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Youth report: Burton Albion 0-2 Stags

22 November 2017

Mansfield Town's under 18s moved to the top of the EFL Youth Alliance North East Division with an impressive 2-0 win against Burton Albion at St. George's Park yesterday.

Winger Sam Jackson put the Stags ahead on 28 minutes with a low driven shot into the right corner before fellow wideman Iyrwah Gooden made it two from close range after 70 minutes.

The victory was the Stags' fifth in a row in all competitions and took academy manager John Dempster's side above Oldham Athletic into first place on goal difference.

The game was being played on the Kelly Smith pitch at St. George's Park, the 330 acre, £105 million home of England's national teams.

Stags' recent run of exciting away fixtures continued having previously played at Blundell Park, home of Grimsby Town, and the AESSEAL New York Stadium in Rotherham.

The game didn't take long to spark into life, a long ball over the hosts' defence saw centre-forward Rhys Sarson race through on goal after 36 seconds.

The ball wouldn't quite come down fast enough for Sarson, however, as Burton left-back Reece Hutchinson slid in to clear for a corner.

Referee Waqar Ahmad had his first big decision to make after two minutes when Stags' midfielder Keaton Ward went to ground after appearing to have been pulled back in the box, but Ahmad waved away the appeals.

Dempster gave a start to wideman Sam Jackson, after he had impressed off the bench in the previous two games.

The pace and direct running of Jackson caused problems for Burton throughout the match. On 21 minutes he forced Burton 'keeper Callum Hawkins to block his cross-cum-shot with his feet after skipping through the home team's defence.

Just seven minutes later Jackson was at it again, driving the Burton defence back into their penalty area. He cut inside full-back Joe Brown and drilled a right-footed shot into the far corner to put Stags 1-0 ahead.

The goal had been coming and the Stags were in the mood for more as winger Nyle Blake saw his snap-shot tipped over by Hawkins.

Sarson tried an ambitious overhead kick from the resulting corner, but connecting more with his shin than his foot, put the attempt wide.

Despite some controlled possession and attractive build-up play during the first half, the home team never seriously threatened Harrison Davison in the Stags' goal.

Gooden was introduced halfway through the first period for Jack Cornell, who hobbled off with a shin injury.

On 52 minutes, it was the dangerous attacking plaeyr who came to within inches of connecting with Jackson's mis-hit shot which bobbled out for a goal kick.

Another substitute, Riley O'Sullivan, worked the 'keeper on 69 minutes; his low curling shot, was parried around his right-hand post by Hawkins.

Gooden had looked lively since coming on, linking up well with Jackson and O'Sullivan, as well as pressing the Burton backline.

He got the rewards his handwork deserved on 70 minutes when a corner hit a Burton defender and bounced in front of him. The dangerous wideman swivelled and smashed his shot into the roof of the net to increase the Stags' lead.

He could have had another three minutes later as a slick move which involved centre-back Steve Johnson calmly bringing the ball out from the back and laying it off to O'Sullivan.

The forward took a touch before playing in Gooden who slide in only to poke his effort over the bar from around eight yards out, a chance made harder by the combination of an onrushing Hawkins and pressure from Brown.

The two players who put their stamp on the game had the game's two best attempts in the time remaining.

First, Gooden burst into the right side of the penalty and flashed his shot wide on 75 minutes, then 60 seconds later, Jackson cut inside and hit the post with a 20-yard attempt.

The Stags' ball retention and energy up front made it difficult for Burton to build up any momentum going into the final stages of the game.

Mansfield were comfortable and saw out a fifth straight win and clean sheet, therefore leapfrogging both Rotherham United and Oldham to sit top of North East Alliance on goal difference.

STAGS' XI: Davison, Weston (Gibbens, 78) Wilder (c), Cornell (Gooden, 25), Johnson, Walker, Blake (Morgan, 78), Bircumshaw, Sarson (O'Sullivan,69), Ward, Jackson


BURTON XI: Hawkins, Brown, Hutchinson, Saville, Smith, Tandy, Davies, Matthews (Vale 66), Harrison, Dowd, Clamp (Oddy, 80)

SUBS NOT USED: Cook, Fairbrother, Bromfield

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