Espial win 2-1 in tight, closely-fought encounter.Our Development Squad’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end as they lost 2-1 to fellow high-flyers Espial at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium.
Both teams had chances to score during a tight first half, which saw Kasey Scott and Jonathon Woods go close for the visitors, whilst Ollie Roome was a constant threat for Mansfield down at the other end.
Espial had a goal disallowed on the half-hour mark as Jordan Hendley headed home from a long cross but was flagged offside, whilst Stags centre-back Charlie Brownlie was forced into a goal-line clearance when Hendley rounded the goalkeeper.
The second half was just as tight as the first half, but Espial opened the scoring when Jahquil Kumari-Hill parried a low 20-yard shot straight into the path of a lurking Jack Martin, who made no mistake from close-range.
Roberto Marchetta then went close to adding a second goal for the visitors with a powerful drive on the hour mark, which Kumari-Hill did well to keep out.
The Stags bolstered their attacking options with the introduction of Dan Fletcher and subsequently drew level with just under a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, when Roome peeled off the shoulder of his marker to meet Chris Spencer’s corner and sent a header into the net.
However, Espial responded and sealed the points on 83 minutes, as Danny Fullwood beat the offside trap and unleashed a low half-volley from inside the area, which found the bottom corner.
The Stags forced two corners during four gripping minutes of injury-time, whilst Espial went close to adding a third goal as Kumari-Hill tipped an effort by Marchetta onto the woodwork as the visitors broke on the counter-attack.
Our Development Squad will be hoping for better fortune against tonight’s opponents when they meet them in the reverse fixture in 13 days time.
The latest H-K-L North Midlands League table can be found by clicking here.