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Youth report: York 1-1 Stags

PUBLISHED

15:13 19th April 2017

by Ciaran Lavender

Our youngsters' title celebrations were put on hold as they were held to a draw against a stubborn York City side this afternoon.

John Dempster's young guns had to come from behind and also squandered a couple chances to win the game - but  still remain clear favourites to lift the EFL Youth Alliance winners' trophy.

Nyle Blake climbed off the bench at half-time to smash home a superb volley, cancelling out York's opener in the 35th minute.

A draw was a fair result in an evenly-matched contest which neither side were able to dominate large spells.

Mansfield will perhaps consider themselves to be unlucky to have gone into the break a goal down as the ball fortuitously ricocheted off of Kain Baldwin’s shin and into the net for an own goal.

The Stags came out an improved outfit in the second half and made several good chances to get back into the game.

The league leaders will be disappointed that they didn’t convert any more chances but know that they just need to a positive result in their next game, at home to Burton Albion, to make certain of the title.

Mansfield made an impressive start to the game when Kieran Harrison darted into the box from a corner and headed just wide of the post as York lost track of the Stags' youngster. 

Our title-chasers made their mark on the match in the early stages, pinning York well into their own half and were unlucky not to take the lead when another cross into the box caused havoc, only for Keaton Ward to head against the crossbar.

In their first venture forward York came very close to opening the scoring as captain Aaron Brettell found himself unmarked in the box to slot the ball past the keeper but was denied a goal by a fantastic block on the line by Harrison.

York grew into the game and Flynn McNaughton made a dangerous run into space down the right-hand side to fizz a low cross past the goal mouth, with Aaron Haswell, in close proximity, unable to make a vital connection

Both teams started to cancel each other out with most of the play being dominated by a battle in midfield. Mansfield did manage to break forward however, as Zayn Hakeem ran free but could only fire straight at the York goalkeeper.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 35th minute when a teasing free kick was lifted into the Mansfield box which Josh Rogerson met, thundering a header against the post. Unfortunately for the Stags the ball bounced off the woodwork, hitting Baldwin’s shins and into his own net.

Knowing that they needed to improve their performance in the second half Mansfield came out brightly searching for the goal that would get them back into the game. Henri Wilder had the first chance of the half, blasting a cracking volley just wide of the post after he did well to find space for a shot.

In the 63rd minute, Mansfield found the break they had been looking for as substitute Nyle Blake made a good run into the box and cleverly hit a volley in off the crossbar to level for the Stags. 

Mansfield could have taken the lead moments after their equaliser as Hakeem was played in one-on-one but couldn’t put the chance away as Ryan Whitley, the York goalkeeper, tipped the ball wide for a corner.

York had a golden opportunity to win the game with five minutes to go as Mansfield were caught sleeping and McNaughton broke into the box but saw his shot spectacularly saved by Wilson.

However, neither side could find the quality to score the winner.

The Stags' title celebrations are now on hold as they were unable to collect the three points which would have secured them the league crown.

Mansfield have increased their lead at the top of the table to eight points, however, and will be looking forward to Saturday's match at home to Burton Albion, where they will be confident that the league title can be secured for a second consecutive season following a magnificent campaign thus far for the youngsters.

STAGS: Wilson, Bloor, Wilder, Ward, Baldwin, Harrison, Healey, Smith, Reittie (N. Blake H/T), Hakeem, Law (Ratcliffe H/T)

UNUSED SUBS: Sunby, Morgan, Dumbleton

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