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Match Reports

Match report: Lincoln 1-2 Stags

4 September 2018

Match Reports

Match report: Lincoln 1-2 Stags

4 September 2018

Calum Butcher scored one and set up the other as Stags began their Checkatrade Trophy group with a 2-1 win at holders Lincoln.

The 27-year-old cancelled out former Mansfield man Matt Rhead's opener with an eighth minute strike and then laid the ball for Tyler Walker to seal the victory on 73 minutes.

In an open affair, Stags were more clinical in front of goal during an encounter which should have seen more goals.

Mansfield boss David Flitcroft made seven changes from his men's last match three days previously, a well-fought 1-0 victory at home to Carlisle United in Sky Bet League Two.

Conrad Logan kept goal, while 18-year-old Lewis Gibbens was handed a second senior start on the left of a defensive trio.

There were alterations at both wing-back positions as Will Atkinson started on the right and Mal Benning the left.

Timi Elsnik, the on loan midfielder from Derby County, made his Stags' debut next to stand-in captain Alex MacDonald, with Calum Butcher ahead of the duo.

Craig Davies returned to the line-up, partnering Danny Rose in attack.

And it was Davies who was on the end of Stags' first attack, but was unable to cleanly strike a shot from 17 yards.

The striker's opposite number, Matt Rhead, opened the scoring inside six minutes with the Imps' first meaningful move.

On the right goal line, Lincoln's Harry Anderson floated in a deadly cross to the burly frontman, who characteristically nodded home from four yards.

Stags responded immediately, however, to draw level just two minutes later.

Adam Crookes slipped on the ball, eight yards from his own goal, allowing Butcher to coolly finish low into the far corner to restore parity.

With a quarter of an hour played, Butcher almost turned provider with a low right-wing cross, but home 'keeper Sam Slocombe comfortably gathered inside his own goal area.

Three minutes later, Butcher forced Stags' first corner following good work from Elsnik and MacDonald, before the ex-Millwall man fired over the angle from 22 yards moments later.

Remaining in the thick of the action, Butcher helped chalk up another Stags' flag-kick as his cross inside the penalty area was blocked into the side netting.

Midway through the first half, Lincoln's Shay McCartan robbed MacDonald of the ball midway inside his own half. And after a surging run into the Mansfield box, Logan had to make a fine one-handed stop to turn his shot behind for a corner.

Stags tried their luck from distance in quick succession. Butcher's hit, from 25 yatds, was blocked, before Elsnik's low piledriver from a similar distance was steered straight at Slocombe.

With seven minutes left until the break, MacDonald sprayed a brilliant diagonal ball for the advancing Davies, who took a touch inside the area to control, before shooting aganst a defender to gain a corner.

Then at the other end, Rhead headed the ball into the ground and wide from Anderson's right-flank delivery.

Near the end of the half, Stags came close through Butcher. 

Pouncing on a short backpass to the goalkeeper, the midfielder snuck inside to skip over the home shot-stopper, but his strike from the right-side of the box was blocked as Crookes raced back to the cover the goal line.

A left-sided free-kick from the hosts caught Stags off guard three minutes after the interval. Quickly taken towards McCartan, his vicious strike was bravely stopped by the head of Hayden White to prevent Logan from being called upon.

Imps' defender Michael Bostwick had to perform similar duties on 55 minutes, standing in the way of a long-range attempt from MacDonald.

On 65, Benning's deep left footed cross clipped the body of Bostwick, allowing Slocombe to gather.

Joan Luque's pot shot did little to trouble Logan on 67, flying well off target from outside the box.

White raced forward to set-up Davies with a high ball near the back post, but his header ballooned over the far post.

Mansfield made a double change with 19 minutes to play as Tyler Walker and CJ Hamilton replaced Danny Rose and Craig Davies.

And Walker made the difference within the blink of an eye, finding the net with his first touch.

Butcher provided the assist to the marksman on loan from Forest, whose right-footed drive from 18 yards was too well hit for Slocombe to stop.

The two combined again on 76. Walker latched on to the midfielder's pass but his left-footed attempt from the other side of the box was off target.

Two minutes later, White picked out Hamilton with a sumptous forward ball. And with an exquisite first touch, Hamilton tried to wriggle beyond two home defenders before seeing his eventual hit blocked.

In the 87th minute, Logan punched away a Lincoln free-kick to ignite a Stags' counter. White sped away through the middle as Mansfield powered forward, but his pass towards Walker was too heavily hit and the hosts breathed again.

In the third minute of the fourth added on, Lincoln were reduced to ten men.  After Butcher displayed great strength to win a free-kick, a tangling of players saw an unsavoury coming together, in which the Imps' Michael O'Connor appeared to punch Tyler Walker.

And Stags showed their professionalism until the death to confirm the win, with Wolves and Scunthorpe left to play in Group G of the competition.

LINCOLN: Slocombe, Gordon, Bostwick (McCombe 80), Anderson, Tuffold, Chapman, Luque (O'Connor 81), Mensah (Andrade 68), Anderson, McCartan, Rhead

UNUSED SUBS: Smith, Frecklington, Akinde, Adebayo-Smith

STAGS: Logan, White, Preston, Gibbens, Atkinson, Elsnik, MacDonald, Benning, Butcher, Davies (Hamilton 72), Rose (Walker 71)

UNUSED SUBS: Olejnik, Bishop, Khan, Graham, Law

ATTENDANCE: 4,205 (260 Stags' fans)

REFEREE: Ross Joyce

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