All that glisters is gold at the Nou Windmill


A vibrant new kit, a rare glimpse of sunshine and some one-touch passing which would not have looked out of place at the Nou Camp.

There was plenty to admire as Brakes kicked off their 2012/13 campaign.

Until mid-way through the second half, there was little to choose between the Football League aspirants and Southern League part-timers.

With the luxury of being able to introduce a completely fresh XI at half-time, Mansfield finally underlined the two-division gulf.

But, even then it needed a penalty to decide the outcome, with Mike Green sending Nathan Vaughan the wrong way from the spot.

Joe Magunda, Dean Perrow and Lewis Powell all made their first home appearances in a side which showed four changes from the one which started at Sutton Coldfield.

Michael Tuohy, Jimmy Husband and Jimmy Deabill were relegated to the bench, with Matty Dodd missing out altogether.

Alex Taylor got his first start of pre-season, while Stephan Morley was given the chance to impress against the club where he spent a spell on trial last season.

Scott Wells, who has been training with Tamworth after a stint playing professionally in the US, was on the bench alongside fellow trialist Alex Gudger, who was at Nuneaton last season.

Taylor was involved in all Brakes’ best work and was unlucky to see a 12th-minute shot hit the trailing leg of a defender after excellent link-up play involving Lee Chilton on the left.

With Perrow and Powell combining intelligently, Brakes’ forward thrusts were unsettling their much-vaunted opponents, leading to a string of free-kicks.

Sam Adkins flashed a shot over, while at the other end Ben Hutchinson caused a rare anxious moment for Vaughan with a shot which grazed the angle.

James Hood thought he had opened the scoring just short of the half-hour mark, but the assistant referee’s flag was clearly up before the defender’s header hit the back of the net.

As the home side ended the half in the ascendancy, a Taylor half-volley brought a comfortable save from Redmond, while James Mace’s far-post header drifted agonisingly past the far post.

Galvanised by their 11 fresh faces, Mansfield offered the first glimpses of their quality early in the second period with a sequence of passes setting up a shot for Jamie Tolley which Vaughan spilled. The assistant linesman’s flag then spared the blushes of the player following up, who could only scoop the rebound over the bar.

The introduction of Richard Batchelor for Perrow added an extra edge to the proceedings with the combative midfielder, playing in a slightly advanced role, involved in a series of altercations with Stags defender Luke Jones.

Sam Adkins produced a neat chest down and volley to sting the palms of replacement keeper Alan Marriott, while Taylor failed to get good contact after the ball sat up for him on the edge of the box.

Mansfield came closest to opening the scoring in the 62nd minute when Green’s shot was deflected on to the post after Jamie Hand had been afforded too much time to pick out a pass.

Wells came on for Taylor with 20 minutes remaining while Gudger replaced Chilton, who after an impressive first 45 minutes, had found possession hard to come by after the break.

The momentum was firmly with the Conference Premier side, however, as Magunda and Adkins were pressed back by the far fresher visitors.

Chris Clements showed excellent technique with a 40-yard volley, but Vaughan was equal to it and the Brakes keeper had to be alert to race off his line after Green had got in behind the back two.

Green’s pace was clearly troubling the home defence and, after another through ball had split Liam Daly and Hood, he was scythed down by Daly inside the box.

The striker, who scored 30 goals for the Stags last season, showed he had lost none of his predatory instincts by stepping up to beat Vaughan from the spot.

Mansfield thought they had made it two seven minutes from time, but Andy Owen’s fine volley was deemed to have picked up a slight touch from an offside team-mate on the way into the top corner.

Not that it mattered much, with the scoreline playing second fiddle to an impressive home display.

The kit will fade and the rain has already returned with a vengeance, but as long as the passing football endures, Brakes fans have got plenty to be optimistic about ahead of the new campaign.

Brakes: Nathan Vaughan, James Mace, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda, Jamie Hood, Liam Daly, Alex Taylor (69 Scott Wells), Sam Adkins, Dean Perrow (54 Richard Batchelor), Lewis Powell (46 Jimmy Deabill), Lee Chilton (75 Alex Gudger). Subs not used: 12, Michael Tuohy, 14 Jimmy Husband.

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