Mansfield Town’s under 18s will look to extend their unbeaten run of the New Year against Lincoln City later today in the EFL Youth Alliance (24 January, 12.00pm kick-off).
The Stags' under 18s go into their second home fixture of 2017 in red-hot form, typified by a superb 2-1 victory over Rotherham United on the latter’s home turf last time out.
In-form midfielder Cain Smith opened the scoring for Mansfield on 17 minutes, while striker Nyle Blake provided the winning touch with a 52nd-minute goal; but five minutes from the final whistle, defender Morgan Ratcliffe directed a Tom Maguire cross into his own net to hand Rotherham a lifeline.
The win, however, consolidated the Stags’ position at the top of the table, who have now gone four points ahead of second-placed Burton Albion with 32 points from 15 games.
Moreover, one of the crucial factors in Mansfield’s firm grasp over proceedings in the EFL Youth Alliance has been their defensive solidity, underlined by the side conceding the least number of goals (8) in the competition so far.
On the other hand, the onus is strongly on the visitors to trigger an upswing in their fortunes as they sit bottom of the table in 13th, with just eight points from 14 outings.
Prior to their trip to the Stags’ fixture, Lincoln were thrashed 9-0 by Chesterfield at home – the same side the Imps had defeated 6-2 last October, which remains their solitary victory in the previous ten fixtures across all competitions.
This time around, the Spireites secured their revenge with four goals from Joe Rowley, a treble by Foster, and strikes from Joel Phillips and Josh Tipping.
Mansfield’s youngsters have an opportunity to ensure the league double over their visitors from Lincolnshire, having already triumphed 3-1 in the reverse fixture in October 2016.
Lincoln were quicker out of the blocks though, and Jack McMenemy’s goal in the first minute handed them the advantage. However, John Dempster’s young Stags turned the screw just three minutes after with defender Kieran Harrison’s leveller, followed by Blake’s goal on 25 minutes. Midfielder Alistair Smith then ensured the emphatic win with another strike in the second-half.
Supporters are welcome to attend the game at Clipstone FC’s ground, at the following address:
The Worksop Van Hire Stadium,
Admission prices are £2 for adults.