Stags’ reserves ran out 3-1 winners of an entertaining contest against Morecambe at The RH Academy on Tuesday afternoon.
Nyle Blake opened the scoring in the first-half, before Sam Dalby equalised for the visitors just over five minutes before the break.
Mansfield emerged as the more dominant of the two sides in the second period, and strikes from Kian Sketchley and Tyrese Sinclair secured the victory.
Senior professional development coach Richard Cooper named a youthful side for the clash, including many regulars from John Dempster’s under-18 side.
There was an early chance for set-piece specialist Sinclair, who forced a good save from Shrimps’ goalkeeper Dawid Szczepaniak following his powerful free-kick.
Chances were limited for either side in the opening moments, with the first chance for the visitors arriving just before the 15-minute mark.
Space opened up for Rhys Oates just outside the area, but the attacker dragged his shot wide of the mark.
Forward Riley O’Sullivan was key in keeping the scores level as he was positioned well to scoop a certain goal off the line.
This piece of incredible defending proved to be pivotal, as Blake opened the scoring just two minutes later.
The ball bounced kindly for the forward following a Mansfield corner, and he was on hand to prod the Stags into the lead.
Mansfield maintained the pressure and once again threatened from a corner. This time the chance fell to Jimmy Knowles, whose venomous half-volley produced a fine reflex save from Szczepaniak.
Goalscorer Blake was to be replaced soon after, as he was stopped in his tracks because of what seemed like a hamstring injury, meaning Sketchley was to take his place.
The change did not upset Stags’ fluidity, as a slick passing move led to James Tague firing just over the bar from outside the area.
Morecambe, however, remained resilient, and were rewarded with the equaliser just over five minutes from half-time. The ball fell kindly to Dalby, who produced a textbook finish to Sam Wilson’s far post.
Mansfield nearly regained the lead before half-time as Knowles danced past his marker and fired marginally wide from a tight angle.
Just after the restart, the Stags found goal number two. Sketchley ran onto O’Sullivan’s well-placed cut-back and finished with a ferocious strike from just inside the area.
Knowles was looking evermore lively and saw a string of chances fall his way. He saw his first-time effort well blocked by Josh Williams, before failing to make the desired connection from Tague’s well-placed through ball.
The striker looked to be one-on-one with Szczepaniak following Sinclair’s inch-perfect pass, but was halted by the linesman’s offside flag.
There was a half-chance for Ben Hedley as he opened up to shoot from distance, yet he saw his effort sail over Wilson’s crossbar.
At the other end, O’Sullivan saw his strike saved by the legs of Szczepaniak after Sinclair found the forward with a precise pass.
Morecambe had a huge chance to equalise for the second time late in the game. Tom Moore found himself unmarked at the back post, yet managed to head over the bar from less than three yards out.
The Stags made Morecambe pay for the mistake by adding a third goal in stoppage time. Sinclair found space in the area and rifled home an emphatic finish to cap off a fine performance.
It was a deserved victory for a young Mansfield side, who created chances aplenty and remained resolute throughout the majority of the clash.
Mansfield are next in Central League action on Tuesday 19 February at home to Doncaster Rovers. A venue for this fixture will be announced in due course.
STAGS’ XI: Wilson, Armsden, Walker, Wilder, King, Bircumshaw, Tague, O’Sullivan, Sinclair, Blake (Sketchley 32’), Knowles (Molyneaux 89’).
UNUSED SUBS: Marrs, Saunders, Cashmore.
MORECAMBE XI: Szczepaniak, Cannon-Noren, Williams, Brownsword, Moore, McKay, Obasoto, Hedley, Dalby, Collins, Oates.
UNUSED SUBS: Jumeau, Twiname, Price, Djau, Bakare.