A dominant second-half display secured a 3-0 win for Stags’ under-19s in Tuesday afternoon’s Youth Alliance League fixture against Scunthorpe United at RH Academy.
Versatile attacker Ronnie Kokkinos, forward Noah Aynsley-Johnson and box-to-box midfielder Finn Flanagan all netted to make it three games unbeaten against the Iron in six weeks.
Mansfield were without Louie Turner (goalkeeper), Taylor Anderson (right-back), Darien Wauchope (left-back) and McKeal Abdullah (forward) who travelled with the first team to south Wales for their clash with Newport County.
Left-back Louis Bonser captained the side for the first time in the Youth Alliance League this season. Meanwhile, Lewis Warnaby featured from the start at right full-back.
Under-16s’ frontman Daniel Organ lead the line in attack.
The first clear cut chance fell to Mansfield on five minutes when attack-minded midfielder Jakub Kruszynski whipped a dangerous delivery to the back post. Daniel Organ arrived on the scene but could only turn the ball wide of Scunthorpe’s goal from close range.
Organ was presented with another opportunity eight minutes later with Finn Flanagan this time the provider. The forward made a strong connection but Scunthorpe ‘keeper Joshua Murtagh made a low save to deny the youngster.
Bonser created the next big chance on 31 minutes as he picked out midfielder Curtis Davies in the box, but the Long Eaton United loanee failed to score.
A plethora of chances were created, but Sam Collins’ side were unable to find the opener in the first-half.
A bright start to the second-half for the visitors saw them find the back of the net on 50 minutes as Tyrell Sellars-Fleming chipped the ball over Theo Avery in the Mansfield goal. The Scunthorpe forward was deemed offside – much to the frustration of the away dugout.
Only 60 seconds later, Kokkinos gave Mansfield the lead as he stabbed home from Davies’ delivery to give the Stags the advantage following a swift counterattack.
A triple change ensued five minutes after the opener as Organ, Davies and centre-back Cormac Maher were replaced by forward Che Whitman-Brown, attacker Alfie King and centre-back Daragh Walsh, respectively.
Following the changes, the game entered a lull with very few opportunities being created by either side in a game which was played through strong winds at RH Academy.
Sam Collins made his fourth alteration of the afternoon on 73 minutes as Aynsley-Johnson replaced the goalscorer Ronnie Kokkinos.
Determined to double the advantage, defensive midfielder Charlie Carter took aim at goal with 11 minutes left to play but his effort flew the wrong side of Murtagh’s post.
The young guns’ persistence paid off on 83 minutes as the lead was eventually doubled. An initial effort nodded towards goal from Finn Flanagan was cleared off the line before Noah Aynsley-Johnson converted the rebound to put the hosts 2-0 up.
Flanagan, who came so close to scoring just one minute prior, was rewarded for his hard work shortly after. The box-to-box midfielder got on the end of a through ball and dispatched a coolly placed effort into the bottom corner to settle the contest.
The Stags made a final switch as forward George Colton-Balogun replaced Kruszynski on 86 minutes.
The full-time whistle followed what was a superb performance from Sam Collins’ side.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Avery, Warnaby, Whyle, Maher (Walsh 56), Bonser, Carter, Davies (King 56), Flanagan, Kruszynski (Colton-Balogun 86), Kokkinos (Aynsley-Johnson 73), Organ (Whitman-Brown 56)
UNUSED SUBS: N/A
SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Murtagh, Cunningham, Abraham, Pike, Burden-Whittleton, Lewis (Dickinson, 70), Elliott-Bell, Robertson (Rowe, 85), Strouther (Harman, 70), Sellars-Fleming, Poulter
UNUSED SUB: Oxborough