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Youth report: Oldham Athletic 2-1 Stags

16 October 2017

Mansfield Town's under 18s' unbeaten run came to an end as they were defeated 2-1 by Oldham Athletic in Saturday's EFL Youth Alliance clash at the Chapel Road Training Ground.

Two goals from midfielder Cuinedu Uche was enough for the home team to record a sixth straight league win, with centre-back Aiden Walker pulling one back for the visitors just before the hour.

The defeat ends a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions for the Stags, who rallied in the second half but couldn't force the equaliser.

The Stags did start brightly as winger Nyle Blake's run and cross after 16 minutes forced Oldham 'keeper Joe Boyling to parry the ball back into the penalty area and then scramble to collect with frontman Rhys Sarson lurking nearby.

Four minutes later, there was a mix-up in Oldham's defence as a through ball caused Boyling to venture outside the penalty area; his kick smashed against the back of Harry Norris and the ball looped into the air. Just as Stags' wideman Iywrah Gooden went to chest it down, the winger appeared to be barged in the back by Jay Sheridan, but strong claims for a penalty were waved away by the referee.

The first goal came on 22 minutes after a quick counter by the home team saw a surging run into the area by Max Norman, who drew the Stags' defence towards him before playing in an unmarked Uche who passed the ball into the bottom left corner.

The home side had settled after a tight opening twenty minutes and looked dangerous again just after the half-hour mark.

Another powerful run into the penalty area, this time by right winger Franky Antoine ended with his well hit drive being parried by Stags' goalkeeper Xavier Sundby, with the rebound cleared off the line by covering left-back Henri Wilder.

The momentum was certainly with Oldham, and on 32 minutes. Sundby made an uncharacteristic mistake as his weak punch fell to the feet of Sheridan who stabbed his attempt over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box.

On 35 minutes the home team demonstrated their strength from set-pieces as a corner was whipped in straight into the path of Tom Hamer, whose glancing header sailed wide.

The Stags needed some respite, and the hard working Blake provided that by setting up a shooting chance for midfielder Keaton Ward.

The midfielder's 20-yard drive deflected off a defender and bounced wide of the left-hand post and out for a corner after a darting run and smart cut-back from Blake.

The resulting corner was met by Aiden Walker who, from eight yards, got underneath the ball and saw it loop over the bar.

On 44 minutes, the game completely opened up as midfielder Declan Baldwin drove through a huge gap in the middle of the pitch.

He passed to Norman, and after some neat footwork, the tricky centre-forward's effort was deflected just wide for a corner with Sundby scrambling across his line.

The corner led to another half-chance for Oldham and the last action of the half, when captain Hamer again won the aerial duel, only to see his glancing his header go high and wide.

After 52 minutes, Stags were given a warning of what was to come when Uche was played in again.

The midfielder was looking for his second and his well-hit drive from inside the area was blocked by a committed, last ditch block from Wilder.

Just two minutes later, the second goal arrived for Oldham and for Uche. A cross was whipped in by right-back Andy Hackett which hit the onrushing Uche on the hip, wrong-footing Sundby and bobbled over the line.

It was unfortunate for the Stags; the deflection took the pace off the ball which sent it into the right corner with Sundby moving in the opposite direction.

Being 2-0 down away at a team who had won five games in succession could have been an excuse for the Stags to throw in the towel, but it wasn't the case as the away team rallied.

On 57 minutes, the Stags hit back when a long throw was flicked on by Blake and bundled in from close range by Walker for his second goal in as many games.

After the introduction of midfielder James Tague and frontman Kamen Cashmore and a tactical switch which saw Ward move out wide, the Stags looked threatening and ended the game strongly.

Some determined work by Blake on 65 minutes saw the winger try and carve out a shooting chance, but his wild shot flew across the penalty area and bounced just wide of the corner flag.

With five minutes remaining, Gibbens' header from inside the six-yard box was blocked by Sheridan and Boyling made a couple of smart saves, parrying a Wilder header and blocking another Gibbens effort on 87 minutes.

There was still time for Oldham's second-half sub Tommy Lent to fire over from the edge of the box in injury time; the effort was the last of the action as Oldham held on to win 2-1.

STAGS' XI: Sundby, Weston (Cashmore, 72) Wilder (c), Cornell, Gibbens (Morgan 86), Walker, Gooden (Johnson, 82) Bircumshaw, Sarson (Tague, 55) Ward, Blake


OLDHAM XI: Boyling, Hackett (Lent 83), Sheridan, Baldwin (Amankwaa, 68) Hamer, Norris, Antoine, Uche, Norman, Arthur, Dry

SUBS NOT USED: Whalley, McFarlane, Sheriff

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