STAGS WIN AT BELPER
A warm friendly welcome awaited the staff and supporters of Mansfield Town to the Christchurch Meadow ground, home of Belper Town, for the Stags 2nd pre-season friendly. The playing surface looked to be in excellent condition which was in stark contrast to the Glapwell pitch on Friday.
Belper Town kicked off the proceedings and both sides began attacking from the off with Mansfield having the first real shot after only 5 minutes with Kevin Street hitting the ball over the Belper woodwork. After 15 minutes Shayne Bradley had a cross come off the bar with Liam Lawrence forcing the Belper keeper to make a fine save with the rebound. Andy White ran onto a through ball and went round the defender but his shot was blocked by an excellent recovery tackle which resulted in a corner which was easily cleared. A further corner was headed into the roof of the net giving the Belper keeper no chance as Reddington netted his 2nd goal in consecutive games for the Stags on 30 minutes. Reddington was in the action again minutes later when his crunching tackle brought down Belpers number 11 just outside the box. The resulting free kick going just over the bar. Another good run by Belpers Walsh saw his shot well saved by Pilkington on 34 mins. Belpers equalising goal came on 37 mins after the initial shot was parried away by Pilkington and Liourd ran in to put the ball in the back of the net.
Mansfield attacked with a good pass by Disley to Bradley who then crossed to Andy White for him to side foot the ball into the Belper net for a 2-1 lead. Bradley was brought down and stayed down for some time, with the Stags fans holding their breath hoping that his bad luck with injuries is not set to continue, he did however get up much to the relief of Stewart Watkiss & Co.
Mansfield had the post to thank on 44 mins, when the ball skimmed past Pilkington, becoming Belpers last chance of the first half.
The Stags made 6 substitutions in the 2nd half with Bingham, Scott, Jervis, Bacon, Moore and Trainer replacing Pilkington, Reddington, Tankard, White, Bradley and more worrying Kevin Street, who was suffering with a thigh strain.
The 2nd half started pretty much in the same vain as the 1st ended, with Mansfield on the attack. Moore forced a corner after an initial shot from Wayne Corden but it was cleared with ease.
Mansfield made it 3-1 when Danny Bacon ran onto a through ball from Clarke and played it round the keeper to slot it into the net. On 58 mins Belper forced one of their few corners after Scott blocked the ball but it ended up going over the crossbar.
The Belper keeper was forced to make a fine save, tipping over a looping header from Michael Moore after an excellent Jamie Clarke cross.
Andy White was brought back into the action after Danny Bacon had to go off with what looked like a calf strain. White received the ball in midfield and passed to Disley who was running on, he laid the ball off for Michael Moore who had his resultant shot blocked. On 72 mins, White once again ran through the defence taking the ball down the by line passing to Corden who on the turn shot just over the bar.
Mansfield kept the tempo up with both Disley and White coming close. Liam Lawrence received a great pass from Michael Moore, after turning 2 defenders he hit a stinging shot which was parried away well by the home keeper, the ball looped in the air and a number of Stags players jumped for it only for the referee to blow for a free kick to Belper.
Belper forced 2 corners in succession, showing that they were not going to give up, the 2nd of which on 87 mins was headed out by Dion Scott, the ball fell kindly to Belper but the shot was saved comfortably by Bingham – his first real save since coming on as substitute after the half time break.
All in all a much improved Mansfield performance against a very plucky and hard working Belper Town side. This was a very enjoyable and entertaining game although there is room for improvement especially in holding up and keeping possession of the ball. The remaining pre-season friendlies will hopefully see these areas addressed.
Report by: Carole, Adam & Matt
Latest | July 2002