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Match Reports

Under-18s maintain 100 percent start

21 September 2020

Goals from forward Nathan Caine and defender Kian Sketchley saw the under-18s maintain their 100 percent start to the season with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town this weekend.

Caine converted from the spot before Sketchley added to the penalty to earn Mansfield’s young guns the victory in their first home game of the campaign.

The win over the Terriers follows a 1-0 victory over Bradford City on the opening day.

Under-18s’ coach Mike Whitlow says there were ‘lots of pleasing things’ on show in Saturday’s match, along with praising a youthful defence on keeping a second consecutive league clean sheet.

“The biggest thing at the moment for these lads is learning things in training and seeing if they can implement it into games,” he began.

“Young George Cooper marshalled the young lads at the back with Maison Campbell in goal and I thought they [defence] were exceptional.

“Liam [Hearn, assistant professional development coach] has been working with the midfield and the attackers on creating opportunities in the final third, which in the game was really pleasing to see, as we created lots of chances.

“Liam has been working with Nathan Caine and now he’s two in two. Yes, they’re penalties, but he’s still getting in the right places to try and score goals.

“We saw a lot of pleasing things again from a lot of young lads on show.”

Saturday saw frontman Caine score his second goal in as many games, and Whitlow was quick to praise the young attacker.

“I think the biggest thing for Nathan at the moment is getting him a run of games,” he added.

“He came back in pre-season flying, turned his ankle, then got back in for the last two games.

“Yes, he scored the two goals, but he’s even stated that he’s not yet completed his 90 minutes. It’s going to be a nice landmark – hopefully this weekend – when he gets a full 90 minutes in.

“Hopefully he can carry on and develop while playing regularly. He had a hard time last year because of his ankle.

“The kid has talented feet, he’s hard-working, honest, and you want him to have a really good season without picking up any more injuries.

“He could give himself the opportunity of playing in reserve games when they come along.”

Next up for Stags' youngsters is a trip to face Burton Albion on Saturday 26 September.

STAGS' XI: Campbell (GK), Anderson, Collins, Tomlin, Cooper, Hill-Smith, Bouch (Edwards 70'), Hill, Caine (Hurdis 75'), Lawson, Sketchley.

UNUSED SUBS: Mason, Adams, Reynolds.

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