Nicky Maynard secured victory for Mansfield Town in the penultimate pre-season friendly as they came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest under-23s 2-1.
The hosts fell behind early on when Jason Cummings found the back of the net, however, the Stags showed resilience in abundance to overturn the one-goal deficit.
An own goal from Ethan Stewart in the first half, in tandem with Maynard’s calm finish six minutes from time, ensured Mansfield’s seventh pre-season outing ended in victorious fashion.
John Dempster named a strong line up to face the young Forest side, which included the welcome return of Jacob Mellis into the midfield after illness.
Both sides began the match in sprightly fashion as they looked to conjure early chances that may catch their opposite numbers unaware.
Liam Bridcutt fired a powerful effort beyond Aidan Stone’s crossbar before the hosts linked a slick team move that fell away at the final pass.
However, in the tenth minute, Forest’s under-23 side found a breakthrough.
Despite a smart save from Stone coupled with Mal Benning’s goal line clearance, possession eventually found its way to Cummings who poked the ball into the empty net.
Soon after, the Reds’ goalscorer took aim once more – this time from distance – but watched it sail wide.
Hayden White was given an opportunity to roam down his side of the pitch but ran into too much trouble as he lined up the cross.
Nicky Maynard was soon into a pocket of space after beating several players, yet his through ball was well intercepted by an alert Danny Preston.
Forest swung the ball into the mix on the half-hour mark but the hosts were able to let it run all the way through and out of harm’s way.
Instead, it was a delivery from an amber and blue jersey that caused all the confusion.
On 33 minutes, Maynard teed up Mal Benning whose wicked, first-time delivery meant Ethan Stewart inadvertently turned the ball into his own goal.
The Stags had drawn level but were seeking to completely turn the tide within the space of a few minutes.
Jacob Mellis’ fierce, 25-yard effort had to be tipped over by former loanee Jordan Smith, before the resulting corner was met by a Benning thunderbolt that landed off target.
John Dempster’s side were unable to find their second prior to the interval – meaning it was all-square as the 22 players returned for action.
Mellis continued his long-distance attempts five minutes after the break but could only find the midriff of ‘keeper Smith.
Right-back White then pulled up with some form of injury and was quickly replaced by CJ Hamilton to prevent any further damage.
Mansfield’s pressure did not let up; highlighted when Benning darted away from several players, only to be denied a superb solo goal by the hands of Smith.
Skipper Krystian Pearce was then on hand to divert the ball to safety as substitute Louis Walsh let fly from a loose ball.
With 15 minutes remaining, both sides had big opportunities to notch the all-important third goal on Tuesday evening.
Danny Rose’s effort was deflected towards Mellis who powerfully struck the sprawling defender from point blank range, before Will Swan was denied one-on-one by Stone.
Forest threatened once more, this time through Alex Mighten, however, his strike took a minor deflection past Stone’s upright.
And despite this chance it was the hosts who found the back of the net in the 84th minute.
Maynard profited from some fine, individual work from Hamilton to stroke the ball home and put his side into the lead courtesy of his fourth pre-season goal.
Mansfield’s number 22 could have added a third for himself one minute from time, yet ran into Smith who made a close-range save with his left palm.
The Stags will play their final pre-season friendly of 2019 at home to Rangers under-23s this forthcoming Saturday.
STAGS' XI: Stone (GK), White (Hamilton 54’), Benning, Preston, Pearce ©, Bishop, MacDonald, Mellis, Maynard, Sweeney, Rose.
UNUSED SUBS: Logan (GK), Khan, Cook, Sterling-James, Gibbens, Smith, Clarke, Trialist.
FOREST XI: Smith (GK), Richardson (Mighten 46’), Preston (Gallacher 66’), Bridcutt, Spooner, Stewart (Walsh 66’), Cummings (Taylor 46’), Edser (Gomis 46’), Murphy (Fornah 46’), Clough (Swan 46’), Ariyibi (Barnes 46’).
UNUSED SUBS: Wright (GK)
REFEREE: David Coote
ASSISTANTS: Steven Meredith & Hristo Karaivanov
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Ken Hughes
ATTENDANCE: 3,202 (1,039 away)