MANSFIELD 2-2 MIDDLESBROUGH
Mansfield Town 2 - 2 Middlesbrough
Howson OG 13, Angol 18. Soisalo 19, Fry 28.
Attendance: 1931 (419 from Middlesbrough)
Date: 19 July 2017
STAGS IMPRESS HUGELY AGAINST MIDDLESBROUGH
Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town put in a hugely encouraging performance to draw 2-2 with Middlesbrough, a team who were in the Premier League last season, at the One Call Stadium this evening. The Stags raced into a two goal lead. First on 13 minutes, Joel Byrom’s free kick from the right was knocked back into the middle by Mal Benning and Boro midfielder Johnny Howsen shanked an attempted clearance into his own net. Then 5 minutes later, Paul Digby, who continues to impress in midfield, played a great ball forward which Lee Angol ran onto and stroked a confident finish past keeper Konstantopolous. However Boro were back in the game just a minute later when the excellent Mikael Soisalo powered past Mal Benning down the right and thundered a shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle. And on 28 minutes, Boro were level, with a disappointing goal for the Stags to concede as Gaston Ramirez’s free kick from the left was headed in from 6 yards by Dael Fry, who rose above George Taft. Disappointing for Taft, with competition for a place in that starting XI against Crewe so intense among the central defenders. That was the end of the scoring on the night, but plenty of entertainment for the 1900 crowd. The Stags looked comfortable on the ball all night, despite the quality of the opposition. Plenty of players pushed their case forward to play in that game against Crewe. Bobby Olejnik had a good game in goal with a couple of good saves, including one perfectly timed dive at the feet of a striker, and it was great to see him come for, and catch, a high cross. Hayden White had another excellent game, with some timely interceptions, and three great runs forward. Mal Benning had a good game, despite being given the run around by Soisala on a couple of occasions including for the goal. In midfield, Paul Digby particularly impressed. Joel Byrom played well, and put in some good tackles. Up front Lee Angol scored a good goal and led the line well, while Omari Sterling-James showed some real promise and excited the crowd. Alex Baptiste played for Middlesbrough and got a rousing reception when he was subbed.
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Report: Mansfield Town 2 Boro 2
mfc.co.uk, Wed 19 Jul 2017
It was honours even at Field Mill in our third pre-season friendly tonight.
For the first of two friendlies in four days Garry Monk named a strong starting line-up with four of a six-man subs’ bench having played for our Under-23s at Shildon last night, Lewis Wing scoring twice in a 3-0 win.
The Stags cut out much of the early running, pushing Boro back into numbers behind the ball and limiting forward movement.
Dimi Konstantopoulos had already made two saves by the time Patrick Bamford cracked a volley on target, forcing Bobby Olejnik into action.
The opening goal came on 13 minutes when left-back Mal Benning delivered a cross deep into the penalty area and Jonny Howson sliced into his own net - 13 certainly unlucky for him.
Steve Evan’s side, lively, made it two just five minutes later when Paul Anderson threaded a pass between Alex Baptiste and Dael Fry, centre-backs, and Lee Angol tucked home a low shot.
In between the goals Boro had almost drawn level when Fry powered in a header from a Gaston Ramirez corner and Anderson cleared off the line.
A minute after Town’s second goal Boro pulled one back as young Finn Mikael Soisalo, coming in off the right, cracked a low shot past Olejnik from a tight angle deep inside the penalty area.
With 28 minutes played Boro were level as Dael Fry rose to meet a Ramirez free-kick delivered from the left and powered home a header from close range.
Olejnik was quickly back in action, making two smart stops as Soisalo again cut in from the right, this time firing over low crosses.
Enes Mahmutovic, on for George Friend, was the only change for the start of the second half, the Luxembourg international slotting in at centre-half with Baptiste moving to left-back.
Baptiste received warm applause from the Mansfield fans when he was replaced midway through the second half, the home faithful clearly remembering his service early in his career when he made over 170 appearances for the club.
Harry Chapman, who played the first half at Shildon last night, was his replacement, with another on duty at Dean Street, George Miller, sent on for Ramirez with just over a quarter-of-an-hour remaining.
Adam Forshaw dropped to a higher than orthodox left-back when needed for cover.
The closest either side went to scoring was when Omari Sterling-James fired just over from the left-hand edge of the penalty area and a low shot on the turn from Bamford in the dying embers of the game.
These games are predominantly for fitness and experimentation and that will continue at Spotland on Saturday for the fourth pre-season friendly with Rochdale the opposition when those not involved in this game likely to figure.
Scorers Howson og 13, Angol 18, Soisalo 19, Fry 28
Mansfield Olejnik; Benning, Digby (Thomas 85), Diamond (Capt.), Angol, Anderson, Atkinson, Taft, White, Sterling-James (Slew 71), Byrom (Collins 87). Subs Logan (gk); Bennett, Pearce, Mellis, Spencer, Potter, Hunt, Hamilton, Rose.
Boro Konstantopoulos; Christie (Chapman 64), Baptiste, Fry, Friend (Mahmutovic 46), Soisalo, Forshaw, Howson, Leadbitter (Capt.), Ramirez (Miller 74), Bamford. Subs James (gk); Hegarty, Wing.
Referee Ross Joyce
Attendance 1,931 (419 Boro)
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