WATKISS REACTION TO ALAVES GAME
Stags 0 Alaves 3
Deportivo Alaves left Field Mill with a 3-0 success under their belts tonight.
But it was no Spanish stroll for the La Liga giants who, despite oozing quality in every department, still had to work hard to overcome Stags' enthusiasm in a highly competitive friendly.
Indeed, it took two second half defensive lapses for the Spaniards to finally kill the game off.
As expected, Stags were left chasing shadows in the early stages and trailed to Ruben Navarro's third minute strike, heading home Delfi Geli Roura's cross.
Kevin Pilkington, who turned in a commanding performance, pulled off two excellent first half saves, tipping over Jordi Cruyff's blast and denying Navarro with a close range reaction save.
But Mansfield grew in confidence and Craig Disley and Lee Williamson had shots blocked, Colin Larkin dipped one just over and Williamson was halted by a great Ochoa tackle.
It was top class entertainment for the crowd who gave both sides an appreciative hand at the break.
Wayne Corden took over from the outstanding Scott Sellars at half time.
The Spaniards extended their lead on 52 minutes when Cruyff robbed Stuart Reddington in the Mansfield box and set up Navarro for a powerful low finish.
Disley saw a fine 20-yard lob come back off the post and Corden forced a save from a free kick.
But it was all over on 77 minutes when slack marking from a corner saw Norwegian international Dann Eggen allowed to nip unchallenged to head home from close range at the near post.
Neil Moore sent a free header wide and Williamson volleyed into the side-netting as Stags looked for a consolation.
But Pilkington had the final say as his legs stopped Edu Alonso adding a fourth after springing the offside trap to go cleart.
Stags boss Stuart Watkiss used the game to try three at the back with new boy Neil MacKenzie just in front of them which looked good on the night.
"It was a great work out and if my players have learned one thing tonight from such quality players then it will have been a great experience," he said.
"I thought Forest were outstanding when they came here but Alaves took it to another level tonight.
"I wasn't happy with our defending for the goals but I did give the lads licence to play the ball around at the back and if anything overplay it. They won't be doing that on Saturday!"
Latest | August 2002