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Youth report: Stags 5-2 Dunkirk

15 November 2016

Mansfield Town defeated Dunkirk 5-2 in a high-scoring game at One Call Stadium in the second round of the FA Youth Cup this evening.

A brace for midfielder Alistair Smith and a hat-trick for striker Zayn Hakeem were enough to see off the spirited visitors. 

The win has earned the Stags the right to travel to face Fulham in the Third Round. 

Number nine Zayn Hakeem, who recently signed a professional contract with the Stags, had the first chance of the game but he dragged his shot past the far post from a wide angle. Dunkirk responded as Jack Warner crashed an effort off the bar as the away side started aggressively.

In the 13th minute the young Stags got the breakthrough as midfielder Alistair Smith weaved his way into the area to squeeze the ball past Ryan Howes in the Dunkirk goal.

And they quickly made it two three minutes later as Hakeem curled a wonderful effort past Howes and in to the corner. 

With 20 minutes gone it was three without reply as Alistair Smith grabbed his second of the game with an outstanding volley from 20 yards, which went in off the crossbar.

But Dunkirk didn’t give up and responded two minutes later as a combination of Joel Howes and Warner turned the ball in from George Harrison’s cross.

But Mansfield then restored their three goal advantage as Hakeem got his second of the game. He connected with a defence-splitting ball over the top to slot home past Howes.

At the end of a frantic opening half hour, the lively Warner had a powerful shot held by goalkeeper Xavier Sundby in the Stags' goal. He then added a second to Dunkirk’s tally with a long range effort which flew past Sundby.

The game settled as it entered the last 15 minutes but both teams threatened to add to the six goals in the game. Midfielder Cain Smith firing over just before the referee blew to bring an end to a goal heavy first half.

The second half started as the first ended with the defence on top. Cain Smith had a shot from range tipped over and Mansfield reworked the corner for Hakeem to have a low shot saved by Howes. The rebound fell to right-back Teddy Bloor who blasted over as the young Stags pushed forward. 

Hakeem then latched onto substitute Nyle Blake’s pass but his shot brushed past the post as he headed for goal. Moments later, Cain Smith could only find Howes from eight yards, in a chance he should have done better with.

On 65 minutes, Dunkirk hit the woodwork for a second time as Harrison cracked the bottom of the right-hand post with his shot.

Eight minutes before the end of the game, substitute Devante Reittie had two attempts to make it five; his first was saved and second cleared off the line. 

That was before Zayn Hakeem tucked home a rebound to make it 5-2 and secure the match ball for himself.

Blake then had a chance two minutes from time as he stayed on his feet following a challenge but could only fire straight at Howes.

The Stags saw out the remainder of the game to see off a spirited Dunkirk side and set up a mouthwatering tie with Fulham. 

Stags' XI: Sundby, Bloor, Baldwin, Smith (Reittie ‘67), Ratcliffe (C), Harrison, Wilder, Healey, Hakeem, Smith (Behailu ‘75), Law (Blake ‘55).  

Subs not used: Turton, Walker.

Dunkirk: R.Howes, Robinson (Towle ’84), J.Howes, Clark (C), Moore, Bird, Harrison, Roberts, Lang, Warner, Mushamri (Waddington ’77) 

Subs not used: Aikman, Oldershaw.

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