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Youth report: Bradford City 1-3 Stags

28 September 2015

Stags' under 18s side recorded an impressive 3-1 away victory to end Bradford City's five-game winning run and maintain their own fine unbeaten streak on Saturday afternoon.

The league-leading Bantams went into the contest in West Yorkshire after winning all of their league matches so far but came unstuck against John Dempster's side thanks to a brace from Alistar Smith with Surafel Behailu notching the other goal to extend Mansfield's unbeaten run to seven games.
Bradford's side included Reece Webb-Foster who came into the game on the back of an impressive 12 goals in his last six games, but the striker couldn't find his way past the visitors’ stubborn defence marshalled by Kieran Harrison and Drew Gibson.
The prolific marksman did get a glimpse of goal for the hosts, although Sam Wilson was on hand to palm away an angled shot while at the other end Behailu and Alistar Smith combined well down the flanks as Mansfield began to ask questions of their own.
On 16 minutes, the Stags took the lead following excellent wing-play from Hakeem. He rode three challenges, cut into the area from the left-side and squared the ball into the path of Alistar Smith who smashed it past George Kenworthy from close range to put the Stags in front.
In the next action, Behailu chipped a measured pass on the turn straight into the path of Hakeem and only a last-ditch lunge from Kesi Omolokun prevented a second goal for the lively visitors.
Soon after, Ellis Hudson hit a cross into the Stags’ area towards Webb-Foster but speedy defending from Charlie Shaw prevented the usually free-scoring striker enough time to find his spot and he headed straight at Wilson.
Mansfield were dealt a blow when the in-form hosts grabbed their equaliser. Hudson ventured forward again on the right and with everyone anticipating a cross to Webb-Foster, the former knocked a left-footed shot just inside the right-hand post to pull the Bantams level after 21 minutes.
Tyler Blake and Hakeem were providing testing pressure in the offensive areas for the Yellows, with the latter being denied by the outstretched boot of Omolokun and the ball subsequently fell to Cain Smith who saw his shot fly inches past the post.
The heavily-involved Hakeem carved himself an opening on the left channel and once again Kenworthy was relieved to see the ball go narrowly wide of his goal as the first half came to a close.
HT: Bantams 1-1 Stags
Straight from the restart Mansfield were straight on the front foot again in their quest for the three points and they were soon rewarded for their efforts.
The ball was fed down the flank to Hakeem who broke into the City area at pace to pick out Alistar Smith and the midfielder drilled home a sublime volley from ten yards out to put the Stags back in front.
Hakeem was almost the creator again as he threaded a ball through to Cain Smith, but Omolokun charged the ball down to clear it away from danger as he authoritatively tried to restore some order among Bradford's backline.
Shortly afterwards, Webb-Foster whipped a free kick over the Stags' defensive wall from 20 yards out but Wilson got his angles right and got down to smother the ball with ease.
Behailu then made light work of shrugging off his marker and planted a measured pass into the path of Hakeem, although Kenworthy sprinted from his line and just got enough of a touch on the ball to help divert it away from danger.
Teddy Bloor picked out Tyler Blake with a precise set-piece, however Curtis Peters cleared the ball away to safety as Dempster's men chased a third goal of the afternoon. Bradford countered with Peters who ran the length of the pitch in confident fashion and forced a good stop out of Wilson.
Mansfield didn't let their tempo drop and moments later Hakeem beat Sam Wright for pace, but smashed his angled shot into the side-netting.
The third goal duly arrived in the 63rd minute to seal the contest. Alistar Smith was denied his hat-trick on the line following Hakeem's effort against the woodwork, but Behailu was on hand to pounce on the loose ball with precision from 12 yards past Kenworthy into the back in the net.
As Mansfield targeted a fourth to add gloss to their display, Alistar Smith was picked out by Bloor however Kenworthy pulled off another great save to keep him out. Zayn Hakeem was then unlucky to see his shot fly narrowly over the bar after the hard-working Blake had unlocked the Bradford defence with a long range pass.
The hosts couldn't find their way back into the game as the young Stags played with maturity, and could've even extended their lead through Alistar Smith whose attempt hit the side-netting after more good work by Hakeem. 
FT: Bradford City's Under 18s 1-3 Mansfield Town's Under 18s.
Saturday 26th September 2015
Football League Youth Alliance
Rawdon Meadows Playing Field
Bradford City 1 
Ellis Hudson
Mansfield Town 3
Alistar Smith (2)
Surafel Behailu
Bradford City:
George Kenworthy, Kwame Boateng, Sam Wright, Curtis Peters, Alex Laird, Kesi Omolokun, Niall Payne, Xander McBurnie, Reece Webb Foster, Sumaili Cissa (Casey Taglione 61'), Ellis Hudson (Reece Powell 70')
Unused Subs: Ollie Kirkpatrick, James Sunderland
Mansfield Town:
Sam Wilson, Charlie Shaw, Teddy Bloor, Drew Gibson, Kieran Harrison, Surafel Behailu, Cain Smith, Cameron Healey, Tyler Blake (C), Alistar Smith, Zayn Hakeem
Unused subs: Luke Bacon, Henry Brittijn, Joe McBrearty

The young Stags are next in action this Saturday at home to Shrewsbury Town in the Football League Youth Alliance Cup (11am).  

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