Mansfield Town’s under 18s moved to the top of the table with a 3-0 win over Burton Albion on Saturday.
John Dempster's young Stags got back to winning ways in Calverton with a dominant, hard-working display to pick up their fifth victory of the campaign.
Mike Whitlow's Albion side had only lost one game before the contest, but the Brewers found Mansfield very hard to beat on Saturday afternoon.
In the opening stages, Tyler Blake timed his run well to get on the end of a long Teddy Bloor free-kick into Burton's area, but the home side's defence crowded the Stags’ captain out and hooked the ball to safety. Zayn Hakeem then spotted a gap in the Burton back four and sprinted towards goal, but Charlie Hornby got down to his left and turned his shot round the post.
Sam Wilson got two early touches of the ball as he plucked a Mirza Sejdic cross out of the air and then blocked Marcus Dinanga's header from close range a few moments later.
Sejdic looked to be Burton's main line of supply, with a range of passing and neat touches at his disposal, but Cameron Healey soon recognised the threat the Brewers’ midfielder posed and started to keep a watchful eye on the playmaker.
In the 26th minute, Teddy Bloor weighed up his options when Burton conceded a set-piece around 30 yards from their goal. The Stags’ dead-ball specialist opted to bend it around the wall and it went beyond the reach of Hornby to put Mansfield ahead.
Within five minutes of Bloor's sublime strike, a combination of Tom Marriott's pace and a well-weighted pass from Blake unlocked the Albion defence and Marriott picked his spot from 10 yards out to double Stags’ lead.
Albion regained a bit of their composure as they struggled to recover from Mansfield’s two-goal advantage and Wilson pulled off a great save tipping the ball over the bar when O'Brien got a powerful header on target from a Dylan Garnett free-kick.
Mansfield ended the half with a bit of a flurry. Blake skipped past two challenges but was thwarted when Hornby dashed from his line and got down at the attacking midfielder's feet.
HT: Brewers 0-2 Stags
In the opening stages of the second half, Burton kept the score down by virtue of a last-ditch tackle when Blake nudged the ball into the area for Hakeem to run on to. The pair of them were grafting endlessly and making run after run into the final third to keep the Brewers’ over-worked back line very busy.
Charlie Shaw clipped Garnett's heels as he threatened to break into the Stags’ area, but Wilson was equal to the resulting free-kick as Joe Sbarra tried his luck.
Burton increased the tempo and tried to force their way back into the game, with Sbarra in particular beginning to cause a few problems with several useful passages of play from midfield.
On 76 minutes, Zayn Hakeem's presence caused Brad Smith to abandon his original idea of trying to clear the ball, and instead turned and tried to shield the ball out of play as he passed it back to Hornby.
Hakeem continued his surge forward and unnerved the Burton keeper, who, with one eye on the advancing Stags’ frontman air-kicked as the ball bobbled up over a divot in the pitch and rolled into the goal for Mansfield’s third.
Alistair Smith came on for Tom Marriott late in the game and he almost created a fourth for the Stags as soon as he entered the fray, but when he won the ball in the middle of the park and launched the ball forward to Blake, Brad Smith didn’t slip up again and kicked his clearance away.
With the game all but won, Cain Smith and Cameron Healey were afforded the freedom from their defensive duties to advance forward and join in with the attack from midfield, with Dempster’s men chasing another goal to add gloss to their performance.
Right at the death, Alistair Smith out-sprinted full-back on the right wing before squaring the ball to Cain Smith who thumped the ball wide of the upright as the Stags ran out comfortable winners.
FT: Burton Albion 0-3 Mansfield Town
turday 17th October 2015Sa
Football League Youth Alliance,
Calverton Miners Welfare
Burton Albion U18 0
Mansfield Town U18 3
Teddy Bloor 26, Tom Marriott 31, Brad Smith OG 76
Charlie Hornby, Jayden Cotterill, MIchael Pearson, Joe Sbarra, Brad Smith, Jack O'Brien (C) (Callum Edwards 83), Cameron Shaw (Lewis Troke 62), Mirza Sejdic (Max Smith 62), Marcus Dinanga, Tom Hammerton, Dylan GarnettBurton Albion:
Jake Saville, Lewis WalkerUnused subs:
Sam Wilson, Charlie Shaw, Louis Danquah, Cain Smith, Morgan Ratcliffe, Kieran Harrison, Teddy Bloor, Cameron Healey, Tyler Blake (C), Tom Marriott (Alistair Smith 79), Zayn HakeemMansfield Town:
Kieron Lane, Henry Brittijn, Surafel BehailuUnused subs: