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Youngsters head into next round of League Cup

31 August 2015

John Dempster's youth team booked their passage into the next round of the League Cup after winning on penalties away at Grimsby on Saturday.

In the process, the young Stags maintained their unbeaten start to the 2015-16 season on an immaculate pitch and in the sun drenched north east Lincolnshire village of Waltham.

Ellis Ogle's 54th minute opener was cancelled out by a late Grimsby goal, but Stags' shot-stopper Sam Wilson was the ultimate hero, as he saved two spots in a penalty shoot-out which stags won 4-2.

Though it was Mansfield who enjoyed far better of play in the first half and also in the second period after they had scored, Grimsby Town began to impose themselves on the game and deservedly snatched a late equaliser inside the last two minutes to take the game to penalties.

In this competition, no extra time is played and if the scores are level on 90 minutes, the teams go straight into a penalty shoot out to decide the winner.

The Stags created the first opening of the game when captain Louis Danquah's left wing cross was headed on into the path of Devante Reittie by Cain Smith, but home 'keeper Jack Pearson moved quickly from his line to claim an early touch of the ball to prevent an opening goal after just 30 seconds.

Danquah, Smith and Zayn Hakeem combined well as Mansfield pushed forward again down the left flank, but Grimsby scrambled the ball away and cleared their lines at the expense of a corner.

The home side defended the flag kick well, but the visitors were soon laying siege to their goal again when Danquah launched a free kick just over the crossbar from 25 yards out.

Tyler Blake beat the Mariners right back Adam Lawis for pace and delivered a cross to Ellis Ogle, who shot narrowly wide of the upright.

Blake popped up in the Grimsby box again, this time through the right channel and his precise pass set up Reittie, who was denied by a brave, point blank save from Pearson, who by this point had already kept his side in the game.

Kane Baldwin thwarted two successive Grimsby attacks as the home side came to life, having been spurred into action by a couple of close calls as the Stags attacked Pearson's goal at will.

Zayn Hakeem's persistence won a left wing corner for the Stags, but although Teddy Bloor's flag kick was flicked into the danger zone by Smith, the home side cleared their lines and counter attacked at pace, ending with James Wroot trying to lob Sam Wilson from 20 yards out, but the Stags keeper had anticipated the Grimsby striker's intentions well and comfortably plucked the ball out of the air.

Wroot, Jennings and Kris Fawcett were knocking the ball around well for Grimsby, who evidently relish playing on such a well manicured playing surface.

Meanwhile at the other end, Blake, Reittie and Ogle were causing problems for the Grimsby defence, but a long clearance up the field unlocked the Stags defence but when Jennings unleashed his effort on goal, Wilson was equal to it and pulled off a great save.

James Wroot fired wide when he ought to have done better, as Grimsby almost broke the deadlock a couple of minutes into the second half.

But Mansfield were soon on the attack again and the Mariners captain Cameron Hough had to make a last ditch clearance as Bloor's inswinging corner caused a few frantic moments in the home side's goalmouth.

OGLE STRIKES STAGS AHEAD

Bloor's dead ball prowess, passing and distribution is pivotal to the young Stags' game and it came as no surprise that it was the Mansfield right back's ingenuity that set up the opening goal on 54 minutes when he delivered a through ball into the path of Ellis Ogle that penetrated a gap between the Mariners' central defenders and left Pearson stranded as Ogle floated the ball over him from just inside the area.

Reittie took a knock in the middle of the park that required treatment, while the players from both sides made good of the respite from the action to take fluids.

When the game restarted, Reittie was clipped again as he cued up a shot from just outside the Grimsby box. The resulting free kick from Bloor beat Pearson but went wide of the right hand upright.

Mansfield were having a good spell and looked really focussed on the job in hand at this point and although the home side were passing the ball around well, they weren't getting much change out of the holding midfield pairing of Cameron Healey and Cain Smith, while the next line of defence Morgan Ratcliffe and Kane Baldwin were standing firm and growing in stature.

With Grimsby finding it difficult to make headway through the middle or down the channels, their academy side manager Alan Lamb opted to mix things up and he sent Charlie Loft on in place of James Wroot and his introduction had the desired effect for the home side and his presence in the middle of the park afforded them more attacking options.

Ellis Ogle had run himself to a standstill in the midday sun and the Stags goalscorer was replaced by Tom Marriott.

Hakeem and Marriott exchanged passes as they advanced towards goal and Jack Keeble's attempted clearance fell into the path of Reittie, but he blazed a speculative shot wide of the target.

Hakeem sprayed a pass wide to Marriott, but his cross/shot across the face of goal went behind for a goal kick.

In Callum Jennings, Grimsby appear to have a great prospect for the future, but Baldwin was doing a great job of marking him whenever he reached the final third.

Pearson saved well from Cain Smith as Healey and Hakeem passed their way into Mariners territory.

Joe Crowther and Kris Fawcett, tried to get into the Stags area from out on the left, but Blake was tracking back to help his defence and cleared the danger.

Inside the last two minutes, the Stags dogged resistance was finally broken, when a Jennings free kick was only cleared as far a Tom Sawyer on the edge of the box who gratefully thumped home a late equalising goal.

Shortly afterwards, the referee blew for full time and this entertaining encounter would now be decided from the penalty spot.

PENALTIES

Tom Sawyer stepped up first for Grimsby and the Stags were given a massive psychological boost as Sam Wilson got down to his left to keep the ball out.

Louis Danquah, stroked the ball past Pearson in an assured manner from the Stags first spot kick.

Callum Jennings was up next for the Mariners, but the Mansfield 'keeper saved Jennings' kick to his right and triumphantly grabbed the ball as it spun off him.

Tyler Blake drilled home his kick to make it 2-0 to Mansfield after two kicks apiece.

Kris Fawcett planted an unstoppable effort into the top corner and although Wilson went the right way, the ball was just beyond his reach. But Devante Reittie made no mistake from the next kick and maintained Mansfield's two goal cushion.

Joey Finnegan scored for the Mariners, but if Cain Smith kept his cool the Stags were going through. The former West Brom player was completely unfazed and was mobbed by his team mates as he found the back of the net with an assured kick. There would be no need for a fifth kick from either side.

Both sides had played their part in an highly entertaining cup tie, but John Dempster's side had won the day by winning the penalty shoot out 4-2 with a 100% strike rate, while Sam Wilson continued to impress his growing army of admirers with two vital saves.


STAT PACK:
Saturday 29 August 2015
FLYA League Cup
at Cheapside, Waltham

Grimsby Town (0) 1
Joe Crowther 88

Mansfield Town (0) 1
Ellis Ogle 54

Mariners:
Jack Pearson, Adam Lawis, Joe Crowther, Tom Sawyer, Cameron Hough (C), Jack Keeble, Ben Sibbeck, Joey Finnegan, James Wroot (Charlie Loft 63), Callum Jennings, Kris Fawcett
Unused subs: Oakley Heath-Drury, Lucas Middleton, Alex Aldrich

Stags:
Sam Wilson, Teddy Bloor, Louis Danquah (C), Cain Smith, Morgan Ratcliffe, Kane Baldwin, Tyler Blake, Cameron Healey, Ellis Ogle (Tom Marriott 74), Devante Reittie, Zayn Hakeem
Unused subs: Joe Christopher, Keiran Harrison, Surafel Behailu, Luke Bacon


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