Mansfield Town’s under 18s travel to fellow EFL Youth Alliance title contenders Oldham Athletic this Saturday (25 March, 12pm kick-off) for a top-of-the-table clash at Chapel Road.
League leaders Oldham and second-placed Stags are only separated by goal difference, both having collected 39 points from 18 matches. Defending champions Mansfield have a goal difference of (+23) as opposed to the hosts’ (+27).
John Dempster’s young Stags will be looking to topple Athletic from the summit after a morale-boosting unbeaten start to 2017, having recorded three victories and two draws in five outings since January. More encouragingly, two of the three wins arrived on the trot ahead of the crucial clash against the table-toppers.
The Stags' first win of the two-match run came against local rivals Notts County, who were brushed aside in a nervy encounter, where the Stags emerged winners 3-2.
Three first-half goals gave Mansfield’s young guns a perfect start, as wideman Jason Law and striker Nyle Blake scored alongside a County own goal. However, the Magpies struck either side of the break to almost complete a turnaround, but it came in vain.
Next up were Hartlepool United, who were consigned to a 3-1 defeat. Pools’ Lewis Orrell found the net with a superb 30-yard free-kick on 38 minutes, but the Stags’ young guns were soon on level terms thanks to left-back Henri Wilder’s goal from striker Devante Reittie’s feed.
And the victory was ensured in the second period as striker Zayn Hakeem completed a fine brace.
Tony Philliskirk’s Oldham side were steadily propelled to the pole position thanks to a 10-game winning streak, which began last October. But Lincoln City brought their juggernaut to a halt with a slender 2-1 victory last time out.
The Latics took the initiative through Mason Fawns, only to be denied anything from the game by two quick Imps’ strikes right before the break.
Stags’ and Oldham’s youngsters last played each other in the season-opener, where the Greater Manchester outfit resolutely saw out a 0-0 draw in August 2016.
Fans are welcome to attend the game this Saturday at the following address:
Chapel Road Training Ground,
We will be posting updates of the game on our social media channels on Saturday afternoon.