Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News

Youth report: Stags 3-0 Lincoln City

4 December 2017

Mansfield Town's under 18s reaffirmed their position at the top of the EFL Youth Alliance with a brilliant 3-0 win over Lincoln City on Saturday.

An own goal from left-back James Hugo and a brace from midfielder Keaton Ward gave the Stags all three points and ensured they leapfrogged Oldham Athletic into first place on goal difference.

The win was Stags' sixth in a row and incredibly, all of those victories have been secured without conceding a single goal.

Mansfield didn't take long to settle into a tricky looking fixture against fourth-place Lincoln City as some sharp interplay between left-back Henri Wilder and wideman Iyrwah Gooden saw winger Sam Jackson blast over from the left side of the penalty area with a minute on the clock.

Stags' 'keeper Harrison Davison was enjoying an extended run in the team, making his third consecutive start and was yet to concede in his previous matches.

But he would have breathed a huge sigh of relief when after eight minutes he parried Hugo's cross to the feet of winger Charlie Hart only for the wide-man to slice high and wide from 12 yards.

After 11 minutes, some direct play from Wilder saw Gooden flick on the captain's long pass for striker Riley O'Sullivan to race on to, only for the pacey forward to shoot tamely, straight at Michael Antkowiak.

Midfielder Ward's first involvement came after 15 minutes when Jackson's lay-off on the edge of the area presented him with a shooting opportunity.

He went for a measured, low curling effort to the far post but slightly miscued his attempt, which went wide.

Three minutes later Ward stepped up again, this time to strike a free-kick from a similar position. Despite getting more elevation and power on this effort, it again flew wide of Antkowiak's left-hand post.

As the game approached the 20-minute mark, Lincoln only had Hart's missed chance to show for an opening period which saw them play some neat, attractive football.

That soon changed as a series of opportunities came and went for the visitors. Kyle Watkins' tame effort went straight into the arms of a well-placed Davison and winger Ritchie Burdett's attempt from 18 yards bounced wide after some neat build-up play.

Hugo had been involved in Lincoln's best chance so far, and he was a nuisance again as he met Burdett's in-swinging cross but his mistimed jump caused him to head over from five yards.

Davison was forced to parry on the half-hour mark when Lincoln centre-back Dan Horton stepped into midfield and drove towards goal, his 25 yard drive was gathered at the second attempt by the Stags' 'keeper.

The first half was an even encounter with both teams passing and probing but with little to show for their efforts.

But the game sparked into life on 57 minutes when Stags' midfielder Jack Cornell burst forward and forced Antkowiak into a smart, one-handed save down to his right with a well-hit drive from 20 yards.

The resulting corner broke the deadlock. The impressive Keaton Ward's far post delivery caused panic in the visitors' defence as the ball bounced up, hit Hugo in the face and bounced over the goal line to give Stags the lead.

The goal energised the Stags and when a long pass fell for half-time substitute Jake Dumbleton on the edge of the area, he was crudely brought down by centre-back Gianluca Bucci.

Regular set-piece taker Ward stepped up to take the free-kick and it was from there that Stags doubled their advantage.

Standing 20 yards out, Ward stepped up and struck an effort through the wall which bounced over the outstretched hand of Antkowiak before finding the back of the net.

On 72 minutes, Lincoln almost gave the Stags another helping hand when right-back Charlie West wildly sliced over his crossbar from six yards after excellent build-up play from the lively Dumbleton.

A minute later, big calls for a Mansfield penalty were waved away by referee Mehdi Najefi after Aiden Walker's close-range volley appeared to strike the arm of Horton on the goal line, a lucky escape for the visitors.

Academy manager John Dempster gave an under 18s debut to Cameron Jones in the 85th minute, with Jones slotting in on the right of midfield and showed some assured touches.

Stags then capped off a fine display with a stunning third goal from the excellent Keaton Ward.

The midfielder grabbed his second with a mazy dribble into the area and sweetly struck shot into the left corner to send Stags back to the top of the EFL Youth Alliance.

STAGS' XI: Davison, Weston, Wilder (c), Gibbens, Johnson (Dumbelton 46'), Walker, O'Sullivan, Cornell (Morgan 75'), Gooden (Jones 85') Ward, Jackson (Cashmore 85')

SUBS NOT USED: Sundby

LINCOLN XI: Antkowiak, West, Hugo, Horton, Watkins, Bucci, Burdett, Cotton (Gee 53'), White (c), O'Hare, Hart (Smith 53')

SUBS NOT USED: Troop, Cox, Cullum


Advertisement block