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Match Reports

Youth report: Stags 3-1 Burton Albion

20 January 2021

Mansfield Town under-18s started the calendar year with a fine 3-1 win over Burton Albion at a wet and windy RH Academy.

Captain Nathan Caine led by example with a first-half brace before Diego Edwards restored the two-goal cushion in the second period, after the visitors pulled one back from the spot.

In what was their first match in just shy of a month, the Stags could have forgiven themselves for having a feeling-out period in the opening exchanges against a high-flying Burton side.

However, that could not have been further from the truth.

The youngsters flew out of the traps early on, testing the visiting goalkeeper on several occasions and pressing the opposition high, barely allowing them outside their own half.

This positive approach to proceedings inevitably resulted in a breakthrough, with still under ten minutes on the clock, from Caine.

The forward picked up the ball on the right, dipped inside onto his left foot and fired an effort from the edge of the area across the ‘keeper that nestled just inside his far post.

That advantage was almost doubled minutes later when Edwards drove into the box and shot low across the opposition stopper who, on this occasion, was able to thwart the effort and turn it behind.

A first quarter that had been all Stags made way for the first opposition shot on target, which drew a smart save down low from Maison Campbell.

That attack was very much against the run of play at that stage of the game, as Caine was keen to ram home five minutes later as he doubled his account for the afternoon at the other end.

Pressing traps paid dividends for the home side when midfielder Ethan Hill dispossessed the Burton number one on the edge of his area and fed the ball inside to Jack Deakin.

The centre forward had the foresight to play the extra pass across to the better positioned Caine who struck past the covering defender on the line to double the advantage.

That second sparked the visitors into life, who duly won a penalty after their forward was adjudged to have been felled in the area.

Burton made no mistake from the spot, with the powerfully struck shot too strong for Campbell in the Stags’ net.

Credit to the youngsters, as they composed themselves in the remainder of the second half, going close from a pair of free-kicks which were well defended in the end by their counterparts.

Into the second 45, and it was almost third time lucky from a set-piece situation.

This time Caine stepped up and was inches away from his and his team’s third, but could only bury his head when a whipped free-kick beat the wall and 'keeper alike only to thunder out off the crossbar.

The visitors did carry more of a threat in the second, on one occasion forcing Campbell into commanding action to punch a corner off the head of the Burton centre forward.

His backline remained resilient too, with Lewis Hill-Smith positioning himself well to head a fierce strike away to preserve the advantage.

That rear-guard display was rewarded fifteen minutes from time when Edwards scored the pick of the goals to seal the result for the Stags.

He took down a defence-splitting pass on his chest, barely breaking stride before leaving a defender in his wake and finishing coolly one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

In the process Edwards notched his fourth goal in as many matches, adding to his goal against the very same opposition last month.

This third win of the league campaign sees the youngsters rise one place to eighth, with games in hand over many of their direct rivals.

Next up, the Stags will welcome neighbours Notts County to The RH Academy on Saturday morning.

STAGS' XI: Campbell, Anderson, Sketchley, Hill-Smith, Cooper, Tomlin, Hill (Bouch 74'), Lawson, Edwards (Reynolds 87'), Deakin (Pitts 90'), Caine (Hurdis  81')


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