Mansfield Town’s entertaining 2-1 home friendly win over Nottingham Forest U23s tonight was marred by a new injury to defender Hayden White.
Looking lively and hungry after recovering from the ankle break he sustained in January, White suddenly pulled up and limped off nine minutes into the second half.
With Stags already in the market for cover for him, it remains to be seen how serious the injury is.
Otherwise, Stags new boy Nicky Maynard proved the matchwinner with an 84th minute goal.
In the first half Jason Cumming’s opener for the Reds had been wiped out by an Ethan Stewart own goal.
Stags are still to achieve the fluency they require and played too many misplaced passes on the night.
But they impressed in spells and Jacob Mellis was at his impish best in midfield and the back three rock solid among some good individual performances.
On a stiflingly hot night, Mansfield began the night with a back three, new boy Aidan Stone in goal and a pairing of Danny Rose and Nicky Maynard up front.
After all three trialists from last week were shown the day, Mansfield had a new trialist on the bench, but he was not used.
Forest, despite switching their from the promised first team to their U23s, still fielded a number of their bigger transfer-listed names to give them the chance to be in the shop window.
In goal for the Reds was Jordan Smith, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Mansfield.
Mansfield caused their own early problems at the back.
A loose clearance from Pearce in the box in the second minute went straight to Aryibi and White did well to block his fierce shot.
The four minutes later White gave the ball away and Ariyibi set up Bridcutt for a rising shot over the bar.
Maynard went down under a challenge as Stags got into the Forest box, but nothing was given.
Instead Forest went ahead on 10 minutes as A well-worked Forest move saw Stone’s save deny Murphy’s low, angled finish from the left only to see Murphy smash the loose ball back goalwards and Cummings turn it into the net at the far post.
A misplaced backpass from Clough earned Stags an unexpected corner, but when the ball reached Rose he screwed a tame shot well wide.
Cummings was not too far wide of the far angle from 20 yards as the Reds continued to produce some excellent approach play.
After a drinks break in the heat, Forest came close again on 28 minutes as Murphy’s head failed by inches to connect with Ariyibi’s superb left wing cross.
However, the home side were level on 33 minutes thanks to an own goal. Benning whipped a dangerous low ball into the box and Stewart’s attempted clearance diverted the ball past his own keeper.
Stags then had two spectacular attempts on goal.
On 35 minutes a clearance reached Mellis over 35 yards from goal and he hit it first time, Smith reacting well to the powerful, dipping finish and turning it over the bar.
From the corner, the ball was bent out to Benning whose smashed an outrageous volley over the top from 25 yards.
Forest took most of their more experienced senior names off at half-time to be replaced by more of their U23s.
Stags were first to try their luck as Mellis sent a powerful shot at Smith from 25 yards from Maynard’s intelligent low-pull-back.
But Stags - and White – were dealt a nasty blow on 53 minutes as White suddenly pulled up and limped off to be replaced by Hamilton.
On the restart MacDonald was not too far wide with a dipping half-volley.
Then a rampaging run by Benning on the hour took him into the box on the left where he forced Smith into a save.
A rare Forest chance on 70 minutes saw Walsh’s low snapshot deflect wide for a corner.
Bridcutt did well to block a Mellis shot on 76 minutes as Stags continued to probe.
Seconds later Gomis showed his speed and vision to slip a pass through to Swan, but an alert Stone kept out his flicked finish with an outstretched leg.
Bridcutt saw the night’s first yellow card with 10 minutes to go for hacking down Rose.
Great skill by Mighten on 83 minutes saw him hold off two defenders and then turn to see a low shot deflect wide as Forest pushed for the win.
Instead Stags took the lead for the first time on 84 minutes and snatched victory.
Hamilton made a typical run to the by-line on the right before pulling back a low ball towards the penalty spot where Maynard buried a low first time finish, showing the predator’s instinct he was bought for.
STAGS: Stone; Preston, Pearce, Sweeney; White (Hamilton 54), MacDonald, Bishop, Mellis, Benning; Maynard, Rose. Subs not used: Logan, Khan, Cook, Sterling-James, Gibbens, Smith, Clarke, Trialist.
FOREST: Smith, Richardson (Mighten HT), Spooner, Stewart (Walsh 65), Preston (Gallacher 65), Bridcutt, Clough (Barnes HT), Edser (Swan HT), Cummings (Taylor HT), Ariyibi (Gomis HT), Murphy (Fornah HT). Subs not used: Wright.
REFEREE: David Coote of Nottinghamshire.
ATTENDANCE: 3,202 (1,039 away). CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jacob Mellis.