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Youth report: Wrexham 1-4 Stags

18 September 2017

Mansfield Town made it back-to-back EFL Youth Alliance Cup victories on Saturday as they comprehensively beat Welsh side Wrexham 4-1.

Goals from strikers Jack Cornell and Rhys Sarson, defender Aiden Walker and a sublime effort by winger Irywah Gooden ensured Stags eased to victory, despite Wrexham midfielder Scott McHarry scoring a late free-kick.

It was an energetic start to the encounter, with the first few minutes full of shots and hard tackles. The first of which came from the Wrexham midfielder Matt Sergent, who volleyed a loose ball straight into midfielder Harry Bircumshaw on the edge of the box.

A number of top class tackles were made by captain Henri Wilder and fellow defender Lewis Gibbens. In just the third minute, Wilder executed a perfectly-timed challenge to dispossess Wrexham forward Cameron McGregor in the box.

The first real chance of the game came in the six minute as Iywrah Gooden sent an inch-perfect through ball forward to striker Riley O'Sullivan who successfully rounded the 'keeper, but his touch took him just wide of the goal and the resulting cross didn't have enough power on it to reach Rhys Sarson who was waiting in the box.

Following this chance, Mansfield settled into the game and began to dominate proceedings. Just five minutes later, Gooden was on the ball again and he played a ball over the top to O'Sullivan, who attempted to round the goalkeeper but was halted well by Dragons' goalkeeper Owen Kirkham.

The Stags' first shot on target came in the 13th minute as a seven-pass move ended in a powerful effort from forward Nyle Blake but it was straight at the Wrexham number one.

The game's pace refused to slow down as a penalty shout emerged from another spell of attacking from the Stags. A cluster of bodies attacked a loose ball in the box but the referee's view was blocked and nothing was given.

Wrexham managed their first chance of the game in the 20th minute when midfielder Matt Sergent hit a ball first time, forcing Stags' goalkeeper Xavier Sundby to dive but it was dragged wide of the post.

The fast paced nature of the game continued as it developed into a midfield battle. In the 30th minute came the first booking of the game as Gibbens was put into the book for being slightly late to a 50/50 challenge.

The booking seemed to spur on hard challenges as hard but fair tackles started flying in all over the pitch.

Striker Jack Cornell broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute as a goal-mouth scramble fell perfectly to the young frontman and he made no mistake of hammering the ball into the top left of the Wrexham goal.

Just three minutes later, Mansfield added a second as Rhys Sarson latched onto a misplaced back-pass, taking the goalkeeper out of the game entirely, and easily placed the ball into the bottom corner of an open goal.

As the second half kicked off, Wrexham looked the more lively side as possession was mainly in the Mansfield half.

However, the Stags soon re-found their rhythm and in the 54th minute, Sarson sent a delightful cross to the back post which was met by defender Aiden Walker but his header was unable to trouble Wrexham goalkeeper Owen Kirkham.

One minute later, Wrexham had a chance to pull a goal back with a free-kick in a dangerous position. Winger Sam Pilkington took charge of the situation but fired the ball over the crossbar.

The next real goal-scoring opportunity was in the 65th minute as Sarson and Gooden played an intricate one-two to split the Wrexham defence, but the young number seven sliced his shot just past the right-hand post.

In the 70th minute, Nyle Blake picked up the ball for a throw-in on the edge of the Wrexham box. The forward hurled the ball into the box and the Wrexham shot-stopper completely mis-timed his attempt to collect the high throw, completely missing the ball and consequently providing Aiden Walker with another open goal to nod in an easy header.

Just like the previous two goals, the Stags' second two came in quick succession. Academy manager John Dempster's side's fourth from Iywrah Gooden was something special. Wrexham only half-cleared the ball and it fell to Gooden 25 yards from goal and he hit the ball first time with the outside of his boot put it exactly in the top right-hand corner, giving the 'keeper no chance.

After going 4-0 in front, Mansfield defended well as they looked to preserve a clean sheet, however they handed Wrexham a great opportunity from a free-kick in the dying minutes.

Midfielder Scott HcHarry stepped up and curled a wonderful effort into the top corner, out of the reach of Sundby in the Stags' goal.

The referee then called time on the affair and Stags secured another excellent Cup victory to add to their impressive win over Burton Albion last month.

WREXHAM XI: Kirkham, Williams, Barrett, Thame, Stephens, McHenry, Burrows, Pilkington, Sergent, Buckley, McGregor.

SUBS: Rigby, Allshorn, Thorn, Beumont, Bickenstaff

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

SUBS: Mars, Tague, Briggs, Dumbleton, Johnson

REFEREE: Simon Richmond

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