Mansfield Town were held to a 0-0 draw by Lincoln City in the EFL Youth Alliance on Tuesday afternoon.
The young Stags, playing with several enforced changes from the side which won at Rotherham on Saturday, drew a blank against a very well organised Imps team which contained quite a few first year players.
A stalemate ensued, as a fairly lacklustre and scrappy game unfolded which was bereft of many clear cut chances, for either side.
Mansfield made an encouraging start when winger Tom Marriott's right wing corner found its way through to striker Jake Dumbleton, who was denied by a great reflex save by Regan Start.
Right-back Teddy Bloor released Dumbleton down the right flank, who linked up with Marriott, but his attempted cross cleared the bar.
The home side got lucky when Jack McMenemy broke free through the left channel and fired an angled shot across the face of Sam Wilson's goal which crashed against the inside of the right-hand post and rolled along the goal line, before left-back Henri Wilder hooked it away.
The referee looked to his assistant, Lee Clarke, who decreed that not the entire ball had crossed the line, despite Lincoln's appeals.
Midfielder Luke Morgan, making his first start in the EFL Youth Alliance this season, did well to block McMenemy's goal bound shot and then headed clear from Archie Moyes’ corner kick.
Lincoln pushed forward right at the end of the first half and Wilder's clearance from inside the Stags’ penalty area fell to Keilen Gretton, whose first time strike flew just wide of the right-hand upright.
Half-time: Stags 0-0 Lincoln City
From the restart, winger Nyle Blake combined with Dumbleton as the Stags looked to open up a resilient Lincoln defence, which was being well marshalled by the workaholic Jack Fixter, but they were getting very little scope to make any space by the Imps’ back line.
Marriott picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and rolled it sideways to midfielder Cain Smith, who strode forward before shooting over the bar from the edge of the area.
The Stags went close to taking the lead when Ryley Thompson was a whisker away from turning the ball into his own goal from Wilder's left wing cross, while Luke Anderson intercepted Marriott's resulting corner which was aimed towards Nyle Blake.
Reece Robinson-Jones scuffed a shot when he was well placed in front of the Stags’ goal and Morgan had to move quickly to put the ball behind for a corner as McMenemy moved in. The Stags only half cleared the flag kick as far as Anderson, who crashed the loose ball over the bar.
Gretton and McMenemy linked up on the left flank, but Aiden Walker, a second half substitute for the Stags, intercepted the ball and calmly cleared the danger away.
It has been a while since Walker got a run out, but blended in seamlessly and added no small amount of composure out on the right for the home side where he had a good understanding with one of the unsung heroes of the current campaign, defender Kane Baldwin.
Walker and Dumbleton exchanged passes and freed forward Devante Reittie on the right-hand side of the area and his pass across the area to Bloor and Smith caused a few moments of panic in the Imps’ defence, before the Fixter and Anderson partnership closed ranks again.
Wilder fed the ball forward to Dumbleton, he in turn laid it off first time to Smith, who lobbed a pass into the path of Devante Reittie and the Lincoln defence collectively held their breath as the ball rolled agonisingly across the face of goal after the lively frontman held off the attentions of Fixter and diverted a shot from an acute angle.
In stoppage time, Smith threaded a pass through to Marriott on the right-hand side of the Imps’ goalmouth and he raced forward before nicking the ball past the advancing Start, but inches wide of the left-hand post as the referee brought time on the affair.
Full-time: Stags 0-0 Lincoln City
Stags’ XI: Wilson, Bloor, Wilder, C.Smith (C), Baldwin, Ratcliffe, Marriott, Morgan (Walker 73), Blake (Bircumshaw 73), Law (Reittie HT), Dumbleton
Subs not used: Sundby (GK), Johnson
Lincoln XI: Start, Moyes, Thompson, Gretton, Anderson, Fixter, Robinson-James (Smith 79), Horton, White, Hugo (O'Hare 69)
Sub not used: Antkowiak