Youth manager John Dempster says his team are ‘an absolute credit’ following last night’s spirited performance against Bournemouth in the FA Youth Cup third round.
Mansfield went 1-0 up in the clash through defender Noah Stokes, yet bowed out after a last-minute winner from Cherries’ forward Christian Saydee at Vitality Stadium.
Dempster highly praised the effort his charges showed in the narrow defeat.
Speaking after Wednesday night’s game, he said: “Today I wouldn’t be critical of anybody; they absolutely ran their socks off for the football club and they are an absolute credit to each other as a team.
“I’m really disappointed for them because in the changing room right now there’s a lot of disappointed young players.
“It was a good performance; we were excellent first half, we caused Bournemouth all sorts of problems and they struggled to play out.
“But they scored a goal from a set play and unfortunately, we conceded in the last minute which we’re disappointed with.
"Today I wouldn’t be critical of anybody; they absolutely ran their socks off for the football club and they are an absolute credit to each other as a team."
“It’s part of their learning. We need to learn to bounce back from this because we’ve got some important league games coming up but I’m really proud of the football club.”
Dempster spoke about the ‘brilliant experience’ his players gained from travelling to face a team preparing players for the Premier League.
“We travelled down yesterday on the first team coach and stayed over in a hotel, so the preparation was never in question,” he added.
“It’s a brilliant experience for these boys to have an overnight stay and see what it’s all about.
“They should be proud. They’ve come up against a Premier League outfit in terms of Bournemouth as a football club who are trying to get players in the Premier League, whereas we are trying to get players into League Two.
“It’s important that they learn how to bounce back from a massive disappointment, but they’ve got to use it to fuel them. They have to use it to motivate them [because] that’s what a senior pro would do.”
Stags’ under-18s are next in action on Saturday 15 December, when they travel to face Chesterfield under-18s at St George’s Park Graves (11am kick-off).