Mansfield Town secured a thrilling 3-1 victory over Championship outfit Derby County in their first of four home pre-season fixtures this evening, with goals coming from Jordan Graham, Lee Angol and CJ Hamilton.
Mansfield's substitutes scored a hat-trick of second-half goals to emerge as victors in the contest. The first came from Graham who pounced on a goalkeeping error to open the scoring, before Angol scored from the spot and Hamilton rounded off a superb counter-attack to give Stags the win.
This was Stags' first home game of pre-season, and they ended it in emphatic fashion. As the game progressed, Mansfield grew into their stride and by the end had but the Rams to the sword.
The match began with an open feel as both sides sought after an early goal to settle the nerves. Despite the Stags’ clear attacking intent, it was the visitors who boasted the best chances in the first-half.
Krystian Pearce’s loose pass in the middle of the park was intercepted by the Rams’ danger man, Tom Lawrence, who drove forward with purpose. Feeding the ball out to the right-hand side, the subsequent cross from Luke Thomas fortunately looped onto the crossbar – met by a chorus of gasps from the Stags faithful.
Mintues later, Cameron Jerome then found space on the edge of Logan’s box before scuffing a shot narrowly wide of the post.
Lawrence and Thomas, involved once more, both saw fierce strikes sail over Logan’s crossbar and into the stand behind. The latter should have put Frank Lampard’s side a goal to the good after being found in-behind the hosts’ defence – but his near post effort was saved expertly by the feet of Logan
Neal Bishop had Mansfield’s best chance with a low-curling strike that was collected safely by Scott Carson. The hosts could have had more chances, had it not been for some wasteful possession in the final third.
In stark contrast to the first-half, the second 45 was much livelier as the floodgates opened.
The Stags broke the deadlock in the 65th minute, courtesy of substitute Jordan Graham. The striker pounced onto some hesitation by Kelle Roos before scooping the ball over him to give his side a one-nil lead.
As expected, Lampard’s side then immediately pushed for an equaliser; which arrived just four minutes thereafter. Bobby Olejnik failed to keep the ball within his grasp, and David Nugent was on hand to feed the ball into the path of teammate Mason Bennett to level up proceedings.
David Flitcroft’s side rose to the challenge and went ahead once again on 77 minutes. Angol found a yard in the box before being bundled over from behind to earn his side a spot-kick. He tucked the subsequent penalty away with ease, sending Roos the wrong way and the Stags’ fans in rapturous celebrations.
Olejnik then made amends for his earlier error by smothering a point-blank shot from Richard Keogh to ensure his side kept their one-goal cushion.
Flying winger Hamilton duly made it three on 80 minutes for the Stags. Making use of some lovely play by Omari Sterling-James, Angol found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper before unselfishly teeing up Hamilton to slot home into an empty goal.
Lampard’s side looked for a way back into the game but it proved too little, too late as David Flitcroft’s outfit secured their first home victory of the 2018/19 pre-season schedule.
Attention will now turn to Saturday as the Stags welcome another East Midlands side – this time Sheffield United – to the One Call Stadium.
STAGS XI: Logan (GK) (Olejnik 46’), White (Mellis 58’), Benning (Digby 58’), Preston (Butcher 58’), Pearce (Hamilton 58’), Bishop (Angol 58’), MacDonald (Sterling-James 58’), Davies (Gibbens 58’), Khan (Graham 58’), Atkinson, Walker (Cameron 58’ (Blake 69’).
SUBS NOT USED: N/A
DERBY COUNTY XI: Carson (GK) (Roos 46’), Hanson (Bogle 46’), Lowe, Wisdom (Keogh 46’), Davies (Pearce 46’), Huddlestone (Thorne 46’), Thomas (Bennett 63’), Bryson (Butterfield 72’), Jerome (Johnson 46’), Ledley (Nugent 46’), Lawrence (Blackman 72’).
SUBS NOT USED: Mitchell (GK)
REFEREE: Ross Joyce
ASSISTANTS: Declan Bourne & Ian Dudley
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Andrew Dallison
ATTENDANCE: 4,058 (1,394 away)