Sheffield Wednesday match report: Mansfield Town 2 Owls 1

Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.'Cameron Dawson looks bemused as CJ Hamilton's ball lies in the back of the net from the right hand corner flag.
Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.'Cameron Dawson looks bemused as CJ Hamilton's ball lies in the back of the net from the right hand corner flag.
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There is definitely work for Wednesday chief Jos Luhukay to do on the training ground.

With just over a week to go until the start of the new Championship season, the Owls produced an alarming, disjointed performance against a hard-working Mansfield Town outfit.

Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.'Alex McDonald turns peace maker after trouble erupted at the end of the friendly game.'Sam Hutchinson in the thick of things at Mansfield

Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.'Alex McDonald turns peace maker after trouble erupted at the end of the friendly game.'Sam Hutchinson in the thick of things at Mansfield

There looked anything but two divisions separating the two teams as the Stags edged a bad-tempered friendly.

A smart finish by Mal Benning and an own goal from Adam Reach did the damage. Reach pulled one back but in truth Wednesday were second best for long periods.

There were ugly scenes at the end as tempers flared between both teams.

Luhukay has used the depth of his squad throughout their pre-season programme and the likes of Joe Wildsmith, Ash Baker, Maco Matias, Almen Abdi, David Jones, Steve Fletcher and George Boyd featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Bradford City on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday slipped to a 3-0 defeat, with Fletcher playing the first half as he continues his comeback from injury.

Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.'Alex McDonald chases down Fernando Forestieri at mansfield

Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.'Alex McDonald chases down Fernando Forestieri at mansfield

For the Owls' second public workout at Mansfield, there were plenty of first-teamers on show. Cameron Dawson lined up in goal, Tom Lees, Joost van Aken and Morgan Fox made up the three-man defence, Liam Palmer and Adam Reach were deployed in the wing-back positions, Barry Bannan, Joey Pelupessy and Sam Hutchinson started in midfield while Atdhe Nuhiu partnered Fernando Forestieri up front.

Although Gary Hooper is back in the country, having received treatment on his long-standing hip problem in Spain last weekend, he was not considered for either fixture. The striker, who has not made a competitive appearance since last December, is expected to rejoin full training later this week.

It was Wednesday who monopolised possession and territory in the early stages. They created the first chance of note. Palmer seized on a lousy headed clearance from Benning but he fired a tame right foot drive straight into the artms of former Rotherham United man Conrad Logan.

There was a good tempo and intensity to the Owls' play as Mansfield, who narrowly missed out on a League Two play-off spot last season, struggled to get the ball off them.

Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.'Wednesday's Barry Bannan and Neal Bishop.'Barry Bannan at Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wedneday AS 18

Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday.'Wednesday's Barry Bannan and Neal Bishop.'Barry Bannan at Mansfield Town v Sheffield Wedneday AS 18

Atdhe Nuhiu wasted a glorious opportunity to put Wednesday ahead in the eighth minute. The Kosovo international pounced on a loose pass from Neal Bishop only to curl a rasping left foot shot high over the top from just outside the penalty area.

It took an inch perfect challenge from Matt Preston to prevent Nuhiu from forcing Logan into action midway through the half following a cushioned header down by Palmer at the back post as the visitors continued to press for the opener.

But Mansfield improved as the half wore on and CJ Hamilton was a real lively presence down their right flank. He beat the Owls' offside trap, latching on to a superb through ball by Benning only for Morgan Fox to produce an immaculate sliding tackle to block his low effort.

Moments later, Cameron Dawson spared Nuhiu's blushes. The academy graduate pulled off an outstanding reflex stop to turn away Nuhiu's bullet header from Otis Khan's centre.

Hamilton continued to cause Wednesday's backline a lot of trouble with his pace and direct style of play. He darted past Fox, burst into the penalty area but was thwarted by the covering van Aken.

Shortly after Hutchinson fizzed over a long range shot, Benning gave Mansfield a 41st minute. His fierce left foot strike went in off the post and was no more than the Stags deserved following a great spell of pressure.

The Owls lost their way after a bright start. Too often they put themselves under pressure by trying to be too clever or intricate on the ball. Some credit, though, should go to Mansfield for hunting in packs and forcing them into mistakes.

Nonetheless, Nuhiu should have levelled things up three minutes after the break. Forestieri's exquisite pass from deep freed Palmer down the right and he squared to Nuhiu, who somehow rattled the crossbar with the goal at his mercy. It was by far and away Wednesday's best attacking move.

Nuhiu tried to take the attack to Mansfield. His 22 yard attempt was comfortably saved by Logan.

Slightly against the run of play, the Stags doubled their advantage in the 67th minute as Reach diverted Hamilton's cross past the helpess Dawson.

Mansfield fans taunted the 1,500 plus Wednesday travelling contingent, chanting 'Championship, you're having a laugh'.

This was no laughing matter for the Owls.

Mansfield's second sparked the visitors into life and Reach reduced the deficit in the 73rd minute with a peach of a strike. His rasping right foot volley flew into Logan's top right hand corner.

Forestieri had a strong penalty claim waved away after a clumsy-looking challenge by Hamilton but Mansfield were not to be denied

Mansfield: Logan; White, Preston (Gibbens 56), Pearce; CJ Hamilton, Bishop, Mellis (Sterling-James 80), MacDonald (Butcher 80), Benning; Khan (Graham 80), Walker. Substitutes: Olejnki, Atkinson, Digby, Angol.

Owls: Dawson; van Aken, Lees, Fox; Palmer, Bannan, Pelupessy, Hutchinson, Reach; Nuhiu, Forestieri. Substitutes: Wallis, Jack Lee, Hunt, Penney, Preston, Kirby, Stobbs.

Attendance: 3,599 (1,517).