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Doncaster Rovers U23s 1 Mansfield Town U23s 5: Heavy defeat against strong Stags side  

Alfie Beestin netted for Doncaster Rovers U23s for the second consecutive league game
Alfie Beestin netted for Doncaster Rovers U23s for the second consecutive league game

Rovers’ U23s were swept aside by a strong Mansfield Town outfit in a 5-1 defeat at the Keepmoat.

Six of those starting for the Stags also started for their senior side in their weekend defeat to Exeter City in League Two, as did three of those they brought off the bench in the second half.

Rovers also started with plenty of senior players all aiming to put themselves in first team contention. 

It had started brightly for Rovers with Alfie Beestin giving them the lead just three minutes in. The ball sat up nicely after being tossed around the box and the young forward drilled into the far corner from on the angle.

Rovers were bright and energetic in the early stages, demonstrating some fine passing play and flooding men forward.

But experienced Mansfield began to get a grip on the game as the midpoint of the half approach.

Jordan Graham volleyed narrowly over from Hayden White's superb cross as the visitors threatened.

Paul Taylor should have doubled Rovers’ tally on the half hour but Mansfield keeper Conrad Logan got just enough on the ball as the forward attempted to round him to take it wide.

Mansfield’s pressure finally told on 36 minutes when Otis Khan finished smartly from close range.

The Stags went ahead early in the second half when substitute pairing Timi Elsnik and Callum Butcher combined for the latter to drill a shot under Ian Lawlor.

Rovers were almost level moments later. Alex Kiwomya superbly touched on a ball forward from Beestin to send Alfie May clear but Logan charged down his shot well.

Jermaine Anderson also drew a decent save from Logan with a shot from the edge of the box.

But Mansfield gave themselves a cushion 20 minutes from time ​​​​​​when Jordan Graham latched onto Omari Sterling-James’ through ball, rounded Lawlor and slotted into an empty net.

As Rovers’ heads dropped, the floodgates opened and Danny Rose tapped in from close range three minutes later after Lawlor parried a strike from Butcher.

Mansfield were then awarded a penalty when Branden Horton dragged down CJ Hamilton only for Lawlor to touch Mal Benning’s spot kick onto the post.

The Stags did find time for a fifth in the dying moments when Benning found Hamilton to slot in.

Rovers: Lawlor; Lund, T Anderson, Horton, Amos (Foulkes 68); Beestin, Prior, J Anderson; Kiwomya (Longbottom 60), May (Watters (60), Taylor. Subs not used: Fletcher, James.

Mansfield: Logan, White, Benning, Gibbens, Pearce, Preston, Bishop, MacDonald, Khan, Rose, Graham. Subs: Sterling-James, Butcher, Sweeney, Hamilton, Elsnik.

Referee: Gareth Myers.