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Season 17/18 Stagsnet Match Report
Pre-Season Friendly
Gainsborough Trinity  
0 - 4
 Mansfield Town
 Sterling-James 6, 60, Hamilton 38, Potter 76.
Attendance: unknown
Date: 25 July 2017

Craig Priest at The Northolme

Whilst the squad in Matlock bagged four goals watched on by Steve Evans and Paul Raynor - the other half of the squad kept up with their team mates, putting four past non-league Gainsborough Trinity.

The Stags squad were skippered by Krystian Pearce and managed by Mike Whitlow and Richard Cooper - with all players getting the full 90 minutes and many giving Cooper and Whitlow plenty to report back on - especially the likes of Alfie Potter, Joel Byrom and shot-stopper Conrad Logan.

Lining up in a flat, traditional 4-4-2 formation, both sides started with the pace and intensity of a league encounter, just a minute in good movement from Potter on the right hand side of midfielder picked out Omari Sterling-James, only for the hosts to clear and counter - captain Pearce sweeping in well to snuff out the danger.

Conrad Logan then produced a fine stop two minutes later, Johnny Hunt was beaten by his marker at left back and as the hosts drilled in a low testing cross, none of the Stags players picked out the on rushing Trinity front man, who was denied by a fine save from Logan.

On six minutes though the Stags found the opening goal, Joel Byrom’s quick thinking from a dead ball, saw Mansfield play a quick free kick - Byrom’s crisp pass picked out Sterling-James to the right of the area who stopped, turned his man and curled beyond the home keeper.

It should have been two on fourteen minutes after some fluid cross-park football, Potter’s driving run towards the edge of the Trinity area created space for and advancing Rhys Bennett - a neat 1-2 saw a testing Potter cross scrambled clear.

Gainsborough enjoyed a successful period with the ball and should have pulled themselves level on twenty minutes as Mansfield’s defence switched off from a corner, fortunately for the visitors, the unmarked Trinity man at the far post could only fire up and over the bar.

Rhys Bennett pulled the strings on 29 minutes, intercepting well on the half way line and driving his side forward, he found Potter on the overlap who in turn picked out CJ Hamilton with a nice cut back - Hamilton’s lofted cross found its way to Jimmy Spencer who was unfortunate to see his left footed effort fly up and over the bar.

Joel Byrom tested the water with a tasty delivery on 33 minutes which the home keeper had to push away as the Stags looked for a second, they waited just five more minutes before Jimmy Spencer controlled a directional ball from the back. The former Plymouth man picked out CJ Hamilton who did the rest with a little help from the near post and the keeper who got a touch on it.

Potter came close to adding a third on the stroke of half-time but his thirty yard effort was always rising.

Half time 0-2

On 48 minutes, Sterling-James produced a sublime piece of skill to get past Evans on the edge of the box, but he then curled his shot over.

Mansfield didn’t rest with a two-goal lead. Then Jimmy Spencer fired an effort go into the side netting, before Jack Thomas pulled the trigger in a rush of blood following strong work again from Potter on the right touch-line - Spencer had made a fine run to find space and lose his marker.

It was then cometh the hour cometh the third goal, Alfie Potter the creator as he weaved a way forwards before slotting in Hamilton, his shot from a narrow angle as his movement took him away from goal, deflected to Sterling-James and he did the rest from eight yards, knocking into the bottom left corner of the net with his right leg.

Six minutes later the Gainsborough keeper pulled off two fine saves in quick succession as a hungry Mansfield looked for a fourth - the Trinity glovesman first palmed away a swerving bullet from Sterling-James after Byrom’s corner was cleared to him, before Potter danced through from the second phase of play, his effort from the left hand side of the box taking a deflection and bringing a magnificent one-handed save.

Then Johnny Hunt curled a shot over the bar from the edge of the box, after a 1-2 with Hamilton.

A momentary lapse allowed Gainsborough in on 70 minutes but the home striker couldn’t keep his shot down, whilst two minutes later, a perfectly weighted deep clipped central pass from Thomas put Sterling-James free into the box - he curled over the bar after cutting back onto his right footed, an opportunity he really should have buried.

Five minutes later Alfie Potter got the goal he deserved, winning the ball on the bye-line on the right - Potter showed quick feet and fluid movement to take the ball beyond three players and get into a shooting position to the right of the box, he took one look up before stroking the ball firmly underneath the keeper - a fitting goal in a fine display from Potter.

Potter came close to sealing his second goal with two minutes to go as his close range shot was blocked, after Pearce won the ball, fed Potter, who found Sterling-James whose cross was teed by Spencer for Potter. But at the death it was Logan taking the plaudits - rushing off his line to deny the on rushing Trinity player, who had caught the Stags flat footed.

All in all a good run out from a strong Mansfield side - in particular Conrad Logan, Joel Byrom, Alfie Potter and CJ Hamilton staking a claim for a starting place at Crewe.

Report by: Craig Priest at The Northolme

Line Up:
Conrad Logan;
Rhys Bennett, Krystian Pearce (captain), George Taft, Johnny Hunt;
Alfie Potter, Joel Byrom, Jack Thomas, CJ Hamilton;
Jimmy Spencer, Omari Sterling James.
Sub Line Up:
Subs not used: Hakeem, Collins, Harrison.
Opposition Line Up:
Walton, Gatter, Davie, Clarke, Jacklin, Evans, King, Richards, Jarman, Worsfold, Simmons
SUBS: Storey, Lacey, Stainfield, Williams, Wafula, Wells, McDaid
Dave Jones

Season 17/18 Reports