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Youth report: Stags 4-2 York City

24 February 2018

Mansfield Town's under 18s maintained their position at the summit of the EFL Youth Alliance North East Division with an entertaining 4-2 win against York City at Rainworth Miners Welfare on Saturday afternoon.

The Stags saw off a late fight-back to take all three points in a game which saw striker Riley O'Sullivan score twice, with a cool penalty from midfielder Keaton Ward and a driven finish from inside the box by Nyle Blake completing the scoring.

The visitors hit back in the final minutes with captain John Rogerson heading in from close range and a spectacular long-range drive from second-half substitute Nathan Dyer.

The victory keeps Mansfield top of the league and halted York's run of four straight league wins.

Academy manager John Dempster tweaked his line-up with Blake starting the game at right-back and centre-forward Rhys Sarson leading the line with Ward playing a slightly deeper midfield role than the more attacking position he's been used in this season.

The game's first opportunity wasn't long in coming as dangerous wideman Iyrwah Gooden latched onto Lewis Gibbens' accurate long pass but volleyed his attempt wide after four minutes.

O'Sullivan had a sighter not long after; his tame attempt was comfortable for Ryan Whitley in the York goal after some confident approach play by the forward.

Striker O'Sullivan was dangerous throughout and grabbed the goal his early display deserved after nine minutes, tapping in on the line after a knock-down fell perfectly for him.

York didn't offer much in the first 45 minutes, some close control and a sharp volley from Aston Harrison which was straight at Xavier Sundby and was the best the visitors could muster.

On the half-hour, Whitley was called into action again, this time by midfielder Harry Bircumshaw who was played in by Rhys Sarson.

His low shot was parried by the 'keeper and frantically hacked away by Zac Lawrence before Gooden could nip in.

The moment which put Stags in control came courtesy of the penalty spot as Rogerson handled Sarson's chipped pass with referee Craig Hammond pointing to the spot.

Ward stepped up and confidently placed the ball to his right, sending Whitley the wrong way and giving Stags a two-goal cushion on 41 minutes.

York began the second half positively as Flynn McNaughton fired over from inside the area on 54 minutes then two minutes later, Harrison scuffed his half-volley straight at Sundby from around six yards.

However, Mansfield put the game beyond doubt ten minutes later when Blake raced onto Sarson's clever through pass and smashed the ball into the roof of the net from inside the box.

On 70 minutes, a slip from a goal-kick allowed Sarson to have a clear run through on goal, but the striker missed his lobbed attempt which bounced wide.

With five minutes remaining, O'Sullivan took a leaf from Blake's book when he latched onto another knock-down from a Ward corner by lashing in a fierce drive from inside the box which again flew into the roof of the net.

Stags were four up and cruising to another victory at home after winning their last five games on home soil.

But York rallied late on to make it a nervy few minutes for the hosts. Rogerson sought some amends for his handball in the first half by heading in from close range after a corner.

The goal which made it 4-2 was a sweetly struck, long-range drive from second-half sub Nathan Dyer which flew past Sundby into the top left corner, with the 'keeper unable to do nothing about the shot.

It made the final few moments interesting as the visitors pushed for another, but they left it too late as Mansfield's defence stood firm and the forward players ran the clock down at the other end of the pitch.

The referee's whistle blew and another convincing performance saw the Stags maintain their position at the top of the league.

Their next match will be an anticipated top-of-the-table encounter with fellow title challengers Oldham Athletic, the team who inflicted the Stags' last league defeat back in mid-October.

STAGS' XI: Sundby, Blake, Johnson, Bircumshaw, Gibbens, Walker, Wilder (c), Ward, Sarson (Cashmore, 78), Gooden (Tague, 74), O'Sullivan

SUBS NOT USED: Mars, Sinclair, Purvin

YORK XI: Whitley, Kemp, Lawrence, Haswell, Rogerson (c), Watson, Berry (Dyer, 77), Thompson, McNaughton, Harrison (Overton, 68), Steels


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