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Rovers Development 1 Mansfield Town Reserves 5

18 September 2018

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Doncaster Rovers Development side were beaten at the Keepmoat Stadium in their second Central League North game of the season, despite taking the lead early on against a strong Mansfield Town side.

The Stags fielded a squad entirely made up of first team players, with nine of the side that started their game at the weekend in League Two either starting or on the bench. They were also led by first-team manager David Flitcroft.

But the young Rovers side took the lead just three minutes in, with Alfie Beestin making it two goals in as many games for John Schofield’s side.

Paul Taylor’s ball through was deflected by Lewis Gibbens into the path of Beestin who powerfully struck home into the far top corner, leaving Conrad Logan with no chance and putting Rovers into the lead.

Beestin almost doubled his and Rovers' tally just five minutes later, with Alex Kiwomya pulling the ball back for Beestin, however his curling effort was deflected just past the far post.

Ian Lawlor would do his best to keep Rovers ahead just short of the half-hour mark, twice denying Danny Rose in quick succession from close range.

Taylor then should have doubled Rovers lead himself five minutes later, as he received the ball through from Alfie May before rounding Logan.

Taylor cut back onto his right foot with Logan on the floor, but his shot was blocked superbly on the line by Matt Preston - and it would be a block that would prove to be crucial not long afterwards for his side.

Rose dispossessed Cody Prior of the ball 30 yards out from goal before darting down the right flank, pulling the ball back for Otis Khan who was in plenty of space in the Rovers’ box.

Khan kept his composure and fired low into the corner past Lawlor to bring the Stags level with seven minutes left in the half.

The Stags made five changes at the break, and their fresh legs after the interval paid dividends as they took the lead for the first time in the game, with substitutes Timi Elsnik and Callum Butcher combining for the latter to slot underneath Lawlor.

Elsnik would be involved in the Stags’ third goal as he threaded the ball through for Jordan Graham who ghosted through the Rovers defence before rounding Lawlor, leaving him with the simple task of slotting into the empty net to double the visitors’ lead.

Three minutes later the outcome of the game was left in no doubt as Butcher’s shot was parried into the path of Rose who was on the goal line and able to tap in for the Stags’ fourth.

Butcher almost made it five when he took aim from 25 yards out, only to see his curling effort bounce back off the crossbar, before Mal Benning missed the opportunity to extend the Stags’ lead further from the penalty spot.

CJ Hamilton was brought down in the area with Benning taking responsibility from 12 yards, however Lawlor got down to get a finger tip to the ball and push the ball onto the post.

Hamilton would make it five, however, with five minutes to go, with the forward playing a one-two with Benning before firing into the goal via the post to seal the Stags’ win.

Will Longbottom and Max Watters would have late chances to grab a goal back for Rovers, with Longbottom curling just wide and Watters seeing an effort saved by Logan, however it wasn’t to be for the young side and they will now look to get back to winning ways next Tuesday when they host Rotherham United.


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