Mansfield Town’s under 18s secured a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury Town in their second EFL Youth Alliance Cup fixture on Saturday.
John Dempster's young Stags bounced back from being two goals down to salvage a draw on Saturday afternoon.
Having already beaten Burton Albion away from home, they still have a home game against Walsall to play before the final group placings are decided, with Stags currently topping the group with four points.
The home side started well and had two early opportunities to open the scoring but John McAtee shot wide inside the opening minute and goalkeeper Sam Wilson saved well from Ryan Barnett moments later.
The Shrews opened the scoring after 20 minutes when Tyrone Ofori got on the end of Ryan Barnet's right wing cross and diverted the ball past Wilson.
Midfielder Surafel Behailu almost put Mansfield level straight from the restart, but his header flew narrowly wide of the post.
However, the home side doubled their lead just three minutes later when Chris Gallagher's free-kick was headed downwards by Joel Bonner into the path of Matt Jones, who drilled the ball into the back of the net from inside the Stags’ penalty area.
Stags were trailing for the first time this season and Behailu went close again, but Jake Kerins managed to get a foot in to turn his goal-bound header wide.
Shrewsbury almost put the game to bed before half-time but Stags’ stopper Wilson saved well in a one-v-one situation against McAtee.
On the stroke of half-time, Stags made the perfect breakthrough just before the break.
Shrews’ defender Callum Roberts tripped Stags’ centre-half Kieran Harrison in the box and winger Tom Marriott coolly sent Cameron Gregory the wrong way from the penalty spot to halve the deficit.
Half-time: Shrews 2-1 Stags
The Shrews came out for the second half looking to restore their two goal cushion, but both Ofori and Gallagher squandered half-decent chances, while McAtee had a goal chalked off because he'd strayed offside.
Stags’ half-time substitute Ashanti Pryce was causing the home side problems and he forced a save from Gregory as the visitors upped the ante and began to show that they were still in this game, despite the Shrews’ lively start.
Soon enough, the equaliser came on the hour mark when substitute Pryce levelled the scores with a sublime chip over Gregory from twenty-five yards out.
With the scores level, both sides had chances to win the match.
Roberts crashed a free kick against the Stags’ crossbar and substitute Fumpa Mwandawe dragged his shot wide of Wilson's goal after a forward run as the home side looked to retake the lead.
Stags then had two opportunities of their own when goalscorer Tom Marriott saw a couple of efforts kept out by the Shrews’ defence.
Pryce was continuing to be a thorn in Shrewsbury's side and he tested Gregory again with a stinging shot on turn.
McAtee then went down in the Stags’ penalty area under an innocuous challenge and was booked for simulation after the referee waved his appeals for a penalty away.
Last season, a strong Shrewsbury side knocked the Stags out of the League Cup, but this time around John Dempster's side showed their mettle and battled back well to secure another point in their three-team group.
Full-time: Shrews 2-1 Stags
Shrewsbury Town: Gregory, Kerins, Roberts, Hughes, Bonner, Rammell (Mwandawe 72), Barnett, Gallagher, Ofori (Higgs 67), McAtee, Jones (Gilpin 85)
Unused subs: Esien, Atkinson,
Mansfield Town: Wilson, Walker (Pryce 45), C. Smith, Baldwin, Harrison, Blake, Healey (Ward 80), Hakeem (Bircumshaw 75), Behailu (Reittie 75), Marriott