Despite a positive performance, Mansfield Town under-18s were beaten 3-2 by league leaders Scunthorpe United on Saturday morning.
Two quickfire second-half goals from Jonty Bouch and Max Hurdis cancelled out the Iron’s opener before the visitors responded a pair of their own late on to edge the game.
Under-18s coach Mike Whitlow was looking for a response from last weekend’s display against Notts County, and his players looked to deliver it from the off.
The youngsters began on the front foot, pressing the opposition’s backline and carving out a number of half-chances in the opening stages.
Diego Edwards and Ethan Hill were both presented with openings created down the left and right flanks respectively but could not apply the finishing touch.
The pressure that they applied forced numerous corners in the first 20 minutes.
On four separate occasions, Shamar Lawson found himself standing adjacent to the flag, but his dangerous deliveries could not quite be capitalised on.
The visitors’ first real opening also came from a set-piece, but Jack Moore-Billam lashed his effort wide at the back post.
The Scunthorpe chance came against the run of play, which the Stags looked to underline at the other end through further chances.
Lawson forced a save down low from Scunthorpe goalkeeper Jake Balme before Hill looked to go one better, after some strong hold-up play from Ollie Wilson, but was thwarted.
Despite Mansfield's dominance, five minutes before the break, it was the Iron who found the breakthrough from a rare foray forwards.
Harrison Poulter took full advantage of some indecision at the back to round Owen Mason and lifted the ball over the onrushing defenders into the goal.
That sucker-punch did not deter the youngsters in the second-half, far from it.
Before the hour mark, Lawson again created an opening for himself to get off a shot that stung the palms of Balme and Hurdis did similar to force a corner down the right-hand side.
From that same side, Taylor Anderson floated in a free-kick which was inadvertently flicked on to substitute Colt Reynolds whose point-blank header was turned behind.
The resulting corner taken by Lawson found another head - this time of captain George Cooper - but the defender would see his effort denied by the post.
However, Jonty Bouch ensured the header was not in vain as the midfielder reacted first, peeling off of his marker to acrobatically find an equaliser.
This was no less than the Stags deserved across the contest, which was reflected on the scoresheet within 60 seconds.
The youngsters pushed forwards once again from the kick-off, winning the ball back and releasing Hurdis in behind who took his shot early which caught the ‘keeper Balme palming at thin air as his strike whistled past him.
A second concession stirred the Iron into action and after a ball into the box could not be cleared, Tyrell Sellers-Fleming swivelled to slide an effort in off the post.
With the scores levelled once more, both sides had opportunities in the final 15 minutes.
Hurdis forced a save from Balme after firing a shot through the legs of a closing defender, and the Iron responded when Cam Wilson’s dangerous free-kick flicked off the Stags' wall.
A set-piece of a different variety conjured the winner for the visitors when a looping corner found Oliver Lobley at the far post who converted from close range.
Harry Lewis almost compounded matters in added time but Mason thrust out an arm to turn it behind and keep the embers of a result alive.
The Stags do not have the wait long for an opportunity to dispel their disappointment, as Tuesday sees them travel down the A60 to face Notts County as they look to reclaim the Matt Salmon trophy and return to winning ways.
STAGS XI: Mason, Anderson, Wauchope, Hill-Smith, Cooper, Bouch (Abdullah 75’), Hill, Lawson, Wilson (Collins 82’), Edwards (Reynolds 63’), Hurdis
UNUSED SUBS: Campbell, Pitts