A few thoughts from Saturday:
Logan - Solid.
Benning - Excellent again. My player of the first half.
Digby - Started well but midfield was over run. Not sure I like the tactic of having up front from goal kicks. We were caught with just Mellis trying to hold midfield a couple of times that way.
Mellis - Started slowly but looked better as the half went on. Good on the ball. A straight shoot out between him and Byrom.
Angol - A few nice touches outside of the box but didn't really threaten.
Anderson - A disappointment for me. Some nice dead balls into the box but pretty anonymous out on the right and left White exposed a few times.
Taft - Some decent last ditch blocks but was caught out of posistion a few times.
Spencer - Some decent build up work, had a couple of chances but never really looked like scoring.
White - Out of sorts and made some really poor decisions.
Mirfin (C) - Another slight disappointment. Wasn't as commanding as I thought he would be. A few list ditch tackles made up for minor mistakes in positioning. He and Taft probably are probably a bit too similar to play together.
Hamilton - Good. Positive and made better decisions.
Of course its only 45 minutes and players will get sharper. But I do only really see Logan, the full backs, Digby and Angol making the first team regularly. Arguably Hamilton should be given a spot given his sharpness and link up with Benning, but playing out and out wingers in the first half left midfield wide open. We were much better second half with Byrom sitting and the energy of Digby and Atkinson to cover and go forward.
Olejnik, - A few decent saves. Purely based on 2 x 45 mins, I would say Logan has the first team spot.
Bennett, - Moved out to right back again. On first showings, I would have him ahead of Mirfin and Taft at centre back. If White continues that form into the season he could be first choice RB.
Digby - Better second half as midfield looked more assured playing three across the middle.
Pearce - Looks trim and raring to go. Excellent for the majority. Best defender on the ball. But yet another brain freeze saw him caught in possession again. Those mistakes may cost him his place.
Diamond (C) - Does things nice and easy. Its a three way fight between Pearce, Mirfin and Taft to partner him.
Atkinson - A few mistakes on the ball but seems to have good energy to get up and down.
Potter - Busy and sharp. floating roll. Could be a surprise starter on that showing.
Hunt - Excellent. Two left backs get my two Man of the Halves. Mistake for their goal but was put under pressure by a shocking pass from the Trialist. Shame he wont get much game time.
Sterling-James - Good. Positive and busy. Will be a handful coming off the bench. Could work well with Spencer.
Byrom - Picked up where he left off. Comfortable on the ball. Held the midfield well. Always available. Starts ahead of Mellis for me. More discipline and awareness.
Rose - Started well. Put a goal on a plate for the trialist. Like to see him with Angol.
Thomas - Did he touch the ball?
Trialist - Competition winner?
Still not convinced we've sorted the striking position out yet. Sterling James was lively and the others were okay. No change from when he first came in. We still need a goalscorer.
Based on the two 45 minutes, I see the starters as:
LB - Benning
RB - White (with Bennett pushing)
CB - Diamond (C)
CB - Pearce
CM - Byrom
CM - Digby
CM - Atkinson
AM - Potter / Sterling James / McDonald
ST - Angol
ST - Rose
My worry with having a big squad like this is that Evans will chop and change too often. He had a big dip towards the middle of his tenure when he started chopping and changing a winning team to get his players in.
The Stags are for life, not just for cup finals. (or Liverpool).