Atkinson grabs hat-trick on debut, whilst Green bags first goal in competitive youth action.Dexter Atkinson bagged a hat-trick on his debut as our young guns maintained their 100% record in the FCYA (Midland Division) with a comprehensive 6-2 victory over Solihull Moors.
Winger Conor Green also grabbed his first goal in competitive youth action with a stunning 30-yard effort, whilst the other two goals were scored by Anthony Dwyer and Chris Spencer.
On a rain-soaked afternoon at Kirklington Road, the Stags made the worst possible start as Dakarai Mapp gave the visitors an early lead with a clever chip over custodian Adam Bishop.
Mansfield took time to settle following a slow start, but began to stamp their authority on proceedings and went close to an equaliser as Drew Gibson volleyed over from close-range following Joe Fitzpatrick’s corner.
Midfielder Rory Thomson, who enjoyed a fine game, then had a curling 30-yard free-kick saved by the visiting ‘keeper, as the Stags continued to press forward.
An equaliser eventually arrived on 25 minutes and it was Thomson who provided the assist – threading a great ball through to Atkinson, who showed excellent composure to slot home.
The Stags continued to play on the front-foot and completed a quick turnaround when Green’s deft header released Dwyer, who took a touch and beat the ‘keeper with a venomous near-post drive.
Mansfield’s joy soon became even greater as they opened up a two-goal cushion within only a few minutes.
On this occasion, Spencer’s ball from the by-line back to Thomson was hooked into the six-yard box for Atkinson, who headed home from five yards.
Remarkably, things could have got even better for the Stags before the interval as Thomson did well to beat the 'keeper in a 50/50 aerial challenge on the edge of the area, with the resulting ball spinning towards Atkinson, who couldn’t turn the ball home from an extremely tight angle.
The Stags looked equally as ruthless in front of goal in the second half, and they quickly made it 4-1 when Spencer worked his way into the box and screwed a powerful strike beyond the ‘keeper’s reach.
Green then became the centre of attention with two shots in the space of a minute.
His first effort came following an excellent ball back across goal by half-time substitute Tino Chavundura, but a powerful strike from 20 yards, which was heading for the top corner, was superbly tipped over.
However, the 17-year-old wasn’t to be denied.
Less than 60 seconds later, he picked up the ball on the left channel and delivered a teasing ball towards the near-post, which evaded a despairing ‘keeper and found the net.
Solihull had pretty much thrown the towel in by this point, which led to Mansfield creating chance after chance – and Atkinson completed his hat-trick before the hour mark.
The debutant showed great composure to find the target, with Spencer claiming the assist with a good through ball.
The visitors had only pride to play for in the final half-hour, but they grabbed another consolation goal as Jack Jenkins’ attempt amidst a goalmouth scramble was judged to have crossed the line.
Overall it was a professional and accomplished display by our young guns and one which boss John Ramshaw was able to take away plenty of positives from.
Team: Bishop, Walker, Green (Slone), Gray, Gibson, Brownlie, Fitzpatrick (Chavundura), Spencer, Atkinson, Dwyer, Thomson.