Matlock Town too strong for Mansfield Town U21's
Three first half goals set up a comfortable Matlock 3-1 victory before a scrappy second half followed with Mansfield Town managing a very late consolation effort.
Shaun Harrad, signed after the game but down as a trialist at number nine on the teamsheet, scored twice with Jake Green adding the third.
After another trialist, supporting the attack from his full back position, dragged a shot wide after being set up by Marc Newsham, Matlock went ahead in the 4th minute when Harrad calmly stroked a low strike past goalkeeper Sam Wilson following excellent build-up play.
Blake drove wide for the visitors following a moment’s indecision in the home defence but the hosts would dominate the opening half.
Green had an effort disallowed for offside in the 17th minute and Wilson did well to advance off his line and block a Newsham shot soon afterwards.
But Harrad doubled his tally and Matlock’s from the penalty spot on 26 minutes when a Stags defender handled a powerful Harrad shot on the line. The penalty was struck ferociously home.
Green, operating down the left flank with Rory Coleman slotting in behind him, was a constant threat and he breezed past covering defenders to cross low for Newsham who was again thwarted by Wilson from point blank range.
But Green found the target a minute before half time when his twenty five yard free kick took a deflection to leave Wilson helpless.
The usual procession of substitutes took place from the interval and throughout the second period. Blake scuffed a tame attempt at Jordan Pierrpont in the 60th minute as Matlock’s performance lost some of its intensity.
Kane Baldwin’s fine challenge on Luis Rose at the expense of a corner prevented a possible fourth Matlock goal, the flag kick dropping to Nico de Girolamo who miskicked with the goal at his mercy.
Wilson pulled off a decent save from Michael Williams before in a late rally Blake tucked a shot under Pierrpont with only a minute left.
The main talking point would come afterwards with 32 years old Harrad signing on the dotted line, a welcome boost to the Gladiators attack.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jordan Pierrpont 2 Trialist, 3 Rory Coleman (Trialist 65), 4 Joe Doyle-Charles, 5 Trialist (Max Hunt 46) 6 Dwayne Wiley (Nico De Girolamo 61) 7 Luis Rose 8 Callum Lloyd (Cleveland Taylor 46) 9 Shaun Harrad (Trialist 52) 10 Marc Newsham (Ben Edgson 65) 11 Jake Green (Michael Williams 46)
MANSFIELD TOWN 1 Sam Wilson 2 Teddy Bloor 3 Henri Wilder 4 Lewis Collins 5 Kane Baldwin 6 Bradley McDonald 7 Zayn Haseem 8 Cameron Hefley 9 Tyler Blake 10 Adriel Geoige 11 Jason Law Subs-all used—Alistair Smith , Keiran Harrison, Tom Scone, Jordan Graham, Jurelle Phillips, Nyle Blake
REFEREE: Richard Eley (Derby).