'), Digby (Hunt 63'), Byrom (Atkinson 63'), Potter (Hamilton 63'), Anderson (Mellis 63'), Sterling-James (Rose 63'), Angol (Spencer 63')

REFEREE: James Oldham

ATTENDANCE: 735 (431 away)

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