Dynamo 2 - 3 Mansfield Town
Dynamo’s pre-season campaign came to a close with a highly entertaining game against Mansfield Town’s talented U23 team at Nanpantan Sports Ground on Saturday.
A late winner from Mansfield striker Jordon Graham eventually settled a contest full of high quality attacking play, but little in the way of defensive solidity.
After kick off was delayed due to torrential rain, the away side started the game brightly, with Dynamo goalkeeper Scott Wardley called into action several times in the opening stages.
Despite some bright play of their own, particularly from wingers Eddie Antonio and Luke Smithson, Dynamo went behind on the half hour mark.
Diminutive striker Lewis Collins, who had been giving stand-in left back Tom Rigby a torrid afternoon, beat his man again, and although his shot was well blocked, the loose ball was worked to the back post where left winger Louis Bennett was left unmarked to finish into the empty net.
The goal only served to inspire the home side, who pushed forward in search of an equaliser as the half wore on.
Following several near misses, Dynamo’s best chance of the half came in the 41st minute. A long-ball was well controlled by Luke Thorogood, whose shot was palmed away by Mansfield goalkeeper Sam Wilson as far as Luke Smithson, who could only hit the rebound against the post.
Following an early second-half chance for Mansfield, Dynamo manager Peter Ward made three attacking changes, bringing on Jack Bewley, Sam Thorpe and Karl Demidh.
The substitutions paid dividends within two minutes as Demidh, stole the ball on the half-way line before bursting forward and playing a perfectly weighted through ball behind the Mansfield defence. Fellow sub Sam Thorpe timed his run well, before keeping his composure to make it 1-1.
Dynamo were level for less than two minutes. Mansfield won a free-kick 30 yards out from an innocuous looking challenge, and striker Jordan Graham struck an unstoppable shot past substitute goalkeeper Charlie Taylor into the top corner of the net to hand the advantage back to the away side.
Two minutes later Roger Lee was lucky not to have been sent off for an appalling two-footed challenge, and was quickly substituted for Josh Riley.
The change helped give Dynamo a better balance, with Tom Rigby looking far more comfortable now playing in his usual right-back position.
The home-side got their equaliser in the 60 minute, following a quick counter attack. A long ball forward found Smithson, who controlled well with his head and found Demidh. The striker forced a good save from goalkeeper Wilson, but the rebound fell to Paolo Piliero who fished well for his second goal in two games.
Mansfield responded and should have quickly re-taken the lead, first when Graham’s long range effort crashed off the cross bar, and then in the 78th minute when the referee inexplicably failed to give a penalty after a badly timed challenge from Ash Hodgkinson brought down Collins in the area.
However, after more missed chances for both sides and the game seemingly heading for a draw, Graham got his second goal of the game with a well taken strike in the 87th minute to secure the win.
Dynamo now have a week to prepare for the first league game of the season, when the club will welcome Bedworth United to the NSG for a 3pm kick off on Saturday 12 August.