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Youth report: Stags 1-1 Rotherham United

2 October 2017

Mansfield Town's under 18s were held to a 1-1 draw by a resilient Rotherham United side as both teams defended their EFL Youth Alliance unbeaten records at Rainworth Miners Welfare on Saturday.

A 23rd-minute close-range header from centre-back Lewis Gibbens put the Stags ahead only for the visitors to pull level six minutes from time with another close-range finish, this time from second-half sub Tyrone Lewthwaite.

Both had identical records before the game, winning three and drawing two, so the encounter was predictably tight.

The first meaningful action came courtesy of Stags' winger Iyrwah Gooden after seven minutes when his tricky run into the box ended with a shot which went across the six-yard box and out for a goal-kick.

Rotherham captain Lewis Murr had the visitors' best effort of the half after 18-minutes when his left-footed drive was blocked by Walker, and the rebound scrambled away by the Stags' defence.

Stags' frontman Rhys Sarson forced Rotherham 'keeper George McMahon into action after 21 minutes when he found himself unmarked on the edge of the box, but his low effort was parried away.

With the pressure building, the breakthrough duly came after 23 minutes. Stags won a corner and it was met by a powerful Lewis Gibbens header from inside the six-yard box.

The visitors had a strong penalty appeal turned away by referee Minesh Gupta two minutes later, as Kayode appeared to be pulled back by goalscorer Gibbens.

Gooden was causing problems for the visitors and almost made it 2-0 after 33 minutes. He stretched for a ball at the back post but headed just wide while off-balance.

Just before the half-time whistle, frontman Riley O'Sullivan dragged a left footed shot wide from the right of the penalty area in the last of the first-half action.

The first real chance of the second half saw Rotherham go close after 49 minutes when Kayode's toe-poked effort was smothered at close range by Stags' goalkeeper Xavier Sundby; it was the first time the Stags' 'keeper had been involved in the game.

Just after the hour, another controversial moment arrived for the referee to deal with. Millers' 'keeper McMahon handled a through ball outside the area with Sarson in pursuit but after some deliberation, he was only shown a yellow card.

Slick interplay between second half substitute Lewthwaite and Osborne on 71 minutes ended with a through ball which split the Stags' defence.

It fell to McGinley who tried to slide the ball home from the corner of the six-yard box, only to be met by a smart save down to his right by Sundby.

With just six minutes remaining, second-half substitute Tyrone Lewthwaite swept in a right-footed strike from six yards after McGinley's free-kick, leaving Sundby with no-chance.

In the final minute striker Jake Dumbleton, who had come on for Sarson, prodded wide form O'Sullivan's cut-back, the awkward attempt nothing more than a half-chance for the centre-forward.

That 90th-minute effort was the last of the game as the Stags' unbeaten run continued with a second consecutive draw.

View the EFL Youth Alliance table here.

STAGS' XI: Sundby, Weston, Wilder (c), Cornell, Gibbens, Walker, Gooden (Blake 70), Bircumshaw, Sarson (Dumbleton 80), Ward, O'Sullivan

SUBS NOT USED: Mars, Tague, Johnson

Thank you to Mick Gretton, of Arnold Town Football Club, for the match photographs.

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