A mixture of youth and first team experience secured Mansfield Town a comfortable 2-0 win over Rainworth Miners Welfare in their annual friendly this evening.
Originally scheduled for pre-season, the fixture was postponed, but Stags' manager Steve Evans kept his word to field a strong side at Kirklington Road.
Rainworth, who ply their trade in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, proved a good test for their English Football League neighbours but found themselves 2-0 down at the break.
Striker Lee Angol got the first, heading home a cross by right-back Lewis Collins into the corner of the goal on 25and only a minute later the Stags added another when midfielder Jacob Mellis struck a powerful effort from twenty yards into the bottom corner after running into space.
Mansfield used the second half to introduce some more youngsters and though they were dominant for the remainder of the game, they were unable to add to their tally with Rainworth deserving credit for the way in which they defended.
Stags started the brighter and could have scored in just the fourth minute. Winger CJ Hamilton used his pace to get down the left and send the ball across the box to front man Kane Hemmings who could only divert the ball wide of the upright.
Rainworth themselves enjoed promising play on the left minutes later but when Niall Smith went clear in the area, his pull back failed to find its target and Mansfield cleared the danger.
Nathan Modest was next to test the Stags defence, skipping past two before being fouled on the edge of the area. Joshua Ross stepped up for the Wrens but his free-kick from 25 yards was deflected out for a corner. The resulting set play was headed out to Brad Wilson but his thumping, first time volley flew over the bar.
Former England under 19 international Jacob Mellis was at the heart of everything good for the amber and blue in the opening fifteen minutes.
Meanewhile, left-back Mal Benning, well known for his attacking ability, nearly opened the scoring. A good patient, passing move ended with Hamilton teeing-up the ball for Benning but his powerful effort from inside the area was straight at Rainworth ‘keeper Ben Townsend.
Hemmings was next to try his luck but after finding space on the edge of the box, his effort was blocked by the outstretched leg of a Wrens' defender.
Rainworth's Jack Waddle, son of former England star Chris, hit a long range free kick which was comfortable for Stags’ 'keeper Bobby Olejnik.
The home side were soon appealing for a penalty after a collision between striker Julian Lawrence and Mansfield skipper Rhys Bennett but referee Declan Bourne was having none of it, waving away the protests.
Mansfield’s extra quality then shone through as they scored two in quick succession to take control of the game.
The first came on 25 minutes. A good passing move down the right resulted in Lewis Collins floating a ball into the box and striker Lee Angol beat his to flick a header into the corner of the net.
The game had only just restarted when Mansfield doubled their advantage. Mellis surged forward from central midfield and his powerful, low effort beat the dive of Townsend to find the bottom right corner.
Rainworth looked shell shocked and Mansfield were now controlling proceedings. Angol almost scored his second but his powerful effort from 18 yards flew over the bar.
The Wrens were then nearly gifted a way back into the game. Rhys Bennett looked to head the ball back to Olejnik but got too much on it, forcing the Mansfield ‘keeper into a full stretch to stop the ball looping over him.
The Stags still looked the most likely to score and a good one-two by Hamilton and Hemmings ended in the latter seeing a powerful effort blocked by a Rainworth body ten yards out.
Mellis was continuing to run the show and after heading on a mazy run in the middle of the Rainworth half, he was tripped by Danny Booth. Angol took a quick free kick but a training ground Mansfield move didn't materlise.
With just over five minutes left of the half, Mansfield had another good opportunity. Hemmings challenged Townsend for a back pass and the ball fell to attacker Zayn Hakeem but the Stags youngster was unable to lob the stranded stopper, putting too much on his effort.
Mansfield made a substitution at half time bringing on youngster Jordan Graham for former Oxford United hitman Hemmings.
It was the men in amber and blue who threatened first after the restart. Angol held the ball up on the edge of the box to set up Mellis who smashed a shot from 25 yards over the bar.
Mansfield were piling on the pressure as they looked to add a third. Collins whipped another ball in from the right and after Angol challenged Max Pemberton for the header, the ball dropped for Hamilton but the winger shot straight at the Rainworth ‘keeper.
The Stags’ nearly scored a spectacular goal which would have been worthy of gracing any game. A corner from the right by Mellis found Benning thirty yards out and though his first time volley connected with the ball, he dragged his effort wide of the target.
Angol and Mellis were both substituted around the hour mark as Nyle Blake and Keaton Ward took their place.
Blake was involved from the off and was dragged back, with the referee awarding a free kick on the left side of the area. Benning whipped a shot over the wall but it flew over the bar.
Benning and Blake were both involved in Mansfield’s next chance. It was Benning’s ball from the left that fell kindly for Blake at the far post but he was unable to keep his shot down.
With the game winding down, Mansfield were in cruise control. Benning continued to pose a threat with his bombarding up and down the left and his cross found Hakeem who headed just wide in the game's last chance of note.
STAGS' XI: Olejnik, Collins, Harrison (Wilder 79), Bennett (C), Benning, Hakeem, Mellis (Ward 60), Healey, Hamilton, Angol (Blake 60), Hemmings (Graham 46)
UNUSED SUBS: Wilson (GK)
REFEREE: Declan Bourne