Young Stags keep title hopes alive with a closely-fought 3-2 win over Boston United.
Goals by George Holloway, Elliot Holmes and Denham Saxton helped our youth team to a 3-2 victory over Boston United in an entertaining encounter in the Football Conference Youth Alliance (Midland Division).
The Stags were 2-1 up at the break, before substitute Saxton struck in the second half to give our youngsters their eighth win in nine games.
The Pilgrims made a bright start to the game and almost took the lead inside the opening 10 minutes when Holmes was forced to clear off the line at the expense of a corner, from which a player shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post.
Mansfield responded with a spell of pressure as first Holloway, then Levi Walker, both tried their luck with low attempts, which were gathered by the visiting ‘keeper.
Holloway wasn’t to be denied, however, as he opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark when he skipped past a couple of defenders after being played through by Jack Hutchinson, then unleashed a powerful shot into the back of the net from 10 yards.
The Stags had Boston penned back over the next few minutes and forced a couple of quick corners, but they couldn’t be converted into chances.
Nevertheless, Holmes made it 2-0 midway through the first period. Hutchinson’s ball into the box caused all sorts of problems for the Boston defence and Holmes was on hand to smash home a loose ball.
Despite Mansfield enjoying far much more possession than their counterparts and looking much more dangerous, Boston then pinched a goal back before half-time as Sam Wilson was unable to claim a free-kick by Dan Moulds and the ball was judged to have crossed the line before the ‘keeper gathered it.
In the second half, opportunities were few and far between, but the Stags continued to pose a threat whenever they pressed forward.
The impressive Joe Bayne, who came on for Jordan Stewart just shy of the hour mark, looked particularly dangerous and it was from his cross that Mansfield bagged a third goal on 73 minutes with fellow substitute Saxton turning the ball into the net from point-blank range.
Boston hit back immediately to make it 3-2 with Steve Dovey unleashing a 20-yard shot which bobbled up and beyond the reach of Wilson.
Both teams had chances to score in the closing stages – Wilson being forced to make two good saves at one end of the pitch, whilst Holloway, Tino Chavundura and Bayne, in injury-time, all having chances to score for Mansfield.
Team: Wilson, Stewart (Bayne), Walker, Hutchinson, Heignbotham (Saxton), Holmes (Gibson), Fitzpatrick, Thomson, Jones, Chavundura, Holloway.