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Youth report: York City 0-2 Stags

30 October 2017

Mansfield Town's under 18s got back to winning ways in the EFL Youth Alliance with a 2-0 victory against York City at Wigginton Road on Saturday.

The Stags were keen to bounce back after losing against Oldham Athletic last time out, whilst the home team were aiming to halt a run of five straight league defeats.

It was the visitors who secured the win thanks to a 42nd minute strike from midfielder Harry Bircumshaw and an 85th minute poacher's finish by second-half substitute Rhys Sarson.

The first opportunity came after eight minutes when midfielder Keaton Ward's driven shot from just inside the penalty area was blocked bravely by York captain Josh Rogerson.

On 19 minutes, Ward whipped in a delicious cross from the right which evaded both York centre-backs and the goalkeeper but unfortunately for the Stags, left-back Henri Wilder who came sliding in at the far post was unable to connect.

Chances were hard to come by for the home team as the Stags had the better of the first half and their first attempt on goal was a speculative 35-yard drive from left-back Zac Lawrence, which sailed way over goalkeeper Xavier Sundby's crossbar on 21 minutes.

On 24 minutes, some tricky work on the left wing by Ward ended with another dangerous cross which found its way to right-back Cameron Weston, but his low cross was gathered by goalkeeper Ryan Whitley.

Sundby had little to do which maybe explained his decision to dribble across his penalty area when under pressure from two York players.

The 37th minute saw winger Nyle Blake's run into the area end with him teeing up Bircumshaw, who dragged his shot wide of the left-hand post from 15 yards, the midfielder having a sighter before he stamped his mark on the game.

After a through ball hit a York defender, it bounced into the penalty area and Bircumshaw arrived unmarked to fire a firmly hit volley into the roof of the net on 42 minutes.

The sweetly hit strike opened the scoring and was the polar opposite of his effort from five minutes previous, enabling the Stags to go into the break with a deserved lead.

Four minutes after the restart, a Stags' corner was cleared and resulted in York having a two-on-one with Edmondson and Flynn McNaughton charging at Stags' full-back Weston.

But the two forwards couldn't take advantage as a firmly hit, waist-high pass was difficult for McNaughton to control, allowing Weston to hack clear.

Referee Liam Smith had already called the captains together after a series of heavy challenges and was forced to intervene again when Rogerson and defender Steve Johnson squared up to each other during the taking of a free-kick.

Once the free-kick was finally taken, a weak header fell to Bircumshaw, again on the edge of the area but was unable to recreate his confident finish from the first half, shooting wide from around 20 yards out.

On the hour, a sweeping counter-attack ended with a beautifully delivered low cross from Wilder which was just ahead of Blake and striker Riley O'Sullivan, who was rushing into the penalty area.

The Stags had a strong penalty appeal turned down after 71 minutes as Weston was dragged down by Lawrence, but referee Smith and his assistant John Dunwoody were well placed and gave a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Despite the Stags' dominance, it was still only 1-0 and on 75 minutes York came back into the game.

Their best attempt saw combative midfielder Harry Thompson's driven shot from the edge of the area headed clear from inside the six-yard box by Bircumshaw.

Two minutes later, another dangerous moment from York arrived when Thompson's devilish cross flashed across the area and somehow managed to evade everyone when the slightest touch would have made life very difficult for Sundby.

The home team were building pressure but the Stags were resilient, and an action-packed two minutes defined the game.

First, winger Aaron Hasnell's close-range attempt on 83 minutes was blocked then cleared and with that went York's best chance of salvaging anything.

As on 85 minutes, centre forward Rhys Sarson, who had come on for Wilder, pounced on a rebound following a save from Whitley to stab home from a couple of yards to seal the win.

Despite some pressure from the home team, the Stags were deserved winners. Sundby wasn't seriously troubled until the final 15 minutes and for better finishing, Stags could have added more to the two-goal tally.

The Stags are in FA Youth Cup action on Friday 03 November, away to Grimsby Town.

STAGS' XI: Sundby, Weston, Johnson, Cornell, Gibbens, Walker, Wilder (c) (Sarson 80), Bircumshaw (Morgan, 87), Blake, Ward (Jackson 87), O'Sullivan

SUBS NOT USED: Mars, Gooden

YORK XI: Whitley, Kemp, Lawrence, Ward, Rogerson (c), Watson, Hasnell (Harrison, 84) Thompson, Edmondson, McNaughton, Jackson

SUBS NOT USED: Dyer, Wilton, Overton, Berry


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