Magnificent Mansfield Town delight returning fans with win over Championship Coventry City

Action from the Stags v Coventry friendly tonight. Picture by Chris Holloway.Action from the Stags v Coventry friendly tonight. Picture by Chris Holloway.
Action from the Stags v Coventry friendly tonight. Picture by Chris Holloway.
Mansfield Town delighted their returning fans with a magnificent display and 1-0 win over Championship club Coventry City in tonight's pre-season friendly at the One Call Stadium.

With fans allowed in for the first time since February 2020, a noisy crowd of 2,539 saw Stags dominate and win it with a 48th minute George Lapslie goal on an emotional night.

Stags bossed most of the game, playing some neat football, and debut-making Manchester United loanee keeper Nathan Bishop did not have a save to make all night.

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The visitors might have snatched a second minute lead but Trialist A guided a close range header wide from a Jones free kick towards the left hand post.

That turned out to be their best chance of the night.

Within a few minutes the sun had disappeared and a heavy shower came down with rain lasting the whole first half.

Stags' new strikers combined on five minutes as Hawkins flicked on a long Hewitt throw, but Johnson's low finish was wide.

Stags were almost caught out on nine minutes after the ball had bounced off the referee to the visitors and Walker was sent clear, Bishop doing well to race out and clear before he could finish.

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A loose pass from Clarke then set up Walker for a firm shot at Bishop on 12 minutes.

Reid did well to hinder Johnson's attempt at turning a McLaughin cross on target on 27 minutes and it was an easy stop for Wilson in the end.

Stags' best move to the game so far soon after ended with McLaughlin well wide from an overhead kick from Lapslie's nod-down.

On 31 minutes a training ground corner saw Hewitt make a late run to race onto McLaughlin's short corner and cross, Johnson unable to get his header on target.

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Hewitt was too high from distance as the home side piled on the pressure.

A quick free kick saw Clarke dissect the Coventry defence and Johnson should have done better, pulling his low finish wide.

Stags were looking for an offside flag that never came on 35 minutes as Walker turned and lifted a finish just over.

Wilson safely gathered a 25 yard McLaughlin free kick while Jones was wide at the other end as a thoroughly entertaining half somehow ended goalless.

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The rain had stopped by the second half and Quinn almost celebrated that with a goal on 47 minutes as he volleyed over from a great far post cross by Hewitt.

But Stags were ahead on 49 minutes from a superb move down the left. McLaughlin hoisted the first pass down the line towards Johnson who rolled it inside perfectly for Lapslie to slot home a low finish.

Lapslie volleyed over from a Clarke cross on 56 minutes before City relieved the pressure with their first three corners of the game.

On 63 minutes the substitution began with four for the Sky Blues and Stirk, signed earlier in the day on loan, coming on for Quinn.

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Sub Enobakhare almost made an immediate impact as he cut in from the left and saw a shot deflect over, then Lapslie headed just over from a McLaughlin cross while Maris fired straight at Wilson from an angle.

The changes continued to roll for both teams as we entered the last 15 minutes.

On 83 minutes Wilson had to save an Oates snapshot from a loose ball, but the one goal proved enough as Stags were given a deserved rousing ovation.

STAGS: Bishop, McLaughlin, Hewitt (Clarke 68), Rawson, Clarke, Maris (Burke 75), Johnson (Sinclair 75), Hawkins (Bowery 75), Perch, Quinn (Stirk 63), Lapslie (Oates 68). SUBS NOT USED: Stech.

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COVENTRY: Wilson, Jones (Enobakhare 63), Trialist A, Sheaf (Rus 75), Walker (Knee 75), Reid, Dacosta (Trialist C 63), Drysdale (Tavares 63), Howley, Bapaga (Evans-Harriott 75), Trialist B (Rowe 63). SUBS NOT USED: Moore.

REFEREE: David Webb.

ATTENDANCE: 2,539 (368 away fans).