After finding themselves two goals down inside the first half-an-hour, Stags’ under-18s produced a sensational second half comeback to beat Grimsby Town under-18s 3-2 at Blundell Park in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday evening.
Grimsby took a two-nil lead into half-time courtesy of goals from Kyle Richardson and Tom Jamieson, but three second half strikes ensured Mansfield’s progression into the second round of the competition.
Tyrese Sinclair got a goal back for the Stags with a wonderful free kick less than ten minutes after the restart, before substitute Rhys Sarson equalised late on.
Riley O’Sullivan rounded off the comeback two minutes later to send the Stags into the next round of the FA Youth Cup after a thrilling game of football.
The game nearly started perfectly for the Stags, when in the fourth minute defender Jamie Chisholmconnected well with a set piece, but his effort was saved by Grimsby ‘keeper Oliver Battersby.
Only four minutes later and Grimsby looked to be in on goal, however Mansfield ‘keeper Keaton Marrs was quickest to the ball to clear the danger.
Defender Lewis Davis then did excellently for Mansfield to block Conley Poynter’s goal-bound effort only seconds later as the hosts threatened.
At the other end, right-back Larrell King did well to deliver a dangerous looking cross, however striker Jimmy Knowles’ effort went just wide.
The Stags produced an excellent move which concluded with forward Tyrese Sinclair delivering a tempting cross into the Grimsby area, however the hosts got rid of any danger promptly.
The Mariners took the lead on minute 22 after a scramble in the box from a corner led to Grimsby being awarded a penalty kick, which was converted by midfielder Richardson.
Just before the half hour mark, Grimsby doubled their lead after Jamieson was played through on goal and fired the ball into the bottom left, leaving Marrs with no chance.
Mansfield responded well with Sinclair finding James Tague in space, whose left-footed drive towards goal was well held by Battersby.
The second half started brightly for the Stags, and on minute 53 Jimmy Knowles was brought down after a fantastic run through the centre of the pitch winning a free kick on the edge of the area.
Sinclair stepped up, and as he has done so previously this season, found the bottom corner with pinpoint accuracy to pull a goal back for the visitors.
Mansfield’s pressure continued, and two minutes later Sinclair beat his man on the left wing and put in a decent cross which Grimsby managed to clear.
On minute 64, Sinclair again did well to turn and get his shot off quickly, but his powerful long-range effort was well saved by Battersby.
The Stags’ appeals for a penalty were quickly waved away by referee Jamie Rhodes 20 minutes from time - much to the hosts’ relief - after Sinclair was brought down in the box.
O’Sullivan found space on the right side to strike from range, however his effort was deflected straight into Battersby’s hands.
On minute 84, the Stags equalised after left-back Davis’ long ball was controlled excellently by substitute Sarson, who turned and fired into the bottom right corner to deservedly level the score.
Only two minutes later, and Mansfield’s second half pressure paid off, after a corner fell to the feet of O’Sullivan, who fired home to complete a magnificent second half comeback.
On the brink of full-time, Grimsby put the ball in the back of the net themselves, however they were denied by the linesman’s flag to keep the score at 3-2 to Mansfield.
The Stags held out to beat the Mariners after a thrilling second half comeback at Blundell Park, meaning they progress to the second round of the FA Youth Cup.
STAGS XI: Marrs, King, Davis, Cornell, Armsden, Chisholm, Sinclair, Saunders (Sarson 81’), Knowles, Tague, O’Sullivan (Langton 90’).
UNUSED SUBS: Boyle, Ingram, Stokes.
GRIMSBY XI: Battersby, Jamieson, Pollock, Powles, Saunders, Starbuck, Richardson (McPherson 87’), Curran, Poynter (Painter 57’), Buckley (Adlard 90’), Burrell.
UNUSED SUBS: Stead, Davey.
REFEREE: Jamie Rhodes
ASSISTANTS: Jack Wilkin & William Dodds
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Pete Jagger