Senior professional development coach Richard Cooper has said there were plenty of pleasing aspects from Stags reserves’ 1-0 Central League victory over Grimsby Town reserves at RH Academy on Tuesday afternoon.
Forward Tom Fielding scored the only goal of the contest in the first half of a game in which Mansfield conceded very few chances to the opposition.
Cooper reflected on what was a dominant performance by his players, and highlighted the importance of getting the clean sheet.
“We’re pleased that we got the clean sheet,” he said. “We played some good football for large parts of the game.
“In the first half we worked on a few things, in terms of certain players getting behind their players and receiving it [the ball].
“There are loads of things we are pleased with, but as they are younger players, there are always things to work on.
“Tom [Fielding] has done well since he joined us from Leicester. He’s come in, joined up with the group and trained with the first team on a couple of occasions which is great for his confidence.
“For him to get off the mark and get his goal is really pleasing for the lad.
"We’re pleased that we got the clean sheet. We played good football for large parts of the game."
“It’s a tough scoreline at 1-0. The longer it stays 1-0, the more they are in the game and a mistake can make it end up 1-1.
“For Aiden [Walker] and Gibbo [Lewis Gibbens] as young centre-halves, it’s always good to get that clean sheet and to live through those moments towards the end of the game when defending really means something.”
The match was the second to be played at the RH Academy, which is set to be officially opened soon, after Stags’ under-18s faced Hartlepool United under-18s at the new training facility on Saturday.
Cooper spoke highly of the site, and says the club should be ‘proud’ of having such a resource.
“It [RH Academy] is superb. It’s around my fourth time up here and the surface is absolutely excellent.
“Everything that the chairman and Steve Hymas have invested in, it’s something for the club to be proud of.
“I’ve been here [at Mansfield] for quite a long while now and actually seeing it as it is, the club is definitely in a strong place.”
There are two weeks separating the win against Grimsby and Stags reserves’ next Central League fixture against Notts County, yet Cooper says there will be plenty of action for his players over the next fortnight.
“There’s a lot of football for the whole club this month,” he added. “We have the FA Youth Cup to look at as well. We’ll look at the Notts County [Central League] game in the next week or so, and start thinking about who is going to be involved.
“We have lads training with the first team all the time at the minute which is brilliant, so it just keeps everybody on their toes.
“We’ll plan the Notts County game when we have more of an idea of what’s happening in the next week or so.”
Forward Jason Law completed 90 minutes of Stags’ 1-0 win over Grimsby, and was given what seemed a free role, linking midfield and attack throughout.
“It was a good game [and] I think we dominated,” he said. “I don’t think [just] 1-0 reflected the way the game went but it’s a win and it’s nice to get some minutes.
“I used to play there [centrally], and I’ve played there a lot. It’s nice to get out there and be attacking and link up the play and get involved.”
Law also spoke of the impressive RH Academy and says that the new facility will be a huge factor in the younger players’ development at the club.
“[It’s an] excellent facility. The 3G pitch is brilliant and the [grass] pitches look like they’ve come along nicely. The changing rooms are [also] excellent.
“It will be brilliant getting us all together at the new training ground, in and around the first team, and hopefully it will help our development.”
Stags’ reserves are next in action against Notts County reserves on Tuesday 30 October.