RESERVES BEAT GRIMSBY
Reserves report: Stags 2-0 Grimsby Town
A brace from striker Lee Angol ensured Mansfield Town's reserves eased to a 2-0 victory over Grimsby Town in this afternoon's Central League Cup fixture at Rainworth Miners Welfare.
The former Peterborough United frontman opened the scoring after 16 minutes when he tapped home from striker Jimmy Spencer's deft chip, before Angol doubled his tally and Stags' lead from the spot after winger Omari Sterling-James was fouled in the box.
Stags named a strong side for the tie, with nine 'first teamers' named in the starting XI.
Goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik played behind a back three of Paul Digby, Rhys Bennett and youth team captain Henri Wilder, whilst midfielder Cameron Healey partnered Jacob Mellis in the middle of the park.
Mal Benning and Omari Sterling-James played on the flanks, whilst CJ Hamilton played behind the front two of Lee Angol and Jimmy Spencer.
Stags had the first chance of the game after just three minutes. A long ball over the top was collected by goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik and he launched it forward to frontman Jimmy Spencer. The former Plymouth Argyle man brought it down well and laid it off to winger CJ Hamilton, who whipped a vicious effort towards the top corner but Mariners' 'keeper Ben Killip flew to his right to tip it over.
From the resulting corner, and two more that followed in the next few minutes, midfielder Jacob Mellis picked out Paul Digby - who was playing at centre-half - but he couldn't direct any of his efforts on target.
Grimsby 'keeper Ben Killip was in fine form early on as he first of all saved well with his legs from Spencer on nine minutes, after the frontman had half-volleyed towards goal, before winger Omari Sterling-James' header was saved by the chest of the Mariners' custodian two minutes later.
In the next meaningful action, Stags took the lead. Sterling-James picked up the ball 20 yards out and slotted a nice reverse ball through for Spencer, who chipped the ball over the on-rushing Killip and striker Lee Angol made sure as he bundled it home on the line.
The Stags settled well after the dominated proceedings, without creating any clear-cut chances.
Mal Benning, who was playing as a left wing-back, was enjoying himself with the freedom to maraud forwards and he lofted a cross onto Spencer's head on 27 minutes, but the frontman's effort looped over the bar.
Four minutes later, Stags had the chance to double their lead. Hamilton picked the ball up on the right and slotted a pass into the box for Sterling-James, who drove forward before being barged over by Grimsby left-back Jason Akiotu.
Referee Edward Pidduck had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and frontman Lee Angol stepped up to fire his spot kick into the bottom left corner, giving the 'keeper no chance and doubling his personal tally.
Hamilton was involved again a minute later as he produced an exquisite flick on the edge of the box to divert the ball into Spencer's direction, but his effort was deflected into the arms of Killip.
Stags' defence was mainly untroubled in the first half, but they had to be alert after 39 minutes when Grimsby won a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
Skipper for the day Rhys Bennett headed the ball down for Mellis to volley clear, but Grimsby worked it back into the box and Digby did just enough to put striker Akwasi Asante off as he shot from 12 yards out, lofting it over the bar.
The second half started much the same as the first finished; with the Stags on top but not creating any real chances.
On 49 minutes, Angol and Sterling-James combined really well on the edge of the box to set up Spencer, but his shot was blocked by a sliding challenge.
Creative midfielder Mellis was next to try his luck from range as he drifted in from the left-hand side, but he didn't get the required contact on his shot and it bobbled into the hands of Killip.
Just before the hour mark, Sterling-James clipped a wonderful first time ball over to the Mal Benning on the left and he curled a low cross through the six-yard box, which was turned behind for a corner.
From that flag kick, Mellis picked out Digby once more but he couldn't keep his half-volley down and it sailed over the bar.
Stags made their first change on 67 minutes when midfielder Jacob Mellis made way for impressive youngster Keaton Ward.
A minute later, frontman Lee Angol could, and arguably should, have had his hat-trick. Hamilton drove into the box and his low cross was dummied by Spencer and with the goal at his mercy, Angol scuffed his shot into the hands of Killip from a couple of yards out.
The former Peterborough man then went into the book for a foul on Sawyer, before being replaced three minutes later. He and fellow frontman Spencer were replaced by striker Zayn Hakeem and winger Nyle Blake.
Tricky wideman Sterling-James then received a caution for dragging back Harry Clifton in the Mariners' half.
After 77 minutes, midfielder Keaton Ward had the chance to make his mark when the ball fell to him at the back post, but he couldn't keep his half volley down as he fired it just over the top.
Over the following 10 mintues, Stags controlled the game and didn't let the hosts find a way back into the tie.
Stags did, however, have chance to further enhance the scoreline on 88 minutes when Sterling-James flicked the ball through for Hakeem, but the Grimsby defence were alert and put it out for a throw.
It was, in truth, a comfortable victory for the Stags which will have pleased Stags' boss Steve Evans, who saw a number of his squad complete much-needed competitive minutes to increase their sharpness ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet League Two clash with Swindon Town.
STAGS' XI: Olejnik, Bennett (captain), Benning, Digby, Mellis (Ward 67), Angol (Hakeem 73), Spencer (Blake 73), Sterling-James, Hamilton, Wilder, Healey
SUBS NOT USED: Wilson, Gibbens
GRIMSBY XI: Killip, McMillian, Akiotu, Sawyer, Keeble, Powles, Goddard, Clifton, Lawson, Asante, Oyibo
SUBS NOT USED: Jamieson, Briggs, Lawman, Davis, Burrell
REFEREE: Edward Pidduck
Photo credit: Dan Westwell Photography
Latest | October 2017