Under-18s coach Mike Whitlow was pleased with the Stags ‘reaction’ following last weekend’s defeat as his young guns pushed Scunthorpe United all the way at The RH Academy this afternoon.
Jonty Bouch’s acrobatic flick and an ‘exceptional goal’ from Max Hurdis overturned a half-time deficit; however, the Iron were clinical and took two late chances to win 3-2.
But Whitlow was happy with how his side responded one week on from their 3-0 derby day defeat.
“I think the [most] pleasing thing was the reaction from where we were against Notts County, to the levels of performances as individuals, as a unit [today],” he said.
“I thought that the middle two, Ethan Hill and Shamar Lawson today [were] on the front foot [and] moved the ball well.
“A lot of work and endeavour went in there from them two.
“Lewis Hill-Smith and George Cooper competed well at centre back [too].
“And then you're looking overall for where we were at [against] Burton [to] where we were at against Notts County, and it was chalk and cheese.
“[The players] were back to their level, their intensity, their willingness to work.
“Bravery, I think today was another one that we can say [they were] getting on the ball [and] moving the ball.”
Whitlow was also keen that his players harness the feeling of disappointment and learn from it, rather than dwell upon it.
“First half, to come in [behind] I think it was the biggest disappointment and shock for them,” he said.
“[The goal came] from an individual error that let them in when we've camped in their half and moved the ball really well for 45 minutes.
“They've got to learn now, as players, [to keep] their standards, their levels, their consistency.
“Can they maintain it as an individual?
“And can the lads that might have an off day or make errors or an individual mistake learn from that and make sure that it's not going to be a costly one?
“Because they've come off there disappointed, and rightly so because that performance has deserved a winning result.
“Is it about results all the time? No. But sometimes as a group, as a player, you want to win after you've dominated the game.
“You've been asked to do the things that you did two weeks ago, and learn.
“It was pleasing today there were a lot of players that went back to their levels.”
There were five changes in total from their last outing, and Whitlow was pleased with the performances of those who came in and took their chance in the side.
“It was great to have young Darien [Wauchope], an under-16s left-back, back in,” he said. “He's now played five or six games for us, so he was back in the fold today.
“Oliver Wilson, [who] came on last week, he started up front [who’s] another under-16.
“McKeal [Abdullah], an under-16 again, got on for his first Youth Alliance appearance for 15 minutes at the end, so, again, there's always positives.
“You look at the lads that have come in, and it wasn't really any different. Jonty [Bouch], he's a first-year scholar who's had a really good start to his scholarship.
“He's now got to learn and fill in that central midfield role and break play up and link-up play.
“I thought himself with Shamar and Ethan [in midfield] today had a really good game.
“Their work ethic and attitude were exceptional, and we've got another game coming quick and fast on Tuesday [away at Notts County] and that's got to be maintained again now.”