Mansfield Town’s under 18s defeated Lincoln City 3-1 on Saturday to climb back to top spot in the Football League Youth Alliance.
A brace from Tyler Blake and a Louis Danquah second-half strike was enough for the visitors to claim all three points, despite a late consolation from the Lincolnshire outfit.
On a bright but chilly morning, the Stags looked lively from the off and took the lead in the 14th minute. Striker Tyler Blake charged down an attempted clearance from a back pass by City ‘keeper Michael Antkowiak, stole the ball away and rolled it into the open goal.
Full-backs Louis Danquah and Teddy Bloor were causing no end of problems for Lincoln's back four with their link-up play and deliveries from dead ball situations. Goalscorer Blake was relishing leading the line, with Zayn Hakeem playing off him and he was coming out on top more often than not with his marker, Jack Weatherell.
The Imps tried responding to Blake's opening goal and defender Kieran Harrison had to head Archie Moyses’ in-swinging corner away from the six-yard box, to where Jack Harris latched on to it, but his hopeful shot from distance flew high and wide.
Teddy Bloor's free-kick was cleared by Ryley Thompson at the expense of a corner, which Bloor also took and picked out Hakeem, but his shot on the turn flew narrowly over the bar.
Soon after, midfielder Cain Smith dropped a shoulder and broke past Jack Fixter, who recovered in time to put in a sliding tackle as the former was about to cross. Blake then saw off the attentions of Weatherell again, but placed his shot narrowly wide of the upright.
However, the livewire front man was back moments later, cutting out an attempted clearance by Luke Anderson, before cracking the ball past Antkowiak to claim his and Mansfield's second goal nine minutes before the break.
Half-time: Imps 0-2 Stags
After the interval, Hakeem and Blake were still chasing everything in the final third, but it was Danquah who finally claimed the third goal. He took a return pass from Alistair Smith just inside the box and calmly slotted the ball past the helpless Antkowiak.
In search of a fourth, Antkowiak was called into action twice more; first, he plucked Cain Smith's searching ball to his namesake Alistair out of the air, before pulling off a great fingertip save at full-stretch from a long-range effort.
By the time Mansfield made their three substitutions to give forwards Nyle Blake and Devante Reittie and midfielder Tom Marriott the opportunity to get some match time, the game was effectively all but over as a contest, but they slotted straight into the pattern of play and got heavily involved in the action.
Inside the final five minutes, Jack McMenemy side-footed a right-wing cross past Bishop from ten yards to give the home side a late glimmer of hope, but it wouldn’t prove to be enough.
With the clock ticking down, Bloor swung a right-wing set-piece into the side-netting before Nyle Blake copied his brother's party piece when he chased down Anderson on the edge of the box, nicked the ball away and rolled it inches wide of the upright before the referee called time on proceedings.
John Dempster’s side now sit top of the Football League Youth Alliance, one point clear of Scunthorpe in second, however the Iron have a game in hand.
Full-time: Imps 1-3 Stags
Lincoln City: Michael Antkowiak, Jack Fixter, Ryley Thompson, Archie Moyses, Jack Weatherell, Luke Anderson, Keilen Gretton, Liam Harris, Jack McMenemy, Leon Loftus, Camm Stewart
Unused subs: Danny Horton, Sam Fewkes, James Hugo, Luke White, Ritchie Burdett
Mansfield Town: Adam Bishop, Teddy Bloor, Louis Danquah, Cain Smith (Tom Marriott 81), Morgan Ratcliffe (C), Kieran Harrison, Tyler Johal, Cameron Healey, Tyler Blake, Alistar Smith (Devante Reittie), Zayn Hakeem (Nyle Blake)
Unused subs: Sam Wilson, Kane Baldwin