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Match Reports

Youth report: Stags 4-2 Rotherham United

13 November 2019

Academy coaches Simon Ward (left), Mike Whitlow and Jamie McGuire (right)

Mansfield Town under-18s progressed to the Third Round of the FA Youth Cup after a dramatic 4-2 victory over Rotherham United at One Call Stadium.

Two goals late in extra time from Rio Molyneaux and substitute Ryan Ingram sealed victory against the 10-man Millers.

Strikes from Joshua Scott and Nathan Saunders had seen the Stags ahead before the visitors equalised late on in regular time of the contest.

The young guns made their numerical advantage count as they struck late on in the additional 30 minutes to book their place in the next round.

The Stags started brightly and were almost rewarded for their high pressing approach in the fifth minute. Scott forced Harrison Beeden into a rushed clearance, but Elliot Ellis nipped in to clear the danger.

Moments later, Shamar Lawson went agonisingly close to opening the scoring. Jimmy Knowles cut-inside after marauding down the right channel and saw his shot blocked. The ball broke to Lawson who could only fire over.

Despite the hosts’ strong start, it was the Millers who took the lead after nine minutes. The referee pointed to the spot after a coming together between Jacob Gratton and George Cooper. Gratton dusted himself down and fired his penalty just out of Boyle’s reach.

The amber and blue responded strongly and went close to an equaliser after 12 minutes. After a second Millers’ penalty appeal was waved away, the Stags broke with pace through Molyneaux. The winger cut the ball back to Lawson who sliced his effort wide.

Mansfield went close again when Scott was denied by a stunning save from Ellis. Again, it was Molyneaux causing danger as he found the forward with a pinpoint cross but the Millers’ ‘keeper somehow got down low to parry it away from close-range.

The young guns were the Millers under sustained pressure and the visitors somehow survived again midway through the first half when the ball fell to a grateful Ellis, after a goalmouth scramble.

Another chance went begging for the home side on 28 minutes. Scott made a superb run to meet Lawson’s cross but he could only direct the ball wide of the far post.

Rotherham almost had a second against the run of play after 33 minutes. Gratton found a pocket of space and fired a powerful swerving effort which Boyle kept out with a strong right armed parry.

On 42 minutes Gratton was unlucky not to score his second of the evening. The ball broke to the midfielder on the edge of the box and his ferocious drive whistled just wide of the post.

The Stags deservedly equalised in first half stoppage time, when Hill picked Scott out and this time, the forward made no mistake, finishing empathically past Ellis.

The second half followed the same pattern of the first, with the Stags on top. Scott made another smart run to get on the end of a freekick but could only direct it wide on 48 minutes.

On the hour mark, it was Lawson’s turn to try his luck, as he set his sights from 25 yards. Ellis was relieved as he watched the midfielder’s effort fizz wide of the post.

Down the other end, Wilfred Peel-Evans tested Boyle with a swerving shot from distance. The Stags’ stopper initially parried his effort but managed to collect it on the second attempt.

The Millers were reduced to 10 men on 66 minutes after Beeden’s reckless challenge on Molyneaux gave the referee no option but to show him a red card.

From the resulting free-kick, Bolton Makwedza nipped in at the vital moment to deny Lawson a certain goal as he waited to pounce at back post.

The Stags made their numerical advantage count on 70 minutes, when substitute Nathan Saunders calmly slotted home after Lawson’s cross broke to him inside the penalty box.

The home side went searching for a decisive third goal and very nearly had it 15 minutes from time. Lawson’s shot at the front post was blocked after Knowles’ cutback, as the Millers managed to clear.

On 82 minutes, Molyneaux was inches away from sealing it after his cross-cum-shot narrowly flashed wide from a tight angle.

Two minutes later, the visitors were gifted a way back into the contest when Gratton latched onto a loose touch from Cooper and calmly finished one-on-one to level the game.

With a minute remaining Rotherham almost nicked it when Gratton slipped in Peel-Evans. Bearing down on Boyle’s goal, the forward could only fire wide as the Stags escaped.

Gratton’s late goal forced extra time, as both teams went searching for the goal that would send them to the next round.

Kyle Tomlin had the first effort of extra time, as he fired straight at Ellis from distance in the 93rd minute.

In the second period of extra time, Molyneaux was inches away from winning it as his perfectly weighted cross was missed by everyone in a yellow shirt. Knowles kept the attack alive but could only hit the side-netting from a tight angle.

Moments later, Makwedza couldn’t quite get on the end of a free kick for the visitors as the ball flashed wide.

The game was no end-to-end with both teams throwing caution to the wind to try and earn their place in the next round.

Ingram couldn’t get a shot away so elected to tee up Hill, from distance the midfielder lifted the ball over the crossbar.

With time ticking away, Ingram won it for the Stags with an unstoppable strike. The forward latched onto a pass and fired into the far corner.

With penalties looming, Molyneaux won it with two minutes to spare, with a stunning left-footed strike from distance.

The two goals sparked scenes of jubilant celebrations for the young Stags, as they booked their place in the next round.

STAGS XI: Boyle (GK), Bayliss (Jones 112’), Sketchley, Tomlin, Cooper, Armsden (Saunders 57’), Molyneaux, Hill, Scott (Fisher 120+1), Knowles, Lawson (Ingram 101’).

UNUSED SUBS: Phillips (GK), Sadler, Caine.

ROTHERHAM XI: Ellis (GK), Makwedza, Smith, Spence, Hull, Beeden, Scott (Gateshill 45’, Salah 115’), Gratton (Wenham 120’), Greaves (Hanley 71’), Kenny, Peel-Evans.

UNUSED SUBS: Burnett (GK), Millen.

REFEREE: Jack Forder

ASSISTANTS: William Murray & Michael Redgrift

FOURTH OFFICIAL: Anthony Wingate

ATTENDANCE:  189


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