Mansfield Town under-18s battled for a 1-1 draw away at Rotherham United in difficult conditions on Friday morning.
Forward Diego Edwards netted his second goal in as many matches to earn the Stags a point in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
Friday morning’s result sees the Stags remain ninth in the table, but the amber and blue do hold games in hand on the teams around them.
Under-18s coach Mike Whitlow described the ‘character’ his side showed to secure a point on the road on a difficult playing surface.
“I think today was back to the nitty gritty, determination, desire and not making mistakes in our own final third.
“We played on a rugby pitch that I think made things very difficult for us to play.
“Our back four were resilient throughout and it was lovely to see young Diego [Edwards] scoring a goal. We had four under-16s in the side too, which was great.
“They showed character at Bugbrooke [in the FA Youth Cup], and they’ve gone out there again and shown that character on a heavy pitch.
“Pitches and conditions are sometimes going to determine what you learn from a game, what you will take away from a game, and that was definitely the case against Rotherham.
“We learned a lot today against a team that are physically a lot stronger, as in age wise and size.
“It was about who went into today’s game, after the Bugbrooke game, and shown the same character and determination in their defending, in their hard work and in dealing with difficult conditions.
“As young players, it’s not always going to be playing on carpet-like pitches. The last two games have shown that these boys have got character to do the nitty gritty and put in the hard yards. They can put in a battle as well as playing football.”
Whitlow also looked ahead to Monday night’s FA Youth Cup match away at Burton Albion, after the Stags saw off Bugbrooke St. Michaels by a 3-0 scoreline in the First Round.
“All we can ask, and we keep saying this to the boys, and we’ve said it for a while now, is that it’s an opportunity to go and do the very best they can and perform on a stage like the Pirelli Stadium.
“They just need to go out there and play as well as they can, to give themselves the best opportunity at winning a game of football.”
STAGS’ XI: Mason, Hill-Smith, Collins (Wauchope 75’), Pitts, Cooper, Tomlin, Hurdis (Flanagan 75’), Sketchley, Lawson (Carter 65’), Reynolds, Edwards (Abdullah 80’).
UNUSED SUBS: Campbell.