Academy manager John Dempster says that his side will be taking a ‘game by game’ approach to this season, after a positive start to their third successive title defence continued with a 3-1 victory away against Oldham under-18s.
Stags currently sit top of the EFL Youth Alliance North East division on goal difference, as Dempster’s side look to win their fourth successive title.
Speaking after his side’s win, he explained the ‘game by game’ approach that Mansfield will take this season, and paid credit to his ‘excellent’ coaching staff.
“Overall, I’m really pleased,” he said. “I thought we pressed well from the front, won the ball high up and created some great opportunities.
“[We are] disappointed to concede a goal from a set play again so back to the drawing board with that one. That’s something we’ll look into this week, but overall, really pleased with the performance.
“We do take it game by game to be honest. Then, from how we perform in that game, we work out what we need to work on during the following week – and that’s how we’ve done it over the last three seasons.
“Because we have excellent coaches at the academy - and we’ve had some really good players who we’ve brought in and who took things on board - the results in terms of performance levels have been brilliant, and the knock-on effect of that is winning football matches.
"We do take it game by game to be honest. Then, from how we perform in that game, we work out what we need to work on during the following week – and that’s how we’ve done it over the last three seasons."
“It’s not the be-all and end-all at under-18 football to win football matches, but because of the excellent coaches we have at the academy that has been the end result.”
In Saturday’s win, striker Rhys Sarson opened the scoring from the penalty spot, before setting up Jimmy Knowles for the first of his two goals. After the game, youth boss Dempster spoke of how they had worked hard with both forwards during the week.
“We’ve worked hard this week with Rhys and Jimmy linking up,” added Dempster. “They could almost be described as the old-fashioned kind of a partnership, with a big powerful centre forward alongside someone who enjoys running in behind.
“We’ve worked hard on getting the ball into Rhys and Jimmy linking off him, [with them both] combining in and around the penalty area, and I think it worked today at times.
“Jimmy was excellent today and got his rewards with two goals – [he] could have maybe had a hat-trick - and Rhys took his penalty well, so overall really pleased.”
Stags’ next scheduled EFL Youth Alliance fixture is against Rotherham United under-18s on Saturday 22 September.