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Stags progress in Youth Cup thriller

4 November 2014

Wilson saves two penalties in dramatic, action-packed, first round tie.

Our youth team progressed to the second round of the FA Youth Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Boston United at One Call Stadium.

In a match of twists, turns, suspense and high drama, Mansfield opened the scoring early on when Conor Green turned quickly inside the area and sent a low drive into the bottom-right corner.

The Stags were unable to build on their one-goal lead as left-back Jacub Tabreham struck the post early in the second half, whilst Dan Fletcher went close on numerous occasions – only to be denied by the Pilgrims ‘keeper every time.

Eventually, our youngsters were punished as five minutes into injury-time, with virtually the last kick, Billy Hodgkiss capitalised on some slack defending to ghost in unmarked from a corner and send a header into the net, via the upright.

Boston looked rejuvenated and completed a remarkable turnaround just five minutes into extra-time when Louis Saebe latched onto a long ball forward and chipped an advancing Sam Wilson, to put the Pilgrims on course for a place in Round Two.

The Pilgrims then spurned two or three good opportunities to put the result beyond doubt. Domonic Goddard was denied courtesy of some splendid goalkeeping by Wilson, before Green headed off line when the visitors broke through again, just a few seconds into the second half of extra-time.

However, during a frantic finale, the Stags regrouped and showed enormous character to get back on level terms. Deep into extra-time, with the full-time whistle and the real prospect of elimination looming large, Joe Fitzpatrick’s quick and clever free-kick pierced the Boston backline and Tyler Blake’s left-wing cross was guided home by substitute Ollie Roome – a goal which sparked joyous celebrations.

It was edge of the seat stuff in injury-time in extra-time and before the final whistle, the Stags incredibly spurned several chances to win the match.

Dan Fletcher did everything right to latch onto a long downfield ball by Blake, before he rounded the ‘keeper, but with the goal gaping, his well-struck effort was incredibly blocked on the line by a back-tracking defender.

The Pilgrims survived an almighty goalmouth scramble from the resulting corner, as Fitzpatrick, Fletcher and Kieran Harrison all went close to poking the ball home, but somehow, the visitors cleared their lines.

So after a truly thrilling 2-2 draw in the 120 minutes, the match had to be decided by penalty kicks.

It was cruel that there had to be a loser, such was the enormous endeavour, desire and commitment showed by both teams, but the Stags emerged as 3-2 victors in the shoot-out – with Wilson saving two efforts (another one was blazed), and Harrison, Fletcher and Charlie Brownlie all finding the back of the net.

Team: Wilson, Slone, Tabreham (Harrison), Hutchinson (Roome), Brownlie, Fitzpatrick, Thomson (Gibson), Spencer (C), Fletcher, Blake, Green.


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