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Youth report: Stags 1-0 Chesterfield

15 August 2016

Mansfield Town under 18s triumphed 1-0 over local rivals Chesterfield on Saturday thanks to a second half header by midfielder Cameron Healey.

Head coach John Dempster named an unchanged side to the one that drew 0-0 with Oldham Athletic on the opening day for the clash at Kirklington Road.

Both sides had chances and looked very efficient in defence, but as the game went on, Mansfield increasingly looked like the stronger side and were causing the Spireites no end of problems in their final third.

New-boy Aiden Walker defended authoritatively in the opening stages, blocking Ricky German's break through the left channel and intercepting Joe Rowley's dangerous looking right wing cross.Ā 

Charlie Wakefield exchanged passes with Rowley on the edge of the Stagsā€™ area and he released German, but Sam Wilson got down quickly to save the powerful strikerā€™s shot.

Wilson's heroics against Oldham last week and two clean sheets against decent opposition in the opening matches bodes well for the season ahead and gives Dempster's side a solid base at the back to build on.

Midfielder Alistair Smith played the ball forward to Nyle Blake who breezed past his marker before Parkin thwarted his attempt on goal, saving with his feet.

The Stags pushed forward again and striker Ashanti Pryce showed some good close control as he weaved his way past two defenders, but having done the hard part he shot over from ten yards out.

Midfielder Healey fed the ball to Alistair Smith, who twisted to see off the attentions of a defender, before his shot deflected wide of the upright.

Centre-halves Kieran Harrison and Morgan Ratcliffe were proving to be an uncompromising duo as they teamed up in the centre of defence to keep the visitors at bay whenever they got beyond the midfield.

Cain Smith's cross from the right wing hit the post and Dylan Hand had to head the ball away for a corner.Ā 

Full-back Teddy Bloor delivered the ball to Healey at the back post, he headed the ball back across the face of goal and Nyle Blake put the ball into the back of the net via Parkin's outstretched fingertips; but the linesman had his flag up and the goal was ruled out.

Wilder charged the ball down in midfield as Harry Taylor tried setting the visitors in motion with a long ball forward, before advancing twenty yards and shooting narrowly over the bar.

On the stroke of half time, Harrison delivered a free kick into the Spireitesā€™ six-yard box and Ratcliffe headed the ball back towards Healey whose shot was deflected wide by Jay Smith.

Straight from the restart, Blake burst forward and rode a challenge from Hand before testing Parkin with an angled shot, which the defiant Spireitesā€™ ā€˜keeper kept out at full stretch down to his right.

The visitors looked to be tiring and midfielder Henri Wilder took advantage by putting on a burst of speed and crossing toward Pryce, but Hand got to the ball first and headed it clear.

German almost unlocked the Stagsā€™ defence with a through ball to the visitorsā€™ half-time substitute Josh Tipping, but his finish didn't match his perfectly timed run.

With tackles flying in from all directions, the visitors were awarded a free-kick twenty-five yards out which Jack Brownell smashed into the Stagsā€™ defensive wall, where Wilder ā€˜took one for the teamā€™ as the ball was cleared.

Alistair Smith broke forward into the heart of Chesterfield's defence before turning the ball back to Wilder who found Blake with his cross, but the lively striker's header was saved well by Parkin.

Chesterfield gave the ball away again as the Stags were squeezing tightly in midfield and Wilder got away on the left and crossed to Blake, who was pushed as he homed in on goal, but it was on the referee's blind side and the visitors were fortunate to escape being penalised.

Alistair Smith was fouled twenty-five yards out and almost took advantage of Bloor's resulting free-kick, but Parkin blocked his shot and recovered in time to keep Pryce away from the rebound as well.

It was one-way traffic towards the visitorsā€™ goal as the clock ticked on and Chesterfield were chasing shadows at times and conceding a lot of free kicks around their goal area, which the Stags couldnā€™t convert.

The Stags then made a double tactical substitution with midfielder Tom Marriott and striker Devante Reittie as John Dempsterā€™s side looked to make a breakthrough.

Wilder and Marriott worked their way through the left channel with a quick exchange of passes, but Lynam threw himself in the way of Marriott's thumping shot.

After absorbing so much pressure and having their ā€˜keeper to thank for still being in the game, the Spireites counter-attacked and Sam Wilson found himself in a one-on-one situation with the formidable presence of Ricky German, but the highly rated Stagsā€™ stopper showed why he is earning such rave reviews by turning away what looked to be a certain, albeit against the run of play, opening goal.

Mansfield played the ball out of defence and Harrison swept the ball forward to Cain Smith, who in turn threaded it through to Blake, but he came up against a crowd of blue shirts who managed to clear the ball away from danger, before Offoegbu put the ball out for a corner.

From the resulting corner, Stags broke the deadlock. Bloor picked out Healey, arriving at the back post, with a dipping right wing corner that evaded Parkin as the hard working midfielder planted a textbook downward header into the back of the visitorsā€™ net after 77 minutes.

It had been a long time in coming, but finally Parkin's resistance had been cracked.

At the other end, the Spireites tried picking out German and Tipping with a hopeful ball forward, but Wilson was quickly off of his line to gather the ball and make sure that his team weren't about to squander a greatly deserved three points.

The Stags saw the game out safely to secure their first three points of the 2016/17 EFL Youth Alliance season.

Stagsā€™ XI: Sam Wilson, Teddy Bloor, Aiden Walker, Cain Smith (C), Morgan Ratcliffe, Kieran Harrison, Henri Wilder, Cameron Healey, Nyle Blake (Surafel Behailu 85), Alistair Smith (Tom Marriott 67), Ashanti Pryce (Devante Reittie 68)

Unused subs: Steve Johnson, Harry Bircumshaw

Spireitesā€™ XI: Dylan Parkin, Iffy Offoegbu, Connor Fowler, Harry Taylor, Jay Smith, Dylan Hand, Jack Brownell (Joel Phillips 84), Mark McKenna (Josh Tipping HT), Ricky German, Joe Rowley, Charlie Wakefield (Arron Sennett-Neilson 68)

Unused subs: Brad Jones, Tom Kerry


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