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Gritty Stags shock the Rams with friendly win

Mansfield Town v Derby County on Wednesday July 18th 2018. Mansfield player Craig Davies.
Mansfield Town v Derby County on Wednesday July 18th 2018. Mansfield player Craig Davies.

Mansfield Town delighted their supporters with a gritty 3-1 friendly victory over a powerful Derby County side at the One Call Stadium tonight.

The Stags were chasing shadows for much of the first half against their Championship neighbours as Frank Lampard’s men gave Mansfield a superb defensive test.

But, after a flurry of second half substitutions, the goals began to flow as Stags shocked the Rams.

Youngster Jordan Graham punished Derby keeper Kelle Roos for giving him the ball on 65 minutes.

Four minutes later Mason Bennett levelled only for Lee Angol to make it 2-1 from the spot on 77 minutes before setting up CJ Hamilton for a third three minutes later to kill off the Rams.

With six new players on show for the home fans to enjoy and some excellent performances, the only downer on a very entertaining night was the sight of trialist Nathan Cameron limping off soon after coming on at the break.

The centre half had been trying to prove his fitness to win a contract after injury and fans will now await news on this set-back.

There were early cheers as White outpaced Jerome to a through ball and won a foul.

Stags then had a third minute let-off as, after a great run down the centre by Lawrence, Thomas saw his finish deflect off Pearce and come back down off the crossbar.

On six minutes Jerome pulled a low shot narrowly wide after more good approach play from the Rams.

The five minutes later Lawrence twisted and turned, putting White on his backside, before curling over the far angle.

Thomas was next to fire over from the edge of the box as the visitors continued to set the pace and entertain with their neat passing.

It took the home side 24 minutes to fashion a chance as White tore powerfully down the right before pulling over a low cross that Davies laid back for Bishop to send a tame shot at Carson.

In reply Hanson saw his far post drive deflect over for a corner.

On 26 minutes Logan denied Derby an opening goal with his legs after Wisdom had sent Thomas into the box on the right

Khan warmed Carson’s hands on 36 minutes after swapping passes with MacDonald from a free kick, but the save was routine as an entertaining half ended scoreless.

Derby made seven interval substitutions while Stags only swapped Olejnik for Logan in goal.

The visitors almost broke through on a swift counter-attack on 56 minutes after Benning lost the ball on edge of the opposition box.

Thomas quickly made ground and then found Lawrence to his left, who helped it on to an unmarked Nugent, whose curling finish clipped the post when he looked a certain scorer.

Stags made nine changes on 59 minutes – and within six minutes they were ahead.

Sterling-James and Graham put pressure on Roos and, in trying to play the ball out, he only gave it straight to Graham, the youngster coolly lifting a finish over the keeper.

However, Derby were soon level as Olejnik got down to parry a low Johnson shot, Nugent retrieved the loose ball and sent it back across to Bennett, who made no mistake, sweeping in a powerful low finish on 69 minutes.

At the same time, Stags trialist Cameron limped off after clearing a cross at the near post just 11 minutes after coming on, the Rams goal going in when the home side were effectively reduced to 10 men after Cameron’s block.

But Mansfield were back in front from the spot on 77 minutes.

Angol won the penalty from a push in the back by Bogle and then stepped up to send Roos the wrong way with a calm finish.

Stags then had to survive three Derby corners, Olejnik making a brave smother on the second, before the home side broke away to make it 3-1.

Sterling-James sent a superb through ball down the centre to send Angol clear. He tried to sidestep the keeper and then unselfishly fed Hamilton to his left to find the empty net and seal a surprise victory for Mansfield.

STAGS: Logan (Olejnik HT), White (Digby 59), Benning (Hamilton 59), Preston (Cameron 59, Blake 70), Pearce (Gibbens 59), Bishop (Butcher 59), MacDonald (Mellis 59), Craig Davies (Graham 59), Khan (Sterling-James 59), Atkinson, Walker (Angol 59).

RAMS: Carson (Roos HT), Hanson (Bogle HT), Lowe, Wisdom (Keogh HT), Curtis Davies (Alex Pearce HT), Huddlestone (Johnson HT), Thomas (Bennett 63), Bryson (Butterfield 72), Jerome (Nugent HT), Ledley (Thorne HT), Lawrence (Blackman 72).

REFEREE: Ross Joyce of Newcastle.

ATTENDANCE: 4,058 (1,394 away).