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Archived News from July 2019

22nd July 2019 11:11

Pre-Season Friendly
Alfreton Town 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
Smith 82
Attendance: 1054 (756 from Mansfield)

Date: 13 July 2019

Martin Shaw at the Impact Arena

Mansfield Town beat Alfreton Town from Conference North 1-0 in this afternoon’s pre-season friendly. The only goal of the game came after 82 minutes when Alistair Smith smashed into the net from close range after Otis Khan did very well to play in Mal Benning on the left, and Benning’s low ball was perfect for Smith. A very nice goal. The Stags had two trialists on show. One of them, an attacking midfielder, really caught the eye at the start of the second half, firstly with a run from the halfway line to the edge of the area on the right and his cross-shot across goal went just wide of the left post, then more good play to set up a shot for Alistair Smith from 22 yards which was blocked, and finally being involved in a super move, as he did well really well to set Alex MacDonald away on the right, MacDonald’s cross was delightful and Khan knocked over the bar from close range. The Stags’ other good chance of the second half came from another great cross from Benning and MacDonald’s flying header was tipped over. Really good to see MacDonald back and playing well after the scare of his injury in Portugal but a scan showed he was ok. The trialist attacking midfielder faded after his promising start but after the game boss Dempster said that he’ll take a further look at him in training. Up front, Andy Cook showed strength to hold the ball up, but did give the ball away on a couple of occasions, and if I was picking my side for the first league game of the season, he would be behind Nicky Maynard and Danny Rose at this stage, but there are plenty of pre-season games to go yet. Matt Preston had a superb game at the back in the second half, totally dominant.

The first half was a quiet affair. CJ Hamilton looked dangerous for Mansfield on the left, but on the other side Omari Sterling-James didn’t get into the game much after he had impressed at Bradford PA. Nicky Maynard hardly had a touch up front, Danny Rose did well in the air, but had little to feed off. Young left back Kian Sketchley, from last season’s youth team, did well, growing into the game nicely after being called up late to replace the ill Jason Law. As the half time whistle blew, boss Dempster was straight over to young Sketchley to shake his hand. In central defence, both Krystian Pearce and Ryan Sweeney looked good. Jacob Mellis showed some flashes of quality with a few nice passes and set pieces. The other trialist today played at right back, and played the first 66 minutes of the game. He didn’t especially catch the eye but may get more opportunities to impress in training.

The trialists were later named (once the club were not following up on them) as:
Jak Hickman - right back
Arthur Gnahoua - attacking midfielder


Mansfield Town are at the Impact Arena to play Conference North side Alfreton Town this afternoon.

Mansfield Town team
1st half team (4-4-2):
Conrad Logan;
Trialist right back, Krystian Pearce, Ryan Sweeney, Kian Sketchley (from last season’s youth team);
Omari Sterling-James, Jacob Mellis, Neal Bishop, CJ Hamilton;
Nicky Maynard (new signing from Bury), Danny Rose.

2nd half team (4-4-1-1):
Aidan Stone (new young keeper, to be understudy to Logan, until Olejnik fit);
Trialist right back, Matt Preston, Lewis Gibbens, Mal Benning;
Alex MacDonald, Alistair Smith, Willem Tomlinson, Otis Khan;
Trialist attacking midfielder;
Andy Cook (new signing from Walsall),

James Clarke (young right wingback signed from Burnley) for Trialist right back, 66 mins
Subs not used: Tyrese Sinclair (from last season’s youth team), Tom Fielding, Jimmy Knowles (from last season’s youth team, just signed pro deal).

Did not play today: Bobby Olejnik (injured, hopefully back October), Jordan Graham (injured), Craig Davies (injured), Dion Donohue (new signing from Portsmouth, not yet fit, but should be within three weeks), Jamie Chisholm (from last season’s youth team), Noah Stokes (picked up a bad knee injury at Bradford PA), Jason Law (ill), Hayden White (being eased back so too much to play today after 30 mins on Thursday night, expected to play in the next match).

Alfreton have two players with Stags connections in their squad today: Amari Morgan-Smith was a trialist for the Stags in the pre-season of the 13/14 season, but never played a league game. Nyle Blake was with the Stags last season and scored in the Checkatrade trophy against Scunthorpe.

4 mins: Hamilton does really well to win a free kick on the left. Mellis’s delivery to the far post is just missed by the diving Sweeney.

8 min: Great play from Hamilton to win a corner on the left.

10 mins: Free kick for Alfreton and from it, Shaun Killock’s powerful header is deflected wide. From the resulting corner, Dominic Smith headed just wide.

12 mins: Trialist right back sells Bishop a hospital pass, Bishop just gets it, then moments later a brilliant tackle from Bishop, who’s started well.

17 mins: Alfreton cross from the left. Bobby Johnson heads wide.

20 mins: Mellis chips a ball forward but it just skips through to the keeper before Hamilton can get there. Good effort.

26 mins: Long range shot from Josh Wilde is saved low down by Logan.

30 mins: A good header down the line from young Sketchley, to Hamilton who wins a corner. From the corner by Mellis, Rose rises well to head back across goal, but it’s cleared.

38 mins: Hamilton does well to block a clearance, and powers his way into the box. His shot is blocked for a corner. Following the corner, Mellis curls a cross from the left beyond the far post where Sweeney does well to head it back, but the ball is cleared.

43 mins: Good tackle by Sweeney at the back. Then Pearce brings the ball out with a mazy run but eventually loses the ball in the opposition half.

45 mins: Free kick from Bobby Johnson is miles over the bar, after a foul by Bishop just outside the area.

As the half time whistle blows, boss Dempster is straight over to young Kian Sketchley to shake his hand on that 45 minutes which he grew into nicely.

A quiet first half. Hamilton looked dangerous for Mansfield on the left. Sterling-James didn’t get into the game much. Maynard hardly had a touch, Rose did well in the air, but had little to feed off. In truth, we haven’t learnt very much from that half. Young Kian Sketchley did well after being called up at left back to replace the ill Jason Law.

Half time 0-0

2nd half team (4-4-1-1):
Aidan Stone (new young keeper, to be understudy to Logan, until Olejnik fit);
Trialist (same as first half), Matt Preston, Lewis Gibbens, Mal Benning;
Alex MacDonald, Alistair Smith, Willem Tomlinson, Otis Khan;
Andy Cook (new signing from Walsall).

48 mins: Good play in the early stages from Cook winning a header he had no right to win, and Khan with some good skill.

50 mins: A fine run from the trialist attacking midfielder, from the halfway line to the edge of the area on the right and his cross-shot across goal goes just wide of the left post.

51 mins: More good play from the trialist attacking midfielder, to set up a shot for Alistair Smith from 22 yards which is blocked.

54 mins: Super move, as the trialist attacking midfielder does well really to set Alex MacDonald away on the right, MacDonald’s cross is delightful and Khan knocks over the bar from close range.

56 mins: Cook turns just inside the box but is crowded out and can only fire well over the bar.

60 mins: Great cross from Benning and MacDonald’s flying header is tipped over. Cracking play.

62 mins: Lovely defending from Preston.

64 mins: Nyle Blake replaces Amari Morgan-Smith for Alfreton.

65 mins: More good defending Preston, who looks strong.

Sub: 66 mins: James Clarke replaces right back trialist.

69 mins: Clackstone fires wide for Alfreton after a scramble in the Stags box.

Att: 1054. I’m trying to get the number of away fans. I’d guess 750.

73 mins: Great ball forward from Preston, who is impressing, to Cook, who immediately gives the ball away.

756 away fans. I was 6 out!

77 mins: Cook, then Tomlinson give the ball away. Dempster calls for better quality.

80 mins: A header up in the air in the area from an Alfreton player, and keeper Stone pushes a close-range shot wide. Stone apologises, maybe saying he should have come for it? Moments later, Stone catches really well from a ball into the box.

0-1 82 mins: Khan does well to play in Benning on the left, his low ball in is smashed into the net from close range by Alistair Smith. Very nice goal. A big roar from the 756 Stags fans behind that goal.

87 mins: Impressive run forward from Alistair Smith, but he’s crowd out just inside the area.

88 mins: Trialist attacking midfielder gives the ball away inside his own half, and eventually a shot from Alfreton no.17 who is not named is well over the bar from 20 yards.

Full time Alfreton 0-1 Mansfield

Ref: Danny Middleton

ALFRETON: Nicholson (Atkinson 54), East (Clackstone 45), Wilde (c) (Hinchley 83), Lynch (Grice 53), Qualter, Killock, Smith (Trialist 84), Whitham (Trialist 77), Morgan-Smith (Blake 64), Trialist (Bacon 54), Johnson (Brough 72).


Mansfield Town strike late to secure 1-0 friendly win at Alfreton Town
chad.co.uk, by STEPHEN THIRKILL, Saturday 13 July 2019

Alistair Smith hit a late winner to earn Mansfield Town a 1-0 win at Alfreton Town.

Smith hammered into the roof of the net with eight minutes to go after Mal Benning's perfect cross picked him out.


It capped an excellent second half display from Stags, who played a different line-up in each half, with the first team players getting the first run-out before 10 changes were made at the break.

But it was the back-up squad that impressed the most with a higher tempo 45 minutes and more energy and creativity on show following a largely forgettable first 45 minutes.

Otis Khan, Andy Cook and Alex MacDonald all came close to breaking the deadlock during an impressive spell straight after the break.

And the visitors eventually got their reward in the dying stages against a tiring Alfreton side.

At the other end Stags were rarely troubled with Josh Clackstone wasting Alfreton's only real chance with 21 minutes to go.

It was a useful work-out for Stags against their hard-working home neighbours who gave Mansfield a good test throughout.

Shane Killock had a header blocked for a corner on eight minutes during an even start.

Bobby Johnson failed to find the target with his header when he pulled away from his marker on 17 minutes.

It was the best chance of the opening 20 minutes as both sides effectively cancelled each other out in midfield.

Conrad Logan made a comfortable save on 26 minutes to keep out Josh Wilde's long range effort, before he saved easily from Killock's header on 33 minutes.

CJ Hamilton had a powerful shot blocked for a corner five minutes later as Mansfield looked to get into their stride.

Johnson curled a free-kick from a dangerous position straight into the crowd just before half-time. It was a free-kick which perfectly summed up the lack of quality on show in the final third during the first 45 minutes.

Stags made ten changes at the break, with the new line-up featuring two trialist players.

And they nearly found an early breakthrough when Trialist B sent a cross-shot just wide following a surging run four minutes after the restart.

Khan sent a first-time effort just over the bar after a superb cross from Alex MacDonald on 54 minutes.

Cook, one of the ten second half subs, fired over on the turn minutes later as Stags started to up the pressure.

Jack Atkinson superbly tipped over MacDonald's close range header over on the hour mark as the increased tempo from the visitors continued to cause Alfreton bother.

Clackstone screwed an effort badly wide from close range after the ball fell kindly from a corner on 69 minutes.

Sub keeper Aiden Stone had to punch away Morgan Brough's header at the expense of a corner with ten minutes left.

Smith then popped up with a tidy finish at the to wrap up the win.



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