Academy manager John Dempster says the attitude of the Stags’ under-18s players was ‘extraordinary,’ as his side overturned a two-goal deficit to emerge as 3-2 winners over Grimsby Town under-18s in the first round of the FA Youth Cup.
Mansfield went into half-time trailing 2-0 after goals by Kyle Richardson and Tom Jamieson, but second half strikes from Tyrese Sinclair, Rhys Sarson and Riley O’Sullivan ensured Stags’ passage into the second round.
Dempster was delighted with his team’s performance at Blundell Park, and cited the belief that his players had as the reason for the impressive comeback.
“I thought it [performance] was exceptional,” he said. “We were very unlucky to be going in at half-time two-nil down.
“It’s probably the best we have played this season even against Grimsby, who we have played twice already this season and done well against.
“I said to the boys at half-time that I was really pleased with the actual performance, and that if we got an early goal it could prove to be interesting. It turned out that it was the case.
“I think that the attitude, application and belief from the players today was extraordinary. I’m very proud.
“Mike Whitlow did most of the talking [at half-time]. He just asked for more of the same. If we got the performance from the first half, he believed that we would get back in it.
“It was about the players believing that, and they did. Rhys Sarson was exceptional when he came on, scored a brilliant goal and played his part in the winner as well.
"I think that the attitude, application and belief from the players today was extraordinary. I’m very proud."
“Overall, I wouldn’t want to single anybody out, because the team performance was exceptional today.”
Looking ahead to the next round of the competition, Dempster spoke of the difficulty of any tie, no matter which team his under-18s will come up against.
“It [performance in the FA Youth Cup] will depend on who we get in the next round, but it will be very difficult.
“I think we are due to get either Chester or Barnsley in the next round, depending on how they get on Thursday. Whoever we get in the next round, we know it will be a difficult tie.”
Stags’ under-18s are next in action when they face Huddersfield Town under-18s at home on Saturday 10 November, with a venue yet to be confirmed for this fixture. Keep a look out on mansfieldtown.net for any updates.