A strong Stags’ reserve side confidently beat York City 3-1 yesterday at Kirklington Road, Rainworth, in the Central League.
Stags’ took the lead in the first-half through defender Johnny Hunt and went into the break in the ascendancy. Defender George Taft restored the lead, following a fightback from the visitors and Lee Angol secured the win with eight minutes remaining, completing a dominant display from the boys in amber and blue.
The first chance of the game fell to York on five minutes. A long throw-in from left-back Sam Muggleton was hurled into the penalty area and Connor Smith flicked on looking to find a teammate. The ball fell to Amari Morgan-Smith whose left-footed volley flashed just wide of Bobby Olejnik’s post.
Stags’ first chance came when Omari Sterling-James delivered a corner in and following a scramble inside the penalty area captain Zander Diamond latched onto the loose ball to hit a half-volley just inches wide of York’s goal.
Stags had firmly got a foothold in the game and were rewarded for their attacking superiority in the 39th minute when Hunt scored for the hosts. The defender began the move on the left-wing and showed great pace and determination to power into the middle letting fly from 25 yards out with his left foot, smashing the ball past York ‘keeper Luke Simpson.
Mansfield went into the half-time break deserving of the lead, making the most out of their chances, unlike the visitors.
Stags started brightly in the second-half but an unfortunate deflection gave York an avenue back into the game. The ball dropped to York forward James Gray outside the penalty area for the visitors who swivelled and shot towards goal. Olejnik looked to have the shot under control, but the ball ricocheted off a Mansfield defender diverting the ball into the far-right corner.
York had a good chance to take the lead when Gray found space on the right-wing and whipped it onto the head of Flynn McNaughton. But the City man could only direct his glancing header a few inches wide of Olejnik’s post.
Mansfield regained the lead in the 74th minute when Johnny Hunt delivered a magnificent cross to the head of George Taft, who leapt higher than the rest to head home for Stags. The imposing defender managed to brush off defender Josh Rogerson and coolly finish to put Mansfield back in the driving seat.
From then-on there was only one team in the game and in the 82nd minute Lee Angol sealed all three points for Stags when he latched onto a forward ball to convert superbly.
A commanding second-half performance from Stags proved too much for the National League North side and the hosts ran out deserved 3-1 winners. Stags have won two of their three games in the Central League and will next face Doncaster Rovers at Rainworth Miners Welfare on Tuesday 30 January (kick-off 1.00pm).
STAGS: Olejnik, Digby, Diamond, Angol, Atkinson, Taft, Spencer, Hunt, Thomas, Sterling-James, Butcher
UNUSED SUBS: Wilson, Gibbens, Blake, Blake, Ward
YORK: Simpson, Law, Muggleton, Wharton, Rogerson, Rowe, Thompson, Smith, Gray (Berry 80), Morgan-Smith (Aaron Haswell 80), McNaughton
UNUSED SUBS: Kemp, Wilton, Lawrence