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Youth boss pleased with Stags' second-half comeback

26 March 2018

Stags' academy manager John Dempster was left pleased by his side's second-half display against Burton, but conceded that his players could have won the game with the chances they had.

Mansfield came from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw thanks to captain Henri Wilder's 87th-minute strike, which maintains their position at the summit of the EFL Youth Alliance table. 

After a feast of goals in the last home game, Stags came up against an organised Burton Albion, and a repeat of the 8-1 win against Scunthorpe United was always going to be unlikely.

A competitive encounter saw a couple of flashpoints, and despite an improved second-half showing, Dempster believes his team could have dealt with the physicality of the game differently.

"Burton came with a game plan to play forward quickly and to be physical which is what you'd expect and what happens at League Two level," he said.

"But I thought our boys would deal with it better than they did. It was a good battle, but I expect more.

"I was pleased that our performance improved second-half, if you have better possession and play the ball forward with more quality you'll get more opportunities because you're gaining territory.

"I think the first-half we lacked quality but had chances to win the game in the second half, but equally so did Burton.

"It was blood and thunder which was a good experience for the boys, but I'd expect them to deal with it.

"I don't want to discredit our lads too much, but we have to do better."

Dempster also spoke of the opportunities that some of his players have been given with the first team, but explained that they will only continue if the standard of football remains high at under-18 level.

"A lot of the boys were training with the first team on Thursday and did well," he added.

"The manager spoke to them and said you've got to keep your standards high in under-18s football because it's alright going to the first team and training well but when it comes to under-18s football we expect them to be the best.

"They haven't had a great deal of interaction with the first team staff for 18 months, and they want to see a pathway open up.

"It's okay the pathway opening up, but you have to do the business on a weekly basis, we fell short today but overall the boys have been a credit, and hopefully we improve."

The under-18s are next in action away at Scunthorpe United on April 7.

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