Our youth team progressed to the Semi-Finals of the H-K-L North Midlands League Cup with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Hallam F.C. last night.
Kyle Hempshall and Kevin Hemagou had netted for us, but it was Dan Fletcher who stole the headlines with a late winner which sealed our passage to the last four.
Our youngsters will now meet Worksop Town at One Call Stadium in the Semi-Finals on Monday 28 April (7.45pm).
The Stags were given a tough examination by their counterparts from South Yorkshire and were unfortunate not to establish a lead during the first half.
Only a few minutes had elapsed when Fletcher raced onto a downfield ball by Harry Waldram and his subsequent shot seemed goalbound until a Hallam player got back and made a goal-line clearance.
Jack Koczalski also saw a header tipped onto the woodwork, whilst Fletcher thought he’d opened the scoring with a header, but his attempt was ruled out for offside.
Surprisingly, it was the visitors who opened the scoring after the re-start when a player cut inside from the left-wing, beat two markers and sent a low shot beyond the outstretched arm of Waldram.
Mansfield pressed hard for an equaliser and found it with less than a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, when Hempshall crashed a half-volley into the net from eight yards out.
Conor Green almost completed the quick turnaround a few minutes later when his delightful in-swinging free-kick bounced up and ricocheted off the upright, before the visitors scrambled away the danger.
Nevertheless, Hemagou soon put us on course for victory when he latched onto Fletcher’s through ball, accelerated away from his marker, and beat the ‘keeper with a deadly low drive.
The twists and turns and unpredictable nature of this clash continued, however, and Hallam capitalised on some bad defending to make it 2-2 with less than five minutes remaining.
But Fletcher stole the show with three minutes left to play, when he produced an excellent lob over the Hallam ‘keeper to seal a victory, after strike-partner Hemagou had sent him clear.
Team: Waldram, Koczalski, Brownlie, Hempshall, Walker, Green, Hutchinson (Fitzpatrick), Spencer, Roome (Carver), Hemagou, Fletcher.