Mansfield Town’s young guns maintained their impressive early-season form in the Football Conference Youth Alliance as they recorded a 2-1 victory over Stalybridge Celtic at Kirklington Road.
Jordan Vilums opened the scoring with a neat close-range finish after four minutes, before Lewis Chambers doubled the advantage prior to half-time.
Jordan Leacia netted a consolation for the visitors, who could have snatched an unlikely point had Ryan Hopkins not produced an excellent late save.
On a wet and windy afternoon in Rainworth, the Stags started brightly and opened the scoring when Vilums superbly cut in from the left flank and hammered a low shot beyond Celtic keeper Anthony Windle.
Stalybridge’s Ryan Slack saw a thunderbolt drive expertly tipped over by Hopkins as the visitors threatened a response, before Jack Hawkins came close with a header for Mansfield.
Although chances proved to be at a premium, Vilums nearly doubled the lead on the half-hour when his intricate chip-shot from the cusp of the area beat Windle, but agonisingly fell wide of the target.
Terence Katachoul saw a tame effort comfortably held by Hopkins, whilst Leacia headed over from close range as Stalybridge soon enjoyed a period of pressure.
Mansfield finally doubled their lead on 39 minutes when Joe Flint’s exceptional cross-field pass found Chambers, who took a touch and turned his marker inside the area before coolly slotting home.
Flint almost registered a goal shortly after the re-start when he reached Blake Vincent’s excellent set-piece delivery and saw his downward header somehow turned onto the woodwork by Windle.
Stalybridge reduced arrears on 63 minutes when Leacia received possession from Alec Muchinu and unleashed a low 25-yard drive that ricocheted off the post and into the net.
Slack blazed over at the midway point in the second period for Celtic, whilst substitute Remi Davis came close with a low shot that Windle blocked using his legs at the opposite end.
Celtic almost hit Stags with a sucker-punch as a sweeping counter-attack saw Muchinu power an attempt into the arms of Hopkins from close range after a cross from Androns had put him clear.
Both Matt Harris and skipper Kurtis Turner came close for Stags late on, before Hopkins made the final save of an intriguing encounter after Ryan Hart let fly with a thunderous 30-yard strike.
Stags: Hopkins, Jordan Jones, Birch, Marsden, Vincent, Jabbi, Turner, Hawkins (Matt Jones), Chambers (Davis), Flint (Harris), Vilums. Unused Subs: Robinson, Williams, Gregory, Lamb.