Mansfield Town under-18s recorded a hard-earned 2-1 victory away at Grimsby Town in Saturday’s EFL Youth Alliance clash.
Forward Shamar Lawson started the scoring inside the opening ten minutes of the game, and the Stags flew out of the blocks in similar fashion in the second-half, with Diego Edwards netting just before the 50-minute mark.
Grimsby did respond with a goal of their own on 56 minutes, but resolute defending from the Stags throughout the final half-an-hour saw them hold out for a deserved victory.
Early into the affair, the young guns were forced to defend as a diagonal pass opened up space for a Grimsby man, who tested goalkeeper Owen Mason with a fierce drive. Mason reacted superbly to the effort, tipping it onto the post.
After what was a tremendous save, the Stags responded by taking the lead with their first shot on goal.
Precise build-up play by Jack Deakin and Curtis Davies preceded space opening up for Lawson, who slotted home with confidence to put the amber and blue ahead.
The visitors looked to double their lead almost instantaneously, but Freddie Pitts saw his header sail over the crossbar after meeting Kian Sketchley’s wide free-kick delivery.
Grimsby looked to react to this mounting Mansfield pressure, forcing Pitts to become the hero at the defensive end of the pitch, as he performed a goal-saving block from eight yards out.
Into the second-half, and a quick start saw the young guns extend their lead to two goals.
Lawson was at the heart of play once more, with the winger spotting Edwards in space. The frontman received the pass from his teammate before coolly slotting into the bottom right corner to increase the Mansfield advantage.
Not long after Edwards’ composed finish, Grimsby halved the deficit. A straight ball from midfield found its way through the Mansfield defensive line, allowing the Mariners to pull a goal back.
This was followed by a free-kick from the left-hand side of the box, resulting in a comfortable save for Mason.
After a period of resolute defending, the Stags were handed a chance to put the game beyond any reasonable doubt with a free-kick.
Sketchley arrowed a low effort towards the bottom right-hand corner of the goal, but the defender was denied by a fine save from the Grimsby goalkeeper.
Grimsby headed wide from a corner in the final seconds of the contest, meaning the Stags were able to hold out for the win and secure a hard-earned three points away from home.
Next up for the under-18s is a trip to face Doncaster Rovers on Saturday 27 March.
STAGS' XI: Mason, Hill-Smith, Pitts (Hurdis 77’), Collins, Sketchley, Bouch, Tomlin, Davies (Colt 69’), Lawson, Edwards, Deakin.
UNUSED SUBS: Turner, Wilson, Kruszynski.