After winning the EFL Youth Alliance title with a match to spare, Mansfield Town’s under 18s host Grimsby Town this Saturday (29 April, 11am kick-off) at Clipstone in their last game of 2016/17.
Prior to kick-off at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium, our under 18s will be presented with the EFL Youth Alliance trophy and winners' medals, before making the short trip to One Call Stadium to parade the trophy at half-time of our Sky Bet League Two fixture against Portsmouth.
It was at Rainworth’s Kirklington Road where academy manager John Dempster’s men sealed the league championship after defeating Burton Albion 2-1, which ensured the Youth Alliance crown remained in north Nottinghamshire for the second year running.
Requiring just two points to seal the trophy, Stags’ under 18s went for the jugular right from the offing, racing into a two-goal lead before half-time.
Following a swift break initiated by defender Kane Baldwin, forward Jason Law came up with the crucial assist which led to striker Nyle Blake’s opener.
Law himself turned scorer for Mansfield’s second goal, puncturing the Burton back-line with his vicious pace before slotting past goalkeeper Callum Hawkins.
Although the Brewers’ Joe Sbarra halved the deficit on 49 minutes, it was all in vain as the Stags’ players, coaching staff and supporters celebrated the well-deserved title-defining victory.
Mansfield have recorded 52 points from 23 matches, and last week's win added further sheen to the superb campaign by extending their unbeaten run to 10 games across all competitions since January.
This streak began when Dempster’s champions drew 1-1 against Doncaster Rovers and 0-0 against Lincoln City either side of a 2-1 win over Rotherham United.
Five successive victories followed against Notts County (3-2), Hartlepool United (3-1), Oldham Athletic (2-1), Chesterfield (1-0) and Scunthorpe United (1-0) before a 1-1 draw away to York City prior to the Brewers win.
When the Stags and Grimsby Town locked horns in last September’s reverse fixture, striker Zayn Hakeem’s brace and an Ashanti Pryce goal fashioned a 3-1 Stags’ success, whilst Jamie Goddard was the Mariners’ scorer.
Neil Woods’ Grimsby side have struggled for form lately, sitting second from bottom in 12th place with 21 points from 23 outings, and only one win in their last five matches.
Apart from a 2-0 win over Rotherham, the young Mariners have drawn 2-2 against Bradford City, 1-1 against Scunthorpe, and lost 2-1 to Doncaster and 3-2 to Chesterfield in recent weeks.
Supporters are welcome to attend the match at the following venue:
The Worksop Van Hire Stadium,