Our youngsters cruised to their biggest win of their FCYA (North Division) season, as they thrashed MMU 7-1 in Sandbach this afternoon to move top of the table.
In a performance which oozed exceptional work ethic, talisman Joe Flint bagged a hat-trick, whilst Matt Harris also posted his first strike of the league campaign.
Ross Lamb was another who was on target, along with winger Jake Green, who teased and tormented MMU’s back four throughout the 90 minutes with his lightning-quick pace and exceptional trickery.
Defender Ben Birch completed the scoring on the fringes of added time, heading home Kurtis Turner’s pinpoint corner, as our young guns stretched their unbeaten run to 11 matches.
On a sunny, but bitterly windy day in Cheshire, our youngsters had the better of some scrappy early exchanges and grabbed an opener after just nine minutes.
Flint thundered a fabulous 25-yard right-footed effort into the top corner, after burly MMU shot-stopper Ben Crellin needlessly put team-mate Ryan Green under pressure with a short goal-kick.
Winger Jake Green almost doubled our lead when his powerful drive flew only inches wide of the woodwork, but completely against the run of play the hosts hit back on the quarter-hour mark.
Playmaker Jake Benn, one of the hosts’ better players on the day, finished from close-range after Tom Williams rolled a simple ball into his path.
Nevertheless, shortly after the midway point in the first period, Lamb re-established our advantage when he latched onto Turner’s exquisite ball over the top and finished from an acute angle.
Our young guns looked re-invigorated by Lamb’s third strike of the campaign and slowly began to put MMU under intense pressure as the clash meandered towards half-time.
Nine minutes before the interval, Flint’s piercing through ball allowed Lamb to round Crellin and slot into the net, but his strike was controversially ruled out due to offside.
Lamb though was a constant nuisance, and he came close again when Crellin had to rush off his line and claim possession as Hopkins’ speculative downfield punt caused havoc for MMU.
Shortly before half-time, our youngsters magnificently extended their lead.
Lamb’s inside pass put Jack Hawkins through, and after the diminutive playmaker’s shot was superbly tipped onto the woodwork by a full-stretch Crellin, the rebound was converted by Flint.
The Stags were even more menacing towards their dis-spirited hosts in the second half, and added a fourth goal shortly after the hour mark.
In an exquisite passing exchange which was started by the commanding Jason Gregory, Hawkins, Flint and Green linked up wonderfully, before Green’s back-post pass allowed Flint to complete his hat-trick.
With the result in no doubt by this stage, our young guns fought immensely to win every ball and were brilliant in their application, desire and sheer willingness to work hard for each other.
A fifth goal duly arrived when Green tormented MMU left-back Ash Baker with some intelligent movement, before cutting inside and slotting beyond a grounded Crellin.
However, the Stags were utterly relentless in their quest to add more goals to their tally, and despite Green wasting a one-on-one; a super sixth arrived in the closing stages.
Crellin was caught horribly out of position when Green collected possession on the left flank, and the winger steered a low ball towards Harris, who tucked away with ease.
In the dying stages, the Stags compounded MMU’s misery by scoring yet again.
On this occasion, Birch made a powerful connection to Turner’s wonderful corner, which was far too much for Crellin, as the ball nestled in his net once more.
It was a truly remarkable performance from the young Stags, who will now be beaming with confidence and believing they are fully capable of being crowned champions.
Stags: Hopkins, Coupe (J.Jones), Birch, Gregory (Simpson), Marsden, Green, Turner, Thomas, Hawkins, Lamb, Flint (Harris). Unused Subs: M. Jones, Fell.