Mansfield Town impress in defeat of Bolton Wanderers

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Mansfield Town opened their pre-season home campaign with a comfortable 2-1 win over a lacklustre Bolton Wanderers.

Danny Rose and Krystian Pearce gave Stags a well-deserved 2-0 lead inside the first 25 minutes.

Zach Clough pulled a goal back with a cool finish for the League One side on 54 minutes, but they never looked like finding an undeserved equaliser as the game lost its flow and tempo in the closing 30 minutes.

The win was a just reward for Mansfield, who can take many positives from the workout.

Matt Green showed he’s lost none of his strength and determination in setting up the opening goal after he easily shrugged off a defender.

As well as his goal, Danny Rose showed a superb work-rate and the very useful knack of winning plenty of free-kicks.

Out wide Ashley Hemmings showed he can be a more than useful winger, with bags of pace and trickery there for the taking if it can be harnessed correctly.

Adam Murray may have been hoping for a tougher test from Bolton with his rearguard rarely threatened by the lacklustre visitors.

But, on the few occasions Bolton got it together up top, George Taft and Krystian Pearce were rock-solid both on the deck and in the air, showing they have all the makings of a commanding partnership.

Mansfield enjoyed long spells of possession as they dominated the midfield areas with their superior work-rate and fitness levels.

Danny Rose flashed a diving header a yard wide inside two minutes as Stags threatened to catch Bolton napping.

But Rose didn’t have to wait much longer to open his account when Matt Green showed great strength to shake off a defender and roll the ball across goal for the easiest of tap-ins on 10 mins.

Bolton’s Mark Davies could count himself lucky that it was only a pre-season friendly after he lost his rag and shoved referee Gary Sutton after he had prevented a flare up following a late challenge by Rose.

Mansfield were growing in confidence and were next to threaten when Kevan Hurst had a swerving effort from distance saved by Ben Amos on 19 minutes.

It was 2-0 three minutes later when Krystian Pearce powefully headed home from close range after a pin-point free-kick from Mal Benning.

The goal was nothing more than Stags deserved as they continued to dominate the game in the midfield area with their superior energy and work-rate.

Scott Shearer saved brilliantly from Davies at point-blank range on 32 minutes to keep the two goal cushion in tact as the visitors sprung into life.

Stags survived a penalty shout after Chris Taylor went down too easily after a collision with Benning on 36 minutes.

Benning was withdrawn from the action six minutes later and replaced by Adam Champan after picking up an injury.

Bolton pulled a goal back nine minutes after the restart when Zach Clough cooly slotted past Scott Shearer after a perfect slide-rule pass from Max Clayton created an opening.

The goal signalled a spell of increased possession and pressure from the visitors as Mansfield struggled to get into the game.

Stags withdraw Matt Green and Danny Rose, with James Baxendale and CJ Hamilton entering the action as Mansfield switched to a 4-4-2 line up.

The changes worked well as Stags once again got a foothold in midfield and looked the likelier of the two teams score.

But the game lost all of its tempo and flow in the closing 30 mins as a raft of substitutions killed the game as Mansfield saw out the win.

Mansfield Town: Shearer (Jensen 64), Bennett (Yussuf 80 mis), Benning (Chapman 42), Collins, Pearce (Shires 71 mins), Taft (Danquah 79 mins), Clements (McGuire 75), Green (Hoban 58 mins), Hurst (65 mins), Hemmings (Hamilton 56 mins), Rose (Baxendale).

Bolton Wanderers: Amos (Howard HT), Moxey (Honeyball 75 mins), Dervite, Beevers, Vela, Taylor (Clayton HT), Clough, Davies (Walker 71 mins), Trotter, Proctor, Wilson.

Subs: Spearing, Madine, Pratley, Twardzik, Woolery, Wheater, Newell, Finney, Spooner.

Ref: Gary Sutton.

Chad man of match: Kyrstian Pearce.

Attendance: 1,481 (216).