Stags up to third spot after goals by Dwyer (2) and Blake help youngsters to another victory.
Our youth team continued their good recent form in the Football League Youth Alliance (North/East Division) as they made it three wins from four games with a comfortable 3-0 victory over York City.
After a goalless first 45 minutes, the Stags turned on the style as Anthony Dwyer grabbed two goals within a quarter-of-an-hour spell just after the re-start, before Tyler Blake completed the scoring with a low finish on 75 minutes.
The victory lifts our youngsters up to third position in the Football League Youth Alliance (North/East Division) table, with seven matches of the season remaining – the next of which is against arch-rivals Chesterfield next week.
On a bitterly cold lunchtime at Kirklington Road, the Stags began the game well and forced the visitors to defend in the early exchanges.
Skipper Chris Spencer went close to opening the scoring after just four minutes, but saw his thunderbolt 25-yard free-kick superbly palmed over the woodwork, after George Holloway was tripped on the edge of the area.
Dwyer went even closer from another set-piece opportunity on 18 minutes. The striker hit a low effort from the edge of the box, which bounced up and caught a deflection to knock it onto the post, before York frantically managed to scramble the ball away to safety.
Mansfield continued to press hard and created more danger. Spencer was unlucky to see his splendid 25-yard effort parried away by the visiting ‘keeper, whilst Tom Slone’s follow-up attempt from a tight angle was smothered at the near-post.
The Stags were then dealt two significant injury blows as the instrumental Spencer was replaced by Rory Thomson, before Slone suffered a back spasm and had to be replaced by Max McLeod.
Despite playing on the front foot, the Stags remained frustrated in their efforts to open the scoring as George Holloway was unable to convert after Dan Fletcher played a teasing ball across goal, whilst Fletcher himself couldn’t get a shot away despite being in a promising position a couple of minutes later.
Nevertheless, within two minutes of the re-start, Mansfield got a reward for their efforts as they went 1-0 up.
Asa Shelton showed some neat touches and played a great cross into the area from the left-hand side, which was partially cleared as far as Dwyer, who brought the ball under control on the edge of the area and rifled a thunderous shot into the top corner – showing no mercy to the York ‘keeper, who couldn’t get anywhere near it.
Having established a lead, the Stags then almost relinquished it straight away.
Goalkeeper Frazer Hampson was unable to properly clear his lines and sliced an attempted clearance straight into the path of a York player, who despite having the goal at his mercy, couldn’t score, as Hampson atoned for his error by pulling off a remarkable point-blank save.
On the hour mark, the Stags were given the chance to enhance their advantage after the excellent Blake put his marker under pressure in an attempt to win the ball inside the area, drew an untidy challenge, and ultimately won a spot-kick.
Responsibilities from 12 yards were left to Dwyer, who despite having missed a penalty earlier this season, remained calm, cool and composed under pressure, to send the ‘keeper the wrong way and put his team 2-0 up.
To their credit, York refused to throw the towel in and pressurised the Stags over the next quarter-of-an-hour in search of a route back into the game.
Nevertheless, the Stags defended superbly to consistently thwart the Minstermen, with Charlie Brownlie and Corbin Shires both being rocks in central defence, whilst Jack Koczalski and Shelton, to the right and left, respectively, also looked comfortable.
On 74 minutes, Brownlie required lengthy treatment from the physio after he sustained a nasty cut to the eye, whilst carrying out his defensive duties.
Any hopes that the visitors may have harboured about a comeback were extinguished less than 60 seconds later, however, as Fletcher got the ball inside the area and played a simple pass towards the back-post, where Blake was able to convert with ease.
York applied some more pressure in the closing stages with Hampson being forced to make a couple of saves, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough to stop our youngsters’ relentless charge up the Football League Youth Alliance (North/East Division) table.
Team: Hampson, Koczalski, Shelton, Blake, Shires, Brownlie, Slone (McLeod), Spencer (Thomson), Fletcher, Holloway (Jones), Dwyer.