Mansfield Town's head of academy coaching Mark Peters has said he couldn't be more pleased with the under-18s team as they close in on another EFL Youth Alliance league title.
The Stags overcame a potentially tricky encounter with third-placed Oldham Athletic on Wednesday, running out comfortable 4-0 winners at Brooksby Melton College.
“We're pleased with the boys and very impressed with the performance as Oldham have been one of the strongest academies we've played against over the past few years,” said Peters.
“The boys dominated possession, and we feel we could have had more goals so overall, really pleasing performance.
“We had a collective plan as to how we were going to start the game and how we were going to dominate possession, and the boys implemented it perfectly. Once we'd scored a couple of goals we kept possession, which we've done brilliantly.
“There were some good individual performances, but as a team, they were excellent.”
Oldham are the only team to have beaten Mansfield this season, winning 2-1 at the Chapel Road Training Ground back in mid-October, a game Peters believes was crucial in Stags' season.
“They played really well on the day, but the game was a turning point for us. Since then we've been unbeaten in the league, even the cup games we've lost have been on penalties, so fair play to the players and the squad - they're on a great run, and it's our job to keep it going until the end of the season,” he said.
The defeat acted as a wake-up call for the Stags, who won six consecutive league games without conceding a goal after the loss. Peters believes the diligent defensive work from the whole team has been a key factor in Stags' climb up the table.
“It's a cliché but defending starts from the front, and we ask our forwards and wide players to do a lot of work and that makes everyone's life a little easier,” he added. “That's only 12 goals conceded all season, and it has to be to the credit to the defensive unit.
“When players have got injured other players have stepped in and again, maintained the clean sheets, and that's what we wanted, to be hard to beat. The fact that we're scoring a lot of goals is down to the staff and all the players working together to come up with ideas as to how to be creative in the final third.
“There have been players who have impressed enough to train with the first team and players who are so reliable that they can come in for games like today. We trust the players, and that's a massive compliment to them, they deliver on a weekly basis so as a unit going forward we couldn't be more pleased with them.”