Young Stags turn on the style to triumph in FLYA match.Our injury-hit youth team showed magnificent character as they came from behind to thump local rivals Doncaster Rovers, 4-1, in the Football League Youth Alliance at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium this afternoon.
Jordan Linley’s stunning 25-yard thunderbolt gave the South Yorkshire visitors a lead early in the first half, but the Stags roared back and bagged four goals after the re-start to record a victory which was as every bit as deserved as the scoreline suggests.
Dan Fletcher set the ball rolling when he got an equaliser on the hour mark, after beating Rovers ‘keeper Jack McGarry in an aerial challenge on the edge of the area, following a monstrous downfield kick by Sam Wilson.
Kieran Harrison completed the turnaround with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when he rifled home a drive from the edge of the area, after midfielder Tyler Blake found him unmarked, following Tom Slone’s clever, quickly-taken throw.
Anthony Dwyer could have extended the advantage just a few moments later, having been tripped inside the area, but his powerful subsequent spot-kick was saved by the trailing leg of the Rovers ‘keeper.
The match was then halted for a long spell, as in the aftermath of his penalty miss, Dwyer collapsed in the goalmouth and required medical treatment on the pitch, before being taken to hospital for tests.
When play finally re-started after a stoppage of around 45 minutes, John Ramshaw’s side continued to attack with verve, vigour and venom, and quickly made it 3-1 thanks to a cute, curling finish by Fletcher, who was put clean through by Drew Gibson.
However, Mansfield weren’t finished there. Playmaker Joe Fitzpatrick added a fourth goal on the brink of injury-time, when he found the target from an acute angle, with Fletcher claiming an assist.
In reflection, this was undoubtedly the Stags’ best display of the season so far, and they oozed quality in so many areas.
Slone was quite simply absolutely outstanding at full-back, whilst the makeshift central-defensive pairing of Chris Spencer and Charlie Brownlie were both faultless too.
Rory Thomson and Fitzpatrick were as accomplished and industrious as ever in the middle of the park and Jack Hutchinson, alongside them for the first hour, showed some neat touches.
Fletcher took his two goals well, whilst his partners in crime going forward – Dwyer and Blake – posed a constant threat with their excellent link-up play, and Roome was a nuisance when he came on in the closing stages.
Even more pleasing though, was that due to several scholars being unable due to injury, three of our Under 16s squad featured, and all acquitted themselves extremely well to their new surroundings.
Goalkeeper Wilson always looked comfortable when called upon – his long kicks causing problems and his handling at crosses and set-pieces being almost perfect on every occasion.
Harrison constantly tricked, teased and tormented his counterparts with fine footwork and his goal reflected his great individual performance.
Last, but by no means least, Jacub Tabreham slotted in well at the back and showed plenty of calm and composed touches and he can be proud of his display.
This victory will give our youngsters an enormous amount of confidence heading in to the FA Youth Cup First Round clash with Boston United, which will be played at One Call Stadium next Tuesday (7.30pm).
Team: Wilson, Slone, Tabreham (Harrison), Hutchinson (Gibson), Brownlie, Fitzpatrick, Thomson, Spencer (C), Fletcher, Blake, Dwyer (Roome).
To see a complete youth team fixture list, click here.