Mansfield Town’s under-18s scored a late equaliser to earn a point away at Grimsby Town in their opening EFL Youth Alliance fixture.
There were goals at either end of the contest, with midfielder Curtis Davies cancelling out Grimsby’s early opener minutes from the final whistle.
The squad featured a mixed group of first and second-year scholars throughout the 16-man squad.
Mansfield started the game well with plenty of attacking intent, but it was the hosts who dealt the first blow.
Against the run of play in the early minutes of the game, Grimsby fired themselves into the lead in the sixth minute via a counter-attack down the Stags’ left-hand side.
The amber and blue maintained a good level of possession despite going a goal down, but chances were at a premium between the two sides.
A long ball over the top caused problems for the Mansfield defence, with Cody Collins needing to make a last-ditch block to keep the score at 1-0.
The hosts began to grow in stature as the first-half neared its close, and held a one-goal lead at the interval.
Mansfield’s young guns continued with their prolonged spells on possession in the second period, but looked to be more ruthless in the final third.
The first chance of the second-half came down the right-hand side, with Nathan Caine sliding an accurate pass towards Jonty Bouch. The midfielder skipped past his full-back with ease before crossing to Oliver Wilson, who saw his effort blocked five yards from goal.
The Stags continued to tighten their grip on proceedings, with Collins volleying just wide from Taylor Anderson’s free-kick delivery.
Despite looking the stronger of the two sides, Mansfield nearly conceded a second goal in the 88th minute.
From a free-kick situation around 30 yards from goal, a Grimsby man rattled Owen Mason’s crossbar.
Despite the late scare, the Stags would draw level late on.
Substitute McKeal Abdullah sent a floating cross into the area which caused a goalmouth scramble, with Davies able to profit fully from the close range chance.
Mansfield’s leveller was the last action of the season’s opening fixture, with both sides being made to settle for a point.
The Stags’ next fixture is against Scunthorpe United at home on Saturday 14 September.
STAGS' XI: Mason, Hill-Smith, Pitts (Bouch 45’), Collins, Anderson, Carter, Hill (Edwards 60’), Davies (C), Kruszynski (Hurdis 70’), Caine, Wilson (Abudallah 75’).
UNUSED SUB: Turner