Dan Fletcher’s hat-trick helped our youngsters to a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Ollerton Town in the H-K-L North Midlands League Cup First Round tonight.
The frontman bagged three times during a blistering first half for our side, but Ollerton battled back after the re-start and set up a tense finale thanks to Lewis English’s well-taken brace.
However, our young guns held on to their slender advantage and just did enough to progress into Round Two.
On a bitterly cold night at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium, the Stags could hardly have made a brighter start as Fletcher netted the opener inside five minutes.
Moments later, the striker, who has been in terrific form this term, capitalised on a defensive error and doubled our lead with a calm, low finish.
Elliott Hodgett-Young nearly made it 3-0 on 12 minutes when he rose highest to meet Conor Green’s left-sided corner, but his header went narrowly wide.
The Stags continued to press forward and Jack Koczalski came close to netting his first goal of the campaign, but his snap-shot from Chris Spencer’s pull-back was somehow saved.
Green hammered a powerful drive narrowly over the woodwork on the half-hour mark, whilst Luke Thomas was only able to find the side-netting when Jack Hutchinson’s ball released him.
Nevertheless, Fletcher seemingly put the result beyond doubt before half-time when he fired home in a one-on-one, following an exceptional through ball by Spencer.
Despite having their manager sent to the stands, Ollerton looked more determined after the re-start and pulled a goal back through English on 59 minutes.
Stags’ keeper Jahquil Kumari-Hill was then forced into a smart save from a vicious 35-yard effort, before Thomas tested the keeper at the opposite end.
The visitors opted to take a more physical approach at times, but set up a tense finale when English latched onto a long ball forward and slotted home, with 15 minutes remaining.
Ollerton threw everything forward in search of a late equaliser, and after one corner flew across a packed goal-mouth, Koczalski made a goal-line clearance from another.
But our youngsters managed to soak up the pressure and saw out four nervous minutes of added time, to book their place in the next round.
Team: Kumari-Hill, Hodgett-Young, Koczalski, Brownlie, Hempshall, Walker, Green, Spencer (c), Hutchinson, Fletcher, L.Thomas. Subs Used: Thomson, Hodge.