Stags’ under-18s displayed a dominant performance against Notts County in a fiercely-contested match at RH Academy on Friday evening, winning by a 3-0 scoreline.
Captain James Tague put the Stags in front with an excellent strike into the top left corner before County went down to ten men following a rash challenge from midfielder Charlie Wilde on substitute Joao Rangel.
Second half goals from forwards Tyrese Sinclair and Jimmy Knowles capped off a fine performance from Mansfield as they secured the three points in style.
Forward Tyreace Palmer had the first chance of the game for County after he was played through, however his effort was straight at Stags’ ‘keeper Keaton Marrs, who held the ball well.
It was in the fourth minute of the game that Mansfield took the lead with their first strike at goal. Tague rifled the ball into the top corner with a spectacular effort after possession fell to him on the edge of the area.
Mansfield kept up the early pressure, and striker Rhys Sarson tried his luck range, with County ‘keeper Max Culverwell fumbling the ball out for a corner, which was defended well by the visitors.
On minute 14, Tague whipped in an excellent cross to the back post, which forward Sinclair was agonisingly close to nodding in if not for Culverwell tipping the ball out of play for a Stags’ corner.
In the 28th minute, Jimmy Knowles found himself with the ball on the right side, taking it past his marker with ease and striking his effort just wide into the side netting.
Moments later and Sinclair won possession in County’s half before driving with the ball to the edge of the box, striking a swerving effort which flew marginally over the bar.
Winger Leo Marshall came close for the visitors when his left-footed in-swinging cross was on target, but Marrs was there to collect the ball safely for Mansfield.
In the 33rd minute, midfielder Wilde was sent off for Notts County after a rash challenge on substitute Rangel, who required treatment following the tackle and was subsequently substituted for Matty Langton.
The Stags went in at the break a goal to the good courtesy of a brilliant strike from the skipper Tague after a first half battle at RH Academy.
Mansfield deservedly doubled their lead through Sinclair early in the second half, who finished excellently from close range following a low cross into the box.
Moments later a quickly taken free-kick from Sinclair released Knowles, who held the ball well and turned brilliantly before firing a strike across goal which was saved well by Culverwell.
Sinclair was in the thick of the action once again, this time dribbling through the visitors’ defence before being brought down to win a penalty for Mansfield. Knowles stepped up for the Stags and dispatched the spot kick superbly, smashing the ball into the top left corner.
County almost responded instantly, with substitute Coden Duncan running at the Mansfield goal, however his effort was straight at Marrs who saved easily.
On minute 67, substitute Kion Etete ran through the Stags’ defence before finding space to take a shot which looked certain to be going in, if not for an excellent goal line clearance from defender Kian Sketchley.
County had another decent chance only a minute later, when substitute Cameron Smith was played through by Etete, however his effort soared over the bar.
Etete went close for the visitors once again, when he picked the ball up on the left side and looked to curl his effort into the top right corner, with the ball flying just wide of the post.
Notts County captain Oscar Ramirez hit an effort from the edge of the box late on, however his strike was well over the bar as Mansfield held out to keep yet another clean sheet.
STAGS’ XI: Marrs, Stokes, Sketchley, Cornell (Saunders 88’), Armsden, Chisholm, Sinclair, Tague, Sarson (Rangel 23’)*, Knowles, O’Sullivan.
*Replaced by Langton on 36 minutes.
UNUSED SUBS: Boyle, Davis.
NOTTS COUNTY XI: Culverwell, Irvine, Kennedy-Williams (Etete 46’), Ramirez, Betts, Altaf, Marshall, Wilde, Cummings (Duncan 46’), Bucalossi, Palmer (Smith 64’).
UNUSED SUBS: Brooks, Simmons.
REFEREE: Niall Birtt.
ASSISTANTS: Jack Lazyell & Kieran Shaw.