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Stags' boss delighted with display in hot-tempered friendly

24 July 2018

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft credited his players' ‘solid’ and ‘threatening’ display in a friendly which ended at boiling point against Sheffield Wednesday this evening as Mansfield emerged as 2-1 victors.

Mansfield again performed encouragingly in front of their own supporters in a match which was marred by a mêlée after the full-time whistle.

Sets of players clashed at the end of the 90 minutes in which Stags’ midfielder Calum Butcher received a ‘punch in the face’, manager David Flitcroft said.

Prior to the post-match scenes and in the last few minutes of the game, the manager employed sensible management by removing Stags’ captain Krystian Pearce from the action following a dispute with Sheffield Wednesday forward Fernando Forestieri, who himself had to be escorted down the players’ tunnel by the match referee.

The manager said post-match: “With seven or eight minutes to go, Pearcey was visibly upset with something and I got him off the pitch.

“In a pre-season game there are no points to play for [but] you could really feel it boiling over."

Manager David Flitcroft

“Pearcey’s got a calmness about him as everyone can see; the supporters and people around here have known him longer than me. There’s a calmness about him and an assurance to him when he’s playing football. Something has riled and rattled him. I was worried for Pearcey that if he did the wrong thing and he looked really wound up so I had to get him off the pitch with sensible management.

“In a pre-season game there are no points to play for [but] you could really feel it boiling over.

“Calum Butcher has a cut lip. He’s been punched in the face. You don’t want to see scenes like that at any football game but we’ll get to the bottom of it maybe tomorrow and go from there.”

On the Stags’ display which saw Mal Benning fire Mansfield into a 41st minute lead, CJ Hamilton’s cross inadvertently converted into his own goal by the Owls’ Adam Reach, before the same man pulled a goal back for the visitors, the manager said: “I was absolutely delighted with some of the football and the way we opened them up at times.

“They had some good possession in the first 15 minutes, but they never really hurt us and we looked solid. Once we got through that wrestle, we seemed to calm down, move the ball better and look more threatening.

“It doesn’t matter what level you play at, teams are scared of pace, people running beyond and running through you. That’s what we had for the first goal.

“Mells [Jacob Mellis] has made a run, CJ [Hamilton] has made a run through the defensive line and Mal Benning has the opportunity [to score] and Mal’s quality is phenomenal.

“You could say the second goal is fortunate, which it was, but to run the length of the pitch like CJ has done and the ball from Macca was phenomenal and probably deserved a bit of luck [with a deflection] for the sheer determination to get to the ball.”

Hayden White received treatment near the end of the game and had to be substituted, on which the manager said: “Hayden took a whack to the nose, an innocuous one, but it was more precautionary so we got him off the pitch.”

Defender Matt Preston came off earlier and will be assessed tomorrow while striker Craig Davies didn’t feature in the squad after picking up a training ground knock, which isn’t thought to be serious. It is believed the ex-Oldham man will resume training next week.

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