Groves gets on score-sheet in defeat to NC Central.
Despite a spirited second half showing, our youth team were consigned to a 4-1 defeat at NC Central in the FCYA (Midland Division).
Mansfield found themselves two goals down at half-time, before NC Central made it 3-0 moments after the re-start thanks to an inch-perfect free-kick by Tom Scott.
Substitute Liam Groves reduced arrears and the Stags had plenty of further chances to eat into their counterparts’ lead, before they broke away on the counter-attack in the closing stages to make it 4-1.
The 3G surface which the game was played on meant for a fast-tempo game and the hosts enjoyed plenty of early possession, though they couldn’t convert this into clear-cut meaningful chances with Adam Bishop only being forced to save a couple of speculative attempts from long-range.
The Stags took time to adapt to the pitch and surroundings, but themselves had an opportunity to take the lead when an attempt by Jack Hutchinson was palmed away by the ‘keeper.
NC Central then opened the scoring on the half-hour mark as Jack Wood was afforded space inside the penalty area and made no mistake with a powerful low shot, which nestled in the bottom corner.
Despite this, Mansfield almost got back on level terms a couple of minutes later when George Holloway let fly with a cleanly-struck shot, which again required a strong save from the home goalkeeper.
The save proved crucial as straight down the other end, NC Central doubled their lead as Kimarni Smith latched onto a ball slipped through to him and poked an effort beyond the reach of Bishop and into the back of the net.
Mansfield made three changes at the break with Ollie Roome, Liam Groves and Tino Chavundura all being introduced, and they also changed shape which seemed to benefit them as they searched for a route back into the game.
Just three minutes after the re-start, however, the hosts scored undoubtedly the goal of the game and a contender for any Goal of the Season award as Tom Scott unleashed a 30-yard free-kick with complete venom into the top corner with Bishop rooted to the line.
Nevertheless, the Stags weren’t three goals behind for very long as within 60 seconds, Groves powered a shot into the bottom-right corner following a cross into the area from the left flank.
Mansfield pressed hard for an equaliser and Chavundura whistled a ferocious shot just inches wide of the target, whilst Denham Saxton also warmed the hands of the home goalkeeper with a strike from 25 yards.
Whilst the Stags had more possession and pushed high up, there was always the issue that they could get caught on the break and that’s exactly what happened with five minutes left to play when Henoc Isamene made it 4-1.