Academy manager John Dempster has described the nature of his side’s narrow 2-1 defeat to Scunthorpe United under-18s as a ‘good test’ in terms of his players’ experience and development.
Mansfield dominated the vast majority of Friday's contest and took the lead through Tyrese Sinclair’s free-kick, but conceded two late goals, both scored by striker Levi Gallimore, giving The Iron all three points at Brumby Hall.
Dempster and his side were ‘disappointed’ with the result, but the manager was keen to point out that games like this are a learning experience for his team.
“We always do a long talk after the game, win, lose or draw – a debrief – both positives and negatives,” he said.
“It’s important that the boys realise what they’ve done well, and what they need to work on.
“For the boys’ experience and development, it was a really good test, but [we’re] disappointed with the result.
“In the second-half we managed to get a few of the substitutes on and one of the messages was that if you are a substitute, [see if you] can you impact the game in a positive way.
“I’m not sure the subs did that today, so all round a disappointing afternoon but lots to learn.
"For the boys’ experience and development, it was a really good test, but [we’re] disappointed with the result."
“There’s lots to work on, and if the boys can continue to develop over the coming months then the coaches and I will be happy.”
The referee had some important decisions to make during the game, awarding two second-half penalties, one for either side.
Dempster was quick to acknowledge that he thought the referee had got both key decisions correct.
“The referee got both of them right. The [Scunthorpe] centre forward was quite clever, equally with Kamen [Cashmore], he got good possession in the opposite box, was very clever and waited for the defender to make a move, and when he did, he went down.
“But there was definitely contact there, so from the referee’s point of view, I think he got both decisions correct.”
Stags’ under-18s are next in action on Saturday against Burton Albion under-18s in their first Youth Alliance Cup fixture of the new campaign.