Our youth team were knocked from the Football Conference Youth Alliance summit after they suffered an agonising 6-3 defeat at Gateshead this afternoon.
Despite a brave and battling performance against their vastly experienced counterparts, our youngsters were left to rue a devastating last quarter-of-an-hour.
Winger Jordan Vilums capitalised on some slack defending to fire us ahead after only two minutes, prior to midfielder Nuha Jabbi doubling our advantage with his first goal for the club.
But Gateshead, who are undoubtedly the toughest league opponents that our young guns will face this term, were level at the half-time interval thanks to strikes from Callum Patton and Michael Sweet.
Vilums continued his recent fine run of form as he recorded his fifth goal of the campaign to re-establish our lead with a spot-kick on 54 minutes, before the hosts again drew level through Sweet.
The Heed, who have now replaced us at the top of the table, went ahead for the first time thanks to a David Luke strike, with Peter Ravenhill adding a fifth goal only a few moments later.
Sweet’s crisp close-range finish completed the scoring in the closing minutes as our youngsters ultimately suffered their first league defeat of the campaign.
Stags: Ryan Hopkins, Billy Simpson (Dean Robinson), Jason Gregory, Ben Birch, Tom Clarke, Danny Barke (Ross Lamb), Liam Marsden, Kurtis Turner (c), Nuha Jabbi, Jordan Vilums, Joe Flint (Jack Hawkins). Unused: Jamie McAllister, Matt Jones.