Mansfield Town booked their place in the third round of the FA Youth Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium this evening.
Winger Irywah Gooden headed home at the back post after 54 minutes to ensure a 1-0 win for John Dempster's side.
The hosts enjoyed the better of the first half and had chances to equalise in the second period, but Stags defended well to secure safe passage to the third round.
Striker Jake Dumbleton could've made the final minutes more comfortable for Stags but couldn't convert from five yards as Mansfield held firm to qualify for the next stage.
Stags started the game the brighter of the two sides with multiple chances in the opening five minutes. Midfielder Keaton Ward's free-kick for the visitors was lifted towards the far right post and almost caught Rotherham's goalkeeper McMahon off guard. The resulting corner was spilled by McMahon and pounced upon by winger Gooden but his shot was weak and easily held.
Great work from Gooden on the right wing earned Mansfield a corner in the next passage of play. Midfielder Jack Cornell made contact and forced the 'keeper into a save.
It was the impressive Gooden again who found himself with time and space after a sprint on the right wing but he couldn't strike the ball cleanly and his effort was a simple stop for McMahon.
The Millers settled into the game and almost had the lead in the seventh minute. Centre forward Joshua Kayode did well to keep the ball as he dribbled through the Stags' defence before unleashing a low shot towards Mansfield 'keeper Xavier Sundby. Sundby pushed the ball out to edge of the area where Rotherham's Regan Hutchinson was stood but his first-time effort cannoned back off the post, much to the relief of the Stags' defenders.
There was more relief for Mansfield when referee Martin Beard waved away penalty protests from the hosts. Just before the 15th minute, Rotherham midfielder Tom Maguire tumbled under pressure from winger Nyle Blake when running towards goal from the right.
Rotherham continued to dominate as minutes later Reece McGinley chipped the ball into Kayode, but the striker couldn't get any clean contact on the cross.
Mansfield almost benefited from a defensive error when Rotherham were unable to clear their lines. From a corner, the ball landed on the edge of the area and deflected off a Millers' defender before landing at the feet of defender Aiden Walker whose shot was blocked in the crowded penalty box.
Kayode looked Rotherham's main threat as he darted at the Stags' defence once more in the 26th minute. Aiden Walker was shown a yellow card for tripping Kayode as he charged towards goal and the resulting free-kick, taken by Millers captain Lewis Murr, was directed straight at Sundby who stopped and held the powerful strike.
Shortly after the half-hour mark, the hosts won a corner after Kayode's cross was deflected wide. The corner eventually landed at the feet of Osborne who tried his luck from 25 yards out but Sundby was alert and comfortably saved the speculative effort.
The hosts continued to test the Stags' defence, right-back Mitchell Carlton's low and powerful cross turned over his own bar by defender Steve Johnson with the Millers' strikers ready to pounce. Just before the half-time break, Reece McGinley went close for Rotherham. Hutchinson's cross from the left was only half cleared to McGinley who fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area.
Following the first-half which brought chances for both sides, neither manager turned to their substitutes at the interval.
Mansfield started the second period the same way they started the first and energetic striker Riley O'Sullivan was played through one-on-one with McMahon. The Rotherham shot stopper was first to the ball but conceded a corner, which was knocked on towards Gooden. The forward's header was directed straight at McMahon from just five yards out as another chance went begging for the visitors.
Gooden didn't waste his next opportunity as Stags took the lead in the 54th minute. From a well-worked corner, he was left unmarked at the far post and his header was powered into the top right corner, out of reach of Rotherham's McMahon.
Rotherham looked for an immediate response to going behind and almost had an equaliser. After a scramble in the Mansfield goalmouth, McGinley saw his chance blocked before Hutchinson fired narrowly wide of the left post, his effort taking a slight deflection. Deegan Atherton connected with the resulting corner but his header looped over the crossbar.
Osborne tried another speculative effort, this time from 20 yards out, just after the hour mark with Sundby being alert once more, tipping the ball over.
Mansfield had a chance to double their lead minutes later as they hit back on the counter-attack with Cornell playing through goalscorer Gooden but his effort was sliced wide.
In the 65th minute, Millers' substitute Revarnelle James almost made an instant impact for the hosts, his powerful drive at Sundby was spilled before the 'keeper pounced to deny on rushing Rotherham attackers.
Left-back Akeem Hinds almost brought Rotherham level as the frame of the goal was Mansfield's saviour for the second time. Hinds found himself in plenty of space on the edge of the box and he placed his shot out of the reach of Sundby, but it hit the crossbar before going out of play.
Mansfield had a chance to put the game beyond doubt with ten minutes to go. After taking a short corner and attempting to keep possession, striker Rhys Sarson was able to dart into the box before squaring the ball across the goalmouth. The ball came to Dumbleton who needed just the slightest contact on the ball to direct it into the net but slipped and the effort went wide.
Rotherham continued to float balls into the box in a bid to create a chance that could deliver the all important equaliser to send the game to extra-time but Mansfield stood firm to see the game out and book their place in the third round.
Stags will face Premier League side Crystal Palace at One Call Stadium in the next stage.
ROTHERHAM XI: McMahon, Carlton, Hinds, Murr ©, Atherton, Bexton, McGinley, Maguire, Kayode, Osborne (Diouf 77), Hutchinson (James 63)
SUBS NOT USED: Mamboti-Mvumbi, Martin, Southern-Cooper
STAGS' XI: Sundby, Weston, Wilder ©, Cornell, Johnson, Walker, Blake, Bircumshaw (Sarson 71) Gooden (Dumbleton 67), Ward, O'Sullivan (Jackson 79)
SUBS NOT USED: Mars, Morgan
REFEREE: Martin Beard