Mansfield Town's second string recorded a comprehensive 4-0 victory in the Central Legaue Cup over Burton Albion at St George's Park this afternoon.
A first half brace from striker Danny Rose and a lovely curling effort from midfielder Jacob Mellis gave Stags a 3-0 lead at the break, before left-back Mal Benning got on the scoresheet in the second half to add further gloss to the scoreline.
Stags could – and arguably should – have made the scoreline even more emphatic, but Brewers' goalkeeper Harry Campbell made a string of good saves to keep Stags at bay.
Mansfield Town fielded a strong side for the fixture against a young but competitive Brewers' team. Everyone named in the Stags' XI had made a first team appearance this season, with the exception of midfielder Cameron Healey, who partnered Jacob Mellis in the middle of the park.
The first sight of goal came in the sixth minute, when Stags worked the ball well down the left-hand side. Frontman Omari Sterling-James slipped it through to winger CJ Hamilton and he pulled it back from the byline for striker Danny Rose, who had a low effort well saved by the legs of Brewers' goalkeeper Harry Campbell.
A minute later, Stags had another opening as Sterling-James produced a lovely Cruyff turn in the box to sell his defender and pull it back to Rose, who saw his left-footed attempt deflected over for a corner.
And from that flag kick, the Stags were ahead. Atkinson played it short to midfielder Jacob Mellis and he drove infield before curling a lovely effort low inside the far post from 25 yards out.
The game had hardly restarted before the Stags doubled their advantage. The visitors won a free-kick on the right edge of the box and Mellis made his way over to take it. The former Chelsea man whipped it into the near post and Danny Rose met it with a bullet header into the top corner.
Stags' dominance continued after going ahead and a number of good blocks from the Brewers' defence prevented the visitors from extending their lead.
Four minutes after getting their second, Rose almost had his second when Hamilton hung the ball up to the back post, but the former Bury man's header dropped just wide of the far post.
The Brewers then had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the score at 2-0 in the 18th minute. Mellis and Rose combined once more as the midfielder played a low corner to the penalty spot, where Rose rifled a shot goalwards but Campbell flew across his goal to beat it away.
Stags were then guilty of missing some good chances, as Sterling-James and Hamilton in particular should have got on the score-sheet, following good chances inside the box.
In the 34th minute, Paul Anderson, who was playing at right-back, curled a deep cross to the back post where centre-half Rhys Bennett headed the ball against a defender and out for a corner.
Mellis again took the set piece, and he found Danny Rose who in turn scored Stags' third of the afternoon. The ball dropped to him around 14 yards out and he hammered an exquisite volley into the top corner.
The impressive Rose then had two chances to score his hat-trick in the next three minutes. First, Sterling-James lofted a ball to the back post where Rose headed wide, before the Barnsley-born forward curled a lovely effort just wide from the edge of the box.
At the break, Stags replaced Danny Rose and Cameron Healey with front duo Jimmy Spencer and Jordan Graham. Subsequently, Omari Sterling-James went over to play on the right and Will Atkinson moved inside.
The second half started in the same way the first ended; with the Stags on top.
Winger CJ Hamilton raced into the area and tried to find Sterling-James when, really, taking a shot himself would have been the better option and the Brewers managed to clear.
In the 51st minute, half-time substitute Jimmy Spencer brought the ball down nicely on the left-hand side and switched play to Omari Sterling-James. The former Solihull Moors man worked some space for himself before finding the run of Spencer in the box, but his header went wide.
Four minutes later, Stags should have had their fourth through substitute Jordan Graham. Anderson crossed from the right and the ball was headed out to the young forward on the penalty spot and he volleyed over when he should have hit the target.
Stags brought on centre-half Kieran Harrison in place of Zander Diamond in the 59th minute.
Mellis looked like he was enjoying himself and the former Bury man almost got a stunning second goal in the 64th minute. He received the ball 30 yards from goal and deftly lifted it over Brewers' midfielder Ethan Vale's outstretched leg and thumped a shot towards the top corner, but it flew just inches wide.
Burton goalkeeper Harry Campbell continued to impress a couple of minutes later, as he tipped Omari Sterling-James' curling effort wide of the post at full stretch.
After 72 minutes had elapsed, Stags had their fourth. The ball was fizzed into the feet of Jimmy Spencer and he beautifully flicked it around the corner for left-back Mal Benning and he steadied himself before slotting it into the bottom corner.
Former Sheffield United midfielder Mellis ran the game for large spells and he played a great ball into the feet of Sterling-James in the box, but his low effort was saved by Campbell in the Burton goal.
Stags went close to adding further to their goal tally with six minutes left when Hamilton lifted the ball onto the head of Jimmy Spencer, but his looping effort went over the bar.
The same duo combined two minutes later, and this time the ball did end up in the net – but it didn't count. Hamilton had just strayed offside before he squared the ball for Spencer, who turned it in from three yards out.
The final action of the game came when Sterling-James won a corner on the right-hand side. Mellis took the set piece and he lofted it out to Mal Benning, who was lurking 30 yards from goal, and he hit a dippy volley which the impressive Campbell saved at full stretch.
The referee called time on the affair and Stags will be pleased with their efforts during a comfortable win at St George's Park.
STAGS' XI: Olejnik, Anderson, Diamond © (Harrison 59), Bennett, Benning, Healey (Graham 46), Mellis, Atkinson, Hamilton, Sterling-James, Rose (Spencer 46)
SUBS NOT USED: Wilson (GK), Collins
BREWERS' XI: Campbell, Cooke, Morley, Bromfield (Barker 80), Ganley, Cotterill, Davies (Matthews 69), Vale, Harrison (Clamp 76), Pryce (Dowd 46), Hutchinson
SUBS NOT USED: Hawkins (GK)
REFEREE: David Coote