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Report: Matlock 2-4 Stags

1 August 2023

Forward Jordan Bowery netted twice while midfielders George Maris and Jakub Kruszynski were also on the scoresheet as Stags beat Matlock 4-2 in the club’s final pre-season friendly.

It was the hosts, however, who made the perfect start by scoring after only 59 seconds.


Winger John Johnston was afforded time and space on the right flank before delivering into the goal area, where Reece Styche stabbed home from close range.


Stags’ first real opening was carved out in the tenth minute. Forward Jordan Bowery found midfielder Jakub Kruszynski inside the box, who - with his back to goal - laid it to Hiram Boateng to curl narrowly wide of the right hand post from 18 yards.


Bowery came closer to levelling after 18 minutes as Stags grew into the game.


Matlock failed to clear a corner from the left and breathed a sigh of relief as Bowery rifled an effort against the post from 12 yards, before goalkeeper Saul Deeney gathered.


Stags eventually equalised after 27 minutes.


From the goalline, Boateng drilled a low pass into the six-yard box and the advancing George Maris did the rest with a rasping hit into the roof of the net.


And Boateng acted as architect four minutes later as Stags took the lead.


James Gale did well on the left touchline to keep the ball in play before releasing a careering Boateng on the left flank. And after another precise pass into the middle, Bowery completed the move to tap home from eight yards.


But the Gladiators restored parity on 40 minutes. Mansfield were unable to clear their lines and Harry Wakefield turned superbly to rifle into the bottom left hand corner from the edge of the box.


At the break, defender George Williams was replaced by Darien Wauchope in the Stags’ defence. And two minutes after the restart Wauchope made a vital block to Wakefield’s close range effort. 


Wakefield should have done better with his next effort as he fired over the target from 12 yards, with the grace of time and space. 


Matlock were building momentum and on 53 minutes, Stags’ goalkeeper Scott Flinders was almost at full-stretch to palm behind from his top left corner to deny Johnston’s powerful deflected drive.


But Stags regained the advantage after 55 minutes.


Young midfielder Jakub Kruszynski played a neat wall pass with Jordan Bowery on the inside right before the former slotted a cool finish underneath goalkeeper Saul Deeney.


Stags made another change as forward McKeal Abdullah replaced James Gale before Matlock broke forward and Sam Hooper curled just wide from 18 yards on the hour.


But Mansfield made no errors in their counter attack. Kruszynski and Bowery again combined, with the latter this time connecting with a cross at the back post to extend Stags’ advantage.


On 65 minutes, Taylor Anderson did well to hack away a dangerous ball into the Stags’ goal area and at the other end Maris opened the defence with a fine pass to Abduallah, who steadied himself before striking wide from just inside the box.


Louis Bonser and Ronnie Kokkinos took to the field in place of Kieron Freeman and Jakub Kruszynski in Stags’ next changes.


Matlock missed a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit when Olly Clark smashed over from close range following a left-wing cross which swept behind Stags’ defence.


On 79, midfielder Anthony Hartigan let fly from 25 yards, but his venomous strike flew marginally wide.


Finn Flanagan then took the place of George Maris in midfield with ten minutes to spare.


At the other end, Flinders pushed away a sizzling left-footed strike from Joe West as Matlock looked to pull one back. 


In the final minute, Abdullah turned inside the area to shoot wide as Stags comfortably saw out victory.


MATLOCK: Deeney, McNicholas, West, Hooper, Sharman, Trialist, Johnston, Clark, Styche (Catt 85) Wakefield (Demidh 70), White


UNUSED SUBS: Trialist GK, A. Wright, Crofts, M. White


STAGS: Flinders, Anderson, Williams, Cooper, Freeman (Bonser 73) (Wauchope HT), Maris (Flanagan 80), Hartigan. Boateng, Kruszynski (Kokkinos 73), Gale (Abdullah 60)



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