Mansfield Town under-18s recorded back-to-back victories with a hard earned 3-2 win over Burton Albion at St George’s Park on Friday afternoon.
Shamar Lawson scored twice in the opening half to give Stags a narrow 2-1 lead at the break.
And despite substitute Mitchell White forcing home a second half equaliser, Rio Molyneaux netted his third goal in two matches to give the young guns all three points.
Stags’ ‘keeper Jamie Boyle was making his first start of the season and was forced into an early save, when he tipped Cael McDonnell’s third minute header over the bar.
Ben Mclean then created an opening for the hosts, as he drove through midfield and slipped in Tom Hewlett, but Nathan Saunders did well to snuff out the danger.
Despite the early Brewers pressure, it was the visitors who took the lead 11 minutes into the contest and it was a goal to savour.
The ball broke to Lawson 25-yards out and the creative midfielder surprised everyone - especially the goalkeeper - when he opted to shoot. His dipping effort looped over the helpless Nathan Smith to open the scoring.
Burton equalised 10 minutes later through Hewlett who - just like he did earlier in the game - combined with Mclean.
This time, the forward made no mistake as the finished calmly past Boyle to put the Staffordshire side on level terms.
The visitors responded strongly and went close again through Lawson who tried another audacious attempt from a similar distance. This time, he was unlucky to see his shot dip just over the bar.
On 34 minutes, it was the turn of Jack Holmes to attempt the spectacular. From 30 yards, he saw Boyle off his line, but his effort could only find the roof of the net.
Three minutes before half-time, Mansfield were gifted the chance to re-take the lead when Joshua Adams was shoved in the box by Tyo Carter.
Having already scored, Lawson confidentially dispatched his penalty to send Stags into the break ahead.
Ethan Hill was the next player to try his luck from distance after 52 minutes, as he forced Smith into a save with his powerful drive.
Lawson was inches away from his hat-trick two minutes later as he rose highest to meet Hill’s centre.
On 57 minutes, Boyle made another great save. This time, the Stags’ stopper beat away McDonnell’s powerful header after Said Idouarab had picked him up from a corner.
Shortly after, it was all square again as the two substitutes combined to equalise for Burton. Emmanuel Shitu’s persistence paid off as he dug out a cross which found its way to Mitchell White, who scored from close-range.
They weren’t on level-terms for long though as Molyneaux scored the winning goal four minutes later.
A searching ball from Tomlin found the winger with room in the box and his deflected effort beat Smith.
Only some last-ditch defending denied Molyneaux his second goal of the game. Hill and Lawson combined to good effect with a corner routine straight from the training ground. After ghosting his way past two defenders, Lawson found Molyneaux but his drive was blocked.
Jordan Armsden - who’d been instrumental at the heart of the Stags’ defence - then did well to thwart Shitu who was bearing down on goal.
The captain was there again to deny Richardson a shooting opportunity five minutes from time as Burton began to turn to screw.
The amber and blue had to stand tall during injury time as the home side went searching for an equaliser.
There would be no late heartbreak though, as they dealt with the pressure comfortably to secure the victory.
STAGS XI: Boyle, King, Sketchley, Tomlin, Armsden, Saunders, Ingram, Hill (Fisher 87’), Scott (Jones 70’), Lawson (Bayliss 81’), Adams (Molyneaux 61’).
UNUSED SUBS: Philips.
BURTON XI: Smith, Idouarab, Redfern, Carter, Lal, McDonnell, Holmes, McLean, Hewlett, Nyirenda, Richardson.
SUBS: Shittu, Sharman-Lowe, Hickden, Radcliffe, White