The Burton Albion reserves started their Central League Cup campaign with a 4-0 defeat to a strong Mansfield Town side at St George’s Park.
A brace from Danny Rose, sandwiched between goals from Jacob Mellis and Mal Benning, gave Mansfield a win over a spirited young Brewers side.
Mansfield named an experience starting 11 which had more than 1,600 Football League appearances between them, with former Albion defender Zander Diamond commanding the backline for the Stags.
Comparatively, the most experienced member of Burton’s squad started on the bench. Club Captain Shaun Barker, who has more than 350 Football League appearances under his belt, came on for the final 10 minutes. First team goalkeeper Harry Campbell and first-year pro Jayden Cotterill both started the game.
Mansfield took an eighth minute lead when Jacob Mellis curled an effort from 25 yards-out past Campbell after a clever corner routine. Two minutes later, the Stags doubled their lead. Former Chelsea midfielder Mellis whipped in a free-kick from the right and Rose produced a bullet header to score his first goal of the day.
Campbell produced a brilliant save in the 18th minute to deny Rose after the striker was found in the box from a Mellis corner. Diamond also had an effort hacked away five minutes later.
Mellis and Rose again combined for the third goal. The midfielder once again saw a corner cause chaos in the Burton box and former Barnsley man Rose smashed home a volley to make it 3-0.
Rose twice went close to scoring his hat-trick in the final 10 minutes of the half. First, he headed wide from an Omari Sterling-James cross in the 37th minute. He then curled an effort just wide from the edge of the box five minutes before half-time.
HALF-TIME BURTON ALBION 0-3 MANSFIELD TOWN.
The Brewers posed much more of a threat in the second-half, with the introduction of Charlie Dowd causing Mansfield problems with his direct runs.
Burton applied a lot of pressure to the Mansfield defence in the early part of the second-half and forced a number of corners, but Olejnik commanded his box well.
Mellis went close for the visitors with a long-range effort that went just over, while Sterling-James forced a brilliant save out of Campbell with a curling effort from 25 yards.
Mansfield added their fourth goal with 20 minutes to go. Substitute Jimmy Spencer found Benning with a brilliant flick and the full-back slotted the ball past Campbell to complete the scoring.
Benning went close in the closing minutes of the game, with his volley from outside the box forcing Campbell into another great save.