PRE-SEASON: SWANSEA 2-1 MANSFIELD (IN PORTUGAL)
Swansea City 2 - 1 Mansfield Town
Wayne Routledge 45+3, Barry McKay 89. Nicky Maynard 35
Attendance: app 110 (app 100 from Mansfield, 10 from Swansea), my estimates
Date: 6 July 2019
Martin Shaw at Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal
Mansfield Town put in a very encouraging performance in the heat of Portugal this morning despite losing 2-1 to Championship side Swansea City. Overall the Stags more than held their own and if it had been Mansfield who had ended up as winners, then Swansea could not have complained.
The first half saw Swansea on top midway through the half and Conrad Logan made a magnificent save after 26 minutes, tipping away an effort from Wayne Routledge. But then at the other end after 29 minutes, on-trial striker Joe Quigley received a fine diagonal crossfield pass from young James Clarke before side-footing against the underside of the bar, a fine effort. The Stags took the lead after 35 minutes when CJ Hamilton made a teasing run on the left before firing in a powerful low cross which ricocheted off a defender and new signing Nicky Maynard knocked the loose ball into the net. Maynard the first to pounce, a true goal-poacher’s effort. Quigley then sent another effort over the bar, after a good flick-on from Maynard. Swansea finished the first half strongly and equalised with the last kick of the first half as young Stags defender Noah Stokes allowed Routledge to get goalside of him following a long ball forward, Routledge took the ball around Logan and slotted into the empty net. Initially I thought it might be offside, but from the analyst’s video, it wasn’t. It was a shame for Stokes who had a very solid half, not looking out of place, but just a momentary loss of concentration was costly and that will be a learning point for him. Otherwise he impressed. CJ Hamilton caused Swansea plenty of problems with his pace down the left and in truth it’s a surprise that he hasn’t been prized away from the Stags by a higher league club. At the other end though he was caught out a couple of times by right winger Jordan Garrick, and Hamilton was probably relieved when Garrick limped off with a hamstring injury. Joe Quigley did well up front, and manager John Dempster might be tempted to have a longer look at him with Craig Davies out injured. In midfield, young Alistair Smith caught the eye with an assured display, including some good corners, while Tom Fielding did well on the right of midfield. And of course, it was great for Maynard to get a goal in his first game in a Stags shirt, albeit pre-season.
Two fresh elevens in the second half, but the half took a long time to get going with precious little action at either end until the final 15 minutes of the game. Then Stags new keeper Aidan Stone made a wonderful save after 77 minutes tipping wide a header from Courtney Baker-Richardson from Yan Dhanda’s cross. Then on 83 minutes, the Stags had four good chances in 3 minutes to win the game. Firstly a shot from the impressive right wing-back Jason Law was deflected for a corner. From the resulting corner, a left-footed shot from Jacob Mellis was saved low on the line by the keeper. Then Mal Benning’s powerful shot was brilliantly tipped over the bar by keeper Benda, and finally Willem Tomlinson’s thunderbolt shot which looked to be heading for the top corner of the net was deflected just over the bar by one of his own team-mates. The Stags so close to winning it, but were made to pay as Swansea netted an 89th minute winner. Aiden Walker had impressed hugely on the right side of the back three, but a momentary loss of concentration allowed Barry McKay to break into the area on the Swansea left and fire a powerful low shot under keeper Aidan Stone. A real shame, especially as Walker and Jason Law had really caught the eye on the right for Mansfield. Jacob Mellis also caught the eye with an impressive display in midfield. The result of course was not the most important thing but new boss John Dempster was disappointed with the goals conceded, though happy with the overall performance, and even happier with the whole 10 days in Portugal.
Dempster had revealed on Tuesday that after playing 4 at the back in a behind-closed doors game against Glasgow Rangers last Saturday, he would be playing 3 at the back in this game against Swansea.
1st half team (3-5-2):
Noah Stokes (scored for the Stags at Bournemouth in FA Youth cup last season), Krystian Pearce, Ryan Sweeney;
James Clarke (young right wingback signed from Burnley), Neal Bishop (in front of back three), Tom Fielding (played in Checkatrade trophy last season), Alistair Smith, CJ Hamilton;
Nicky Maynard (new signing from Bury), Joe Quigley (on trial).
2nd half team (3-5-2):
Aidan Stone (new young keeper, to be understudy to Logan, until Olejnik fit);
Aiden Walker (from last season’s U21 side), Matt Preston, Lewis Gibbens;
Jason Law (played in Checkatrade trophy last season), Jacob Mellis (in front of back three), Willem Tomlinson, Otis Khan, Mal Benning;
Andy Cook (new signing from Walsall), Danny Rose.
On the pre-season training trip but did not play: Bobby Olejnik (injured, hopefully back October), Jordan Graham (injured), Hayden White (basically fit but just being held back from friendlies a little longer after his broken leg last season), Omari Sterling-James, Jamie Chisholm (from last season’s youth team), Tyrese Sinclair (from last season’s youth team), Jimmy Knowles (from last season’s youth team, just signed pro deal).
Returned home from pre-season trip for scan: Alex MacDonald (great news after the game that the scan is clear).
Not on the pre-season trip: Craig Davies (injured).
The Stags turned out in their new home kit of amber and blue.
The game was played in a nice stadium in the town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio, in Portugal, just on the border with Spain. It was about an hour’s drive from the Stags’ training camp this week. Swansea have been on a training camp in Spain, about 45 minutes away, and the fixture was mutually beneficial for both clubs. An interesting oddity is that the stadium hosted an international friendly between Wales and Poland in 2009 (https://www.skysports.com/football/wales-vs-poland/13352).
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
REPORT - SWANSEA CITY 2 MANSFIELD 1
First team Sat 6 Jul 2019, 1:20PM
GOALS FROM WAYNE ROUTLEDGE AND BARRIE MCKAY SAW SWANSEA CITY END THEIR PRE-SEASON TRAINING CAMP IN SPAIN WITH VICTORY IN STEVE COOPER'S FIRST GAME IN CHARGE.
The Swans travelled across the Portuguese border to face League Two Mansfield in their first 90 minute-contest of pre-season.
Billed as a training game, Nicky Maynard fired The Stags ahead in the 35th minute only for Routledge to equalise right on the stroke of half-time.
With head coach Cooper changing his entire 11 after the break, the contest looked to be heading for a draw until McKay popped up two minutes from time with an excellent solo winner.
It was a good work out for the Swans, who head back to Wales tomorrow to continue their preparations for the new Championship campaign.
Goalkeeper Steven Benda, 20, was handed his first senior start by Cooper and the German played the full 90 minutes after Erwin Mulder picked up a slight muscle injury during training.
Fellow keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt was not considered after joining the group late following international commitments over the summer.
Bersant Celina, Joel Asoro and new signing Jake Bidwell also sat out the opening game of pre-season after joining the squad late.
Cooper played different line-ups in each half. Academy products Brandon Cooper, Jack Evans, Jordon Garrick and Liam Cullen were handed senior starts in the opening 45 minutes after impressing during the week-long training camp.
After an even opening 10 minutes, the Swans started to get into their stride as Cullen turned on a Mike van der Hoorn cross only to fire straight at Conrad Logan in the Mansfield goal.
Mansfield responded when Benda had to be alert to save at the feet of Maynard in the 18th minute, as a Cian Harris back header fell slightly short of its intended target.
The Swans were soon back on the offensive though and should have taken the lead in the 25th minute when a great pass from Evans split The Stags defence.
Connor Roberts raced to the byline before pulling back a cross which Routledge met with a powerful shot. Logan did well to save before Oli McBurnie, playing in a number 10 role, fired the rebound over.
Mansfield had plenty of threats of their own though as Joe Quigley fired against the bar four minutes later.
It was a warning the Swans failed to heed as the League Two side took the lead in the 35th minute. CJ Hamilton created space down the left and, when the Swans failed to clear his cross, Maynard was perfectly placed to fire home from close range.
It sparked a good response from the Swans who equalised right on the stroke of half-time when a ball over the top from Van der Hoorn saw Routledge beat the offside trap to coolly round Logan.
Cooper changed his entire side for the start of the second-half, as did Mansfield, with the game slow to get going again.
In fact, the first chance of the half didn’t arrive until the 75th minute when good work from Yan Dhanda saw Courtney Baker-Richardson meet his cross with a great header. But Aidan Stone was down well to save low at the post.
The game looked to be heading to a draw until McKay picked the ball up on the left, weaved his way inside before firing a low shot under Stone with just two minutes remaining.
Swansea City (first-half): Steven Benda, Connor Roberts, Brandon Cooper, Cian Harries, Mike van der Hoorn, Matt Grimes, Jack Evans, Oli McBurnie, Wayne Routledge, Jordon Garrick (Joe Lewis 32), Liam Cullen.
Swansea City (second-half): Steven Benda, Kyle Naughton, Declan John, Joe Lewis, Joe Rodon, George Byers, Jay Fulton, Yan Dhanda, Nathan Dyer, Barrie McKay, Courtney Baker-Richardson. Subs: Ben Cabango, Kristoffer Nordfeldt.