Mansfield Town progressed to the second round of the FA Youth Cup thanks to an impressive 3-0 victory over Bedworth United this evening.
A Brennan Howe own-goal, and strikes from midfielder Cain Smith and forward Nyle Blake were the difference between the sides as the young Stags came away deserved winners.
Bedworth United had won three qualifying games to reach this stage whilst this was the Stags’ first game in the competition.
It was the more experienced away side who started the brightest when Cain Smith’s testing cross was cleared after a well worked free-kick. However, Bedworth came closest soon after as Lewis Noon scuffed his shot wide after being played in down the right channel.
On the quarter of an hour mark the visitors had a good chance to open the scoring. Forward Jason Law did well to find space past three Bedworth defenders on the edge of the area before his shot was smothered by an onrushing Callum Brown in the United goal.
The Stags went close on two occasions three minutes later. First, right-back Teddy Bloor fired over from inside the area after good work down the left, and then Zayn Hakeem blasted a long shot well over from 20 yards out.
On 22 minutes, Stags’ centre back Kieran Harrison rose highest from a corner but could only nod the ball over the bar as Jason Dempster’s side asserted their dominance.
But five minutes later, Bedworth seized on a defensive mishap to go through on goal but fortunately for the Stags’ backline, number 10 Connor McCallum dragged his shot past the far post.
Mansfield then broke the deadlock 13 minutes before the interval when Bedworth defender Brennan Howe turned the ball in to his own net from a cross-cum-shot from Cain Smith.
It was a cruel goal to concede from the home side’s point of view but a deserved lead for the visitors. Jason Law followed this up by curling his shot straight at Brown in the last major action of the first half.
Mansfield had the first chance of the second period as Bloor won the ball high up the pitch and fed Law. The former Carlton Town frontman made his way in to the area and played it back to Bloor but he couldn’t find the target from eight yards out.
The wing back was in the thick of the action once more moments later but he couldn’t stretch enough to get on the end of a low cross during a breathless passage of play.
Former West Brom trainee Cain Smith went close on 57 minutes but his half volley flew wide. This was followed up by a shot from left-back Henri Wilder which curled over as the away side took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Attacking midfielder Alistair Smith continued this dominance as he curled an effort just past the right-hand upright. Law then had a close range shot saved by Brown as the chances came thick and fast.
And it was the next chance, in the 67th minute, which doubled the lead.
Bloor kept the ball alive on the edge of the box before it fell to midfielder Cain Smith who curled home a beautiful shot in to the top right-hand corner from 20 yards out.
The ball was then cleared off the line twice from a Bedworth corner as the Stags had to do their first defensive work of the second period.
The away side then made it three in the 72nd minute as substitute Nyle Blake poked home from inches out following a deep free kick to the far post which was initially saved, with Blake on hand to score the rebound.
The young Stags were able to see out the remaining minutes without major incident and secure safe passage to the next round following a comfortable victory over Bedworth United.
Stags’ line-up: Wilson, Bloor, Baldwin, C.Smith, Ratcliffe, Harrison, Wilder, Healey, Hakeem (Blake ’61), A.Smith (Reittie ’65), Law (Behailu ’75)
Subs not used: Sundby, Walker
Bedworth United line-up: Brown, Howe (Cook ’77), Cross, Parker, Newman, Kobongo (Booker ’45), Noon, Mulvihill, Stringer, Ison (Smith ’61), McCallom
Subs not used: Duggan, Hewitt.