Academy professional development coach Mike Whitlow felt there were plenty of positives following the under-18s’ narrow 3-2 loss to Scunthorpe United on Saturday.
Mansfield’s youngsters created an abundance of chances in the game, but two goals from first year scholar Jack Deakin weren’t quite enough to earn the Stags a share of the spoils.
But Whitlow was keen to stress the progress his players are making.
“Every single one of them went out there and had a right good go yesterday,” he said.
‘We created numerous chances and Scunthorpe were a big strong team and they [Mansfield] competed very, very well.
“The most pleasing thing was we tried a new formation yesterday that we worked on all week and the lads went out there and went about their roles and responsibilities in a very positive manner, which is really pleasing to see.”
The coach then went on to praise individual performances.
“Young Jonty Bouch played in a holding six role on Saturday and was exceptional.
“From the week before he’d taken on board keeping it simple, getting the ball, breaking things up and that was great.
“And a massive positive was Jack Deakin scoring two goals, it was really pleasing for the big lad up front, he took his chances well.”
The Stags’ squad featured five under-16s players, including right-back Taylor Anderson, and Whitlow believes this bodes well for the future of the academy.
“For us as an academy we’re trying to push these young lads through at the moment and to have five under 16s involved yesterday, four getting on the field and two playing 90 minutes… it’s massive”
“This [the academy] has been set up to get these lads through and if they see a chance to go and play in the Youth Alliance with the under-18s and gain experience a year earlier, their individual development and what they have to compete with [will improve].”
He added: “Taylor Anderson has come in and at the moment he’s not missed a game for the [under] 18s because he’s been exceptional.”