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Youth report: Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Stags

6 January 2018

Club News

Youth report: Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Stags

6 January 2018

Mansfield Town's under 18s extended their unbeaten run in the EFL Youth Alliance to six games with a well earned 1-1 draw away to Doncaster Rovers at Cantley Park.

The result sees Stags replace Rotherham United in second, just two points behind table-toppers Oldham Athletic with a game in hand.

An eleventh-minute goal from forward Riley O'Sullivan put Mansfield ahead after some casual defending from Doncaster, but the home team levelled just before the break through an Aiden Walker own goal.

A competitive encounter boiled over when Doncaster defender Keegan Townrow was shown a straight red for striking Rhys Sarson with a flailing arm late in the game.

The home team fielded six players who have represented the first team or played at under 23 level, so it was no surprise they looked strong throughout and enjoyed the better of the opening chances.

Their first attempt came after seven minutes when centre-forward Lewis Scattergood collected a knock down to turn and shoot, but his effort was deflected wide by Aiden Walker with goalkeeper Xavier Sundby scrambling across his line.

A minute later, a loose ball fell to left-winger Cody Prior whose 25-yard, well-struck drive whistled wide of Sundby's left-hand post.

But despite their early pressure, the home team hadn't created any clear-cut chances, and the Stags' backline were coping comfortably with the long-range attempts.

The opening goal was a combination of poor defending and clinical finishing. As Doncaster attempted to play out from the back, Riley O'Sullivan read the pass and intercepted on the edge of the penalty area.

The skilful wide-man checked back onto his favoured left foot and drilled an accurate shot low into the bottom right corner.

The goal didn't do much to change the pattern of the game however as Mansfield looked to soak up the pressure and catch Doncaster on the break.

A quick Stags' counter on 18 minutes saw the pacey Sam Jackson carry the ball from mid-way inside Mansfield's half to Doncaster's final third.

After a neat one-two with striker Iywrah Gooden, Jackson turned and curled an effort to the far post but 'keeper James Leverton was well-placed to catch the effort.

Mansfield's defence, which has served them so well this season, were under severe pressure during the final ten minutes of the half.

First, another long-range strike from Scattergood forced Sundby into a smart, one-handed save low to the 'keeper's right.

Then a committed slide tackle from Walker on Doncaster left-back Brandon Horton drew huge calls for a penalty from the home team's players, coaches and fans, but were waved away by referee Mark Madison.

Despite being caught by Walker, Horton still managed to deliver a cross which was headed over by a stretching Scattergood.

A goal was coming, and unfortunately for the magnificent Walker, a towering header from Doncaster centre-back Danny Amos on 45 minutes hit the Stags' man in the chest, and as he tried to clear, he could only help the ball into the back of the net.

The home team started the second-half as they ended the first, trying to break down a resolute Stags and they came close as Scattergood was again in the right place when a cross was whipped in from the right, but his carefully placed header smashed back off the crossbar.

The home team had settled into their passing rhythm of the first-half but after their flurry of chances either side of half-time, they failed to trouble Sundby again.

In fact, it was Mansfield who looked the brighter as some composed play in central midfield by Keaton Ward saw him release a marauding Cam Weston down the right wing.

Weston's direct running caused problems for Doncaster and as he made his way into the penalty area, cut inside on his left foot and unleashed a venomous effort which was tipped around the post by a flying Leverton.

Both teams probed for a winner but to little avail. There was time for one flashpoint, however, when second-half substitute Rhys Sarson went to challenge for the ball, Doncaster defender Keegan Townrow flung his arm in the direction of Sarson.

Referee Madison had no hesitation in sending off Townrow, and the hosts were down to ten men for the remaining eight minutes.

With Doncaster hoping to extend their own unbeaten run, the home team seemed happy to take the point at home to a Stags' team who sat nine places above them at the start of play.

The draw allowed Mansfield to leapfrog Rotherham into second place in the EFL Youth Alliance standings, with Doncaster staying eleventh.

Stags' next game is away at Grimsby Town in the league; a win would see them reclaim top spot in the table as they have a game in hand over Oldham.

STAGS XI: Sundby, Weston, Wilder, Bircumshaw (Johnson), Gibbens, Walker, Jackson (Jones 45), Cornell (Morgan 70), Gooden (Sarson 80), Ward (Dumbleton 78), O'Sullivan

DONCASTER XI: Leverton, Foulkes, Horten, James, Amos, Townrow, Olagsun (Barnett 63), Fletcher, Scattergood, Morris, Prior (Rieves 70)

SUBS NOT USED: Overton, Greaves, Ogley

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