Mansfield Town’s under 18s recorded a fantastic 6-0 victory away at Burton Albion on Saturday in the EFL Youth Alliance.
Fresh from their 2-1 victory over the Brewers in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup last week, Dempster’s men returned to Welbeck College in style.
Burton pushed forward straight from the off, but goalkeeper Sam Wilson dealt with Jack Hallahan's free-kick and released the ball forward quickly, with his clearance finding its way through to midfielder Alistair Smith.
Smith picked the ball up just outside the Brewers’ penalty area and the attacking midfielder slotted a first time shot past Callum Hawkins into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to give the Stags the lead inside the opening two minutes.
The visitors doubled their lead on five minutes when Tom Marriott, playing on the left flank, forced Tom Hammerton into conceding a corner.
Marriott delivered the resulting kick to the back post where centre-half Kieran Harrison met the ball head on and planted a thundering header through a crowd of defenders and in to the back of the net.
Burton immediately tried to get themselves back in to the game after conceding their second goal in just the fifth minute and Cameron Steele launched a right wing cross into the Stags’ area, but midfielder Surafel Behailu, who has impressed so far in the opening games of the season, cleared the danger.
John Dempster's side were dealing well with the worsening weather conditions and as two Burton players collided, the loose ball fell to striker Zayn Hakeem.
The frontman, who has been involved in the first team squad recently, powered forward and placed a shot across Hawkins that evaded the Brewers’ ‘keeper and found its way into the goal just inside the right-hand upright, making the score 3-0 with just a little over eleven minutes played.
The home side tried to find a way through the closely knit visitors’ midfield, but Henri Wilder intervened and took the ball away with a timely interception and put Mansfield back on the front foot.
The game was all but over as a contest in the 17th minute when Hawkins was penalised for handling a back pass, resulting in an indirect free-kick to the Stags inside the area.
With a row of Burton players strung out along the goal line, Alistair Smith rolled a short free kick to Marriott who crashed the ball into the back of the net from ten yards.
Smith was combining well with young frontman Nyle Blake, who was playing out wider on the right, but when the pair of them worked together to release right-back Teddy Bloor on the overlap, Hawkins smothered his low cross before Hakeem or Cain Smith could add a finishing touch.
Blake was proving to be a good outlet for Mansfield as they mounted a string of attacks. Wilder picked him out with a sublime forty-yard diagonal pass, which Blake rolled back into the path of Bloor, but his cross was headed clear by Jacob Saville.
Behailu won the ball in the middle of the park and sprayed the ball wide for Blake to run on to and only a good stop by Hawkins prevented the younger of the Mansfield Town Blake brothers from increasing the lead.
It would be fair to say that the Stags were rampant in the first half and they almost added a fifth when Marriott bore down on goal through the left channel before Hawkins just about held on to his cross-cum-shot at the foot of the near post.
Hakeem chased a lost cause down by the left-hand corner flag and retrieved the ball, before crossing to Marriott who laid it off to Alistair Smith, but he was denied by Hawkins who produced a smart stop.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Marriott picked up the ball out on the left and with the Burton defence backing off in anticipation of a cross, he curled a twenty-five yard shot against the crossbar.
Half-time: Brewers 0-4 Stags
Burton changed their personnel at the break and Tristan Matthews, who had scored a late consolation goal against the Stags last week when they beat Burton in EFLYA Cup group match, went close from fifteen yards, but Wilson dealt well with the wet ball on an increasingly slippery pitch.
The home side were trying to unlock the visitors down the left flank, but weren't 'getting any change' out of Behailu and Bloor as they looked to push forward down the left.
Meanwhile Kane Baldwin, who stood in to deputise for the injured Morgan Ratcliffe over the past couple of weeks, slotted in well alongside Harrison as a like-for-like replacement at centre-half.
The Brewers’ Joe Sbarra almost found a gap in the Stags defence, but Jake Davies lost his footing as he ran onto the through ball and Baldwin hooked it away.
Matthews crossed to Dylan Garner, but Baldwin moved into action and stole the ball away with an assured touch.
The Stags, with a four goal cushion and one hand already on the three points, were sitting back and letting Burton attempt to break them down, while patiently waiting for gaps to appear that they could exploit.
Hakeem ventured forward, but with time and space to deliver his cross, he uncharacteristically delivered the ball straight to Cotterill who launched it back towards the halfway line.
John Dempster freshened things up in what must have been tiring playing conditions and sent on attacking duo Ashanti Pryce and Devante Reittie in place of Blake and Alistair Smith, who had made a telling contribution to the Stags’ first half 'power play'.
Pryce almost scored when Reittie threaded a pass through to him, but the home side's defence crowded him out and scrambled the ball away.
Bloor was working the ball out wide to Marriott who had switched flanks, but some last ditch defending kept two telling crosses away from Pryce and Reittie.
Davies tested Wilson, but the young Stags’ keeper still hasn't conceded a goal in the league this season and he gathered the ball well, before instigating another box-to-box swift break, which saw Pryce muscle past two chasing defenders, before rolling an angled shot past Hawkins to make it 5-0 with eight minutes remaining.
Dempster’s men then launched one last attack when Reittie , who had just cleared the ball away at one end, ran onto Bloor's precision through ball at the other, before chipping the ball over the advancing Burton ‘keeper from fifteen yards with a great finish that made light work of the awful conditions and put the finishing touches to an accomplished and impressive 6-0 victory.
Full-time: Brewers 0-6 Stags
Stags’ XI: Wilson, Bloor, Wilder, C. Smith (C) (Bircumshaw 80), Baldwin, Harrison, Blake (Pryce 55), Behailu, Hakeem, A. Smith (Reittie 62), Marriott
Brewers’ XI: Hawkins, Hammerton, Hutchinson, Hallahan (C), Cotterill, Saville, Steele, Sbarra, Shaw, Dowd, Garner
Subs: Davies, Walker, Smith, Matthews, Harrison