Inexperienced team endure miserable afternoon against Doncaster Rovers.
Our youth team were unable to climb the Football League Youth Alliance (North/East Division) table as they succumbed to a 7-0 defeat at Doncaster Rovers.
In a bid to prepare them for next season, many players from our Under 16s team were included in the squad for this game, whilst Conor Green also made his return to action following a two-month spell on the sidelines through injury.
On a bitterly cold morning in South Yorkshire, the hosts got proceedings underway and enjoyed the lions’ share of possession in the early stages.
The Stags were put on the back-foot and found themselves a goal behind after 10 minutes when Alex Head’s quick and clever free-kick found Liam Mandeville, who showed enough composure to knock the ball past an advancing Sam Wilson.
Doncaster looked threatening going forward and Paul McKay almost doubled their advantage with a sweetly-struck volley which went just a whisker wide of Wilson’s left-hand post.
However, with the Stags struggling to express themselves, Rovers managed to add a second goal midway through the first half through Connor Williamson, who got on the end of Michael Carberry’s floated free-kick into the box and headed home from six yards out.
Mansfield then had a relatively decent spell of possession in which they limited their counterparts’ threat and they nearly found a route back into the game when Joe Bayne tried his luck with a cheeky chip, which had to be watched closely by the Doncaster goalkeeper.
Donny ended the first half strongly and would have extended their lead to 3-0 had it not been for Wilson, who foiled Joe Pugh on a couple of occasions.
Nevertheless, any hopes of a Stags comeback were extinguished shortly after the re-start when Mandeville bagged his second goal of the game with a long-range shot to put the hosts three goals to the good.
Things got worse on the hour mark when Doncaster struck again through Carberry, who let fly with a powerful 20-yard shot which nestled in the top corner.
Carberry turned from scorer to provider for Rovers’ fifth goal only a few minutes later as he launched a long ball forward which found Pugh, who managed to knock it past Wilson and into the empty net.
Keiron Lane, on his Stags’ debut at this level, prevented a sixth goal as he headed off the line from Pugh on 71 minutes, but Rovers struck again with 10 minutes remaining as Matt Parkin slotted home.
Mandeville completed his hat-trick in the closing stages when he worked his way onto a long ball out of defence, before slotting past Wilson to make it 7-0.
Ultimately, although it was a bad day at the office, the disappointing experience will provide a learning curve to the younger members of the squad.