MATLOCK TOWN 0-4 MANSFIELD TOWN
Two goals inside the final three minutes made it a harsh looking scoreline as far as Matlock were concerned in this hastily arranged extra friendly outing at the DCJ Group Arena on Tuesday night.
Mansfield, one of the favourites for the League Two title, brought a strong first team squad with their attacking players being considered as the ones that may start in their season’s opener at Crewe on Saturday week.
The Gladiators fought hard and matched their full time opponents for long periods, but the Stags looked sharp and determined to put their 4-0 defeat by Nottingham Forest on Saturday firmly behind them.
The visitors’ final three goals came after Matlock had been reduced to ten men, Callum Lloyd seeing red on 58 minutes for a reckless challenge on Jacob Mellis which caused a melee in which Lloyd finished with his shirt ripped from his torso. The match had been simmering as no quarter was asked or given by either side, and while Lloyd would have gone anyway in a league or cup game, it remains a mystery how Mansfield kept eleven men on the field.
Mansfield started at a furious tempo, on 3 minutes home goalkeeper Phil Barnes managing the slightest but nonetheless a vital fingernail to divert Hayden White’s shot over the bar. From the corner, Paul Digby volleyed against the crossbar.
The League Two side were enjoying most of the possession with the non leaguers battling hard to repel them. But on 14 minutes Matlock created their first chance when a weaving run on the left from Ted Cribley saw him slip a pass inside to Shaun Harrad whose twenty yarder flew narrowly beyond the far post.
In the very next minute though Mansfield scored with the hosts claiming a foul on Adam Yates who was left on the floor after a tangle, Paul Anderson knocking a cross from the right back into the middle for LEE ANGOL to prod in the easiest of finishes.
Yates had to be replaced by Nico Degirolamo before Matlock could have conceded again when David Mirfin lifted a great chance too high from close range.
The teams then exchanged chances with Cribley firing at Bobby Olejnik who also stole the ball off Harrad’s toe before his defenders charged down a Dwayne Wiley shot after the defender had turned sweetly in the box. Mansfield’s Danny Rose went close with a shot and a header before the interval.
After Barnes saved well from Anderson, Matlock could easily have found a 53rd minute leveller when Harrad, clear of his marker with only Olejnik to beat volleyed first time but a yard wide of the far post.
The sending off made Matlock’s task all the more difficult but to their credit, they stuck manfully to their task, although they were indebted to the woodwork again when Anderson’s shot struck the bar.
But they clinically opened Matlock up on 72 minutes, Mal Benning finding Rose who in turn fed WILL ATKINSON to net from close range. Wiley’s excellent tackle on Angol prevented a potential third goal before two very late Stags efforts completed the scoring.
MELLIS combined with Atkinson to push the ball in despite Joe Doyle-Charles’ best attempts to keep the ball out and then Matlock felt hard done by again when Angol looked to impede Degirolamo before slotting a low shot under Barnes.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Phil Barnes, 2 Trialist (15 Liam Marsden 64) 3 Jake Green 4 Joe Doyle-Charles 5 Adam Yates (14 Nico Degirolamo) 6 Dwayne Wiley (17 Max Hunt 87) 7 Trialist (16 Todd Jordan 60) 8 Callum Lloyd 9 Shaun Harrad 10 Ted Cribley (18 Ben Edgson 85) 11 Rhys Sharpe Subs not used: 12 Luis Rose G/k Jordan Pierrpoint
MANSFIELD TOWN: 12 Bobby Olejnik 3 Mal Benning 4 Paul Digby 6 Zander Diamond 8 Jacob Mellis 9 Lee Angol 10 Paul Anderson 11 Will Atkinson 16 Hayden White 18 David Mirfin 32 Danny Rose Subs: G/K Sam Wilson 23 Tyler Blake 24 Cameron Healy 25 Bradley Peace-Macdonald
REFEREE: Richard Eley (Derby) ATTENDANCE: 349