Ryan Ingram’s hat-trick inspired Mansfield Town under-18s to an impressive victory over Scunthorpe United on Tuesday afternoon.
The young guns took the lead courtesy of Isaac Fisher’s first goal of the season, but the star of the show was undoubtedly Ingram.
The forward struck twice after the hosts had briefly equalised to give his side a comfortable lead at the break and he completed his treble nine minutes into the second half. The Iron pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining, but it was the visitors who were victorious in Lincolnshire.
The first chance of the game fell to the hosts after six minutes. Cam Wilson found Alex Wilkinson with an accurate cross but the striker couldn’t get any direction on his header, as Jamie Boyle watched it fly wide.
Despite a strong start from the hosts, it was the amber and blue who opened the scoring after 15 minutes. Fisher and Nathan Saunders exchanged a one-two from a corner before the midfielder’s cross somehow found its way into the bottom corner.
Fisher tried his luck from a free-kick two minutes later, but this time Jake Balme in the Scunthorpe goal was equal to his effort.
Moments later, Boyle was called into action when he got down to keep out Wilkinson’s powerful drive. From the rebound, Harry Baker blazed over for Scunthorpe.
With the game opening up, the Stags countered through Rio Molyneaux. The winger beat his man and dug out a cross after a darting run down the right, but it was too far in front of Ingram as Balme smothered the ball.
The Iron responded through Wilson’s corner as Jessop rose highest to direct his header at goal, but Adams made a timely intervention to clear the ball off the line.
The home side had responded well to going a goal down and only more good defending from the young guns denied them a leveller. Jessop intercepted a loose pass and looked certain to score before Cooper threw himself in front of the shot to deny him.
But the striker was not to be denied a third time as the hosts restored parity nine minutes before the break. Jessop rode the challenge of two Stags defenders before firing past Boyle from just inside the box to equalise.
The pair weren’t level for long though, as Mansfield retook the lead seven minutes later. Kyle Tomlin sprayed the ball out to Molyneaux with an exquisite crossfield pass and the winger breezed past Raynner Silva before squaring for Ingram, who tapped the ball into an empty net to restore the lead.
And the striker had his second on the stroke of half-time, after he showed great composure to round Balme from Larell King’s pass, before poking home to double the advantage.
Ingram had the chance to complete his hat-trick 30 seconds into the second half, but after initially doing well to find space in the box he could only fire straight at the ‘keeper.
Boyle was on hand to deny the Iron a route back into the contest five minutes later. Firstly, he palmed out Silva’s drive before beating away Jessop’s strike from the rebound.
From the resulting corner, King was on hand this time as he cleared the ball away from the goalmouth following a header from Charlie Barks.
Mansfield escaped moments later, when Barks sent Shrimpton’s cross back across goal but Jessop could only glance wide with the goal gaping.
The amber and blue punished the hosts for not taking their chances as they found their fourth goal from a lightning-quick counter-attack on 56 minutes.
Molyneaux powered forward and found Ingram again with a pinpoint cut-back and the striker was never going to pass up the chance to complete his treble from a yard out.
The home side reduced the deficit 20 minutes from time through Baker. The right-back drifted in from the flank and with no one closing him down, he thundered an effort past Boyle from all of 25 yards.
With six minutes remaining, Wilson was denied by Boyle. The winger cut the ball onto his left foot after being slipped in by Harry Lewis, but his low effort was comfortably saved.
Two minutes later, Shrimpton won the ball in the middle of the park for the Iron before finding the feet of Gallimore. The midfielder tried his luck from 25 yards but saw his strike fly over the crossbar.
The amber and blue saw out the opening exchanges to secure a richly deserved three points at Appleby Frodingham Sports and Social Club.
SCUNTHORPE XI: Balme, Baker, Kemp, Shrimpton, Barks, Train, Wilson, Gallimore, Wilkinson, Jessop, Chadli.
SUBS: Silva, Virgo, Lewis.
STAGS XI: Boyle, King, Adams, Tomlin, Cooper, Saunders (Pitts 53’), Lawson, Hill (Davies 81’), Ingram, Fisher (Bouch 60’), Molyneaux (Caine 68’).
UNUSED SUBS: Campbell.