Mansfield Town’s under-18s recorded a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Lincoln City away from home on Saturday morning.
The squad featured one under-16 in the starting XI, an under-16 on the bench, along with two under-15 players amongst the substitutes.
An early goal from Diego Edwards was soon followed by a Jack Deakin effort in the first-half to secure all three points on the road.
Lincoln dominated possession early on, but failed to muster any opportunities, despite their prolonged spell on the ball.
It was the Stags who found the game’s opening goal after ten minutes, despite their hosts’ positive start.
The move began with Deakin down the right-hand side, who provided Curtis Davies with a shooting opportunity. His deflected effort fell into the path of Edwards, who supplied a calm finish to open the scoring.
Before long, the young guns had doubled their lead. Charlie Carter was able to intercept a pass, rolling the ball into the path of Deakin to create a one-versus-one opportunity with the Lincoln goalkeeper.
Deakin fired home into the bottom left-hand corner, and the Stags had a two-goal cushion inside 20 minutes.
Lincoln looked to offer a response by playing a wonderful through ball down the Stags’ left channel, but George Cooper raced back to make a vital sliding challenge.
On the stroke of half-time, the Imps crafted their best opportunity of the half via intricate, one-touch passing. A free-flowing move presented a run at Owen Mason’s goal, but the Stags’ goalkeeper remained firm and made a good save.
Into the second-half, and the home side continued their search for a way back into the game. A direct ball over the top found the Lincoln striker, but Freddie Pitts was positioned well to make a block.
Lincoln continued to pile on the pressure as time elapsed in the second period, this time with a free-kick 20 yards from goal. The shot was driven at pace, but the Mansfield wall stood firm and blocked the effort.
The Imps continued to throw men forward towards the closing stages, but resolute defending saw the Stags earn three points and a clean sheet away from home.
The Stags’ next fixture is away at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday 01 May.
STAGS' XI: Mason, Bouch, Hill-Smith, Pitts, Wauchope, Carter, Hill, Davies (Reynolds, 45), Hurdis (Kruszynski, 90), Edwards (Annesley-Johnson, 64) & Deakin.
Turner & Kokkinos