Mansfield Town’s under-18s started their 2021/22 EFL Youth Alliance Cup campaign away at Oldham Athletic on Saturday, drawing 1-1 in their opening fixture.
A Diego Edwards goal midway through the first-half saw the young Stags lead at the break, but the Latics found a response from the penalty spot with 20 minutes remaining.
The hosts started the better of the two sides, creating the game’s first big chance on 22 minutes.
A pinpoint diagonal pass was headed back across goal in the Stags’ box, but Louie Turner saved well down to his left from the resulting volley.
Despite Oldham’s strong start, it would be the Stags who would find the opener through Edwards on 28 minutes.
The striker made the most of a defensive mistake to put him through on goal, and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0.
Mansfield looked to double their advantage with a free-kick three minutes from the interval, with Taylor Anderson being denied by a great save following his impressive 25-yard effort.
Into the second-half, and the Stags looked to threaten the Oldham goal with a set piece once more.
This time, a wide free-kick was whipped into the area by Anderson, finding Cody Collins, who pulled the ball back to Jack Deakin. Deakin controlled well, before firing his strike over the crossbar.
After successfully dealing with a corner, Oldham looked to find their equaliser on the counter. The hosts drove upfield well, and cut the ball back across the area from the right hand-side.
Stags did not pick up a late run into the box from a Latics’ midfielder, and thankfully for the visitors, he blazed his strike over the bar.
However, the hosts would not have to wait too much longer to find their equaliser.
From the spot after a foul in the box, the Oldham penalty taker fired low and hard into the bottom left corner, with Turner agonisingly close to making a superb save.
With momentum on their side, Oldham looked to find the winner by crossing from the left, but Collins was positioned well to make a vital block from the resulting effort.
The game concluded with end-to-end action, but neither side were able to finish off their half-chances and the game ended one apiece.
The Stags’ next fixture is away to Rotherham United in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
STAGS XI: Turner, Anderson, Pitts, Collins, Wauchope, Carter, Davies (C), Hurdis (Abdullah 67’), Deakin, Edwards (Wilson 67’).
UNUSED SUBS: Flanagan, Avery, Hill-Smith.