Stags academy manager John Dempster was left pleased with his side’s work ethic and endeavour as they beat Grimsby Town 1-0 to progress to the second round of the FA Youth Cup.
After a cagey first period, Sam Jackson scored what proved to be the winner, a sublime 25-yard effort into the top left corner.
Dempster was pleased with how the young Stags reacted to his half-time team talk and their hard work throughout the whole game.
“I’m delighted with the team in terms of the work ethic and endeavour to work hard for each other," said Dempster.
“I was disappointed slightly with the quality that was on show tonight, I think collectively were a lot better than that. I asked for a little bit of quality at half-time, someone to be the hero and pop up with a bit of magic and I think it’s fair to say that was a goal worthy of winning any game.”
"We’re in youth development but in the FA Youth Cup, everybody wants to win and get as far as they can."
“Credit to Grimsby they battled hard, they had a couple of opportunities and hit the bar. It was a real cup tie but I’m very proud of the boys because their efforts tonight were there to be seen by everybody and they are a fantastic group.”
He picked out goal scorer Jackson, who he brought off the bench at half-time, for special praise.
“He’s been working very hard in training. He’s been on fire, he was on fire yesterday in training and deserves an opportunity and the kid definitely took it tonight.”
Dempster also commended the opportunity the competition offers Mansfield’s young guns including the chance to play in front of bigger crowds at high standard stadiums.
“We’re in youth development but in the FA Youth Cup, everybody wants to win and get as far as they can. It is no less than these lads deserve because the experience of playing midweek under the lights against different opposition at stadiums on better pitches in front of more people is something we need to expose these players to.
“The FA Youth Cup is a great opportunity to do that.”
Mansfield’s Under 18 side will travel to Rotherham United in the next round and is wary of the Millers’ quality but knows his team can challenge.
“I think it’ll be a really tough game. We had Rotherham watched midweek and they battered Bottesford [Town]. We played them early on in the season and we know exactly what were going to get from Rotherham.
“They’re an excellent side, a club that are trying to get back in the championship with a good catchment area so were under no illusions that it’ll be a tough call to progress but it won’t be for effort that we don’t progress because they’re a fantastic bunch that give their all for each other."