Saturday, 17 October 2015

Burton Albion 0 v Mansfield Town 3 - FLYA

Saturday 17th October 2015
Football League Youth Alliance
at Calverton Miners Welfare
Burton Albion U18 (0) 0
Mansfield Town U18 (2) 3
Teddy Bloor 26, Tom Marriott 31, Brad Smith OG 76
Burton Albion:
Charlie Hornby, Jayden Cotterill, MIchael Pearson, Joe Sbarra, Brad Smith, Jack O'Brien (C) (Callum Edwards 83), Cameron Shaw (Lewis Troke 62), Mirza Sejdic (Max Smith 62), Marcus Dinanga, Tom Hammerton, Dylan Garnett
Unused subs - Jake Saville, Lewis Walker
Mansfield Town:
Sam Wilson, Charlie Shaw, Louis Danquah, Cain Smith, Morgan Ratcliffe, Kieran Harrison, Teddy Bloor, Cameron Healey, Tyler Blake (C), Tom Marriott (Alistair Smith 79), Zayn Hakeem
Unused subs - Frazer Hampton, Kieron Lane, Henry Brittijn, Surafel Behailu
Looking resplendent in their red and white away kit (black away shirts like the first team wear are not allowed in the FLYA), John Dempster's young Stags got back to winning ways and warmed up the crowd who had travelled to Calverton on this chilly Saturday lunchtime, with a dominant, hard working display of focussed and determined togetherness, to pick up maximum points and climb to the top of the league table.
Evidently, lessons have been learnt  from the last two games, that saw Mansfield lose to Shrewsbury in the FLYA Cup and then suffer their first league defeat away at Doncaster last weekend.
Today they looked like a very tight knit unit; both in the way they approached the game and through the camaraderie that is obviously developing between this current crop of players who spend so much time together throughout the week.
Mike Whitlow's Albion side, in common with their visitors, had only lost one league game prior to today, but the Brewers Academy side found Mansfield to be a tough nut to crack all afternoon.
Tyler Blake timed his run well to get on the end of a long Teddy Bloor free kick into Burton's area, but the home side's defence crowded the Stags captain out and hooked the ball to safety.
Zayn Hakeem, spotted a gap in the Burton back four and sprinted towards goal, but Charlie Hornby got down to his left and turned his shot round the post.
Sam Wilson got two early touches of the ball as he plucked Mirza Sejdic cross out of the air and then blocked Marcus Dinanga's header from close range a few moments later.
Sejdic looked to be Burton's main line of supply, with a range of passing and neat touches at his disposal, but Cameron Healey sooned picked up on the threat the Brewers midfielder posed and homed in to keep a watchful eye on their playmaker and had by far the better of their head to head duel until just after the hour mark, when Sejdic was substituted in a tactical switch.
Morgan Ratcliffe and KIeran Harrison looked solid in the centre of defence, while Charlie Shaw, growing in stature in every game he plays and Louis Danquah were protecting the flanks doggedly, while getting forward in support whenever Mansfield attacked.
In the 26th minute, Teddy Bloor, a versatile team player, who looks comfortable covering either full back berth or the midfield role he undertook today, weighed up his options when Burton conceded a free kick around 30 yards from their goal. The Stags deadball specialist opted to "bend it like Bloor" and lashed home an unstoppable free kick just inside the left hand upright, beyond the reach of Hornby, to put Mansfield ahead.
Within five minutes of Bloor's sublime strike, a combination of Tom Marriott's pace and a well weighted pass from Blake, unlocked the Albion defence and Marriott picked his spot from 10 yards out to make it 2-0 to the Stags.
The home side were in disarray for a while and Jack O'Brien resorted to employing a "hoof it anywhere" clearance when Blake flicked Bloor's corner kick across the face of the Burton goal.
Albion regained a bit of their composure as they struggled to recover from the Stags two goal whammy and Wilson pulled off a great save, tipping the ball over the bar, when O'Brien got a powerful header on target from a Dylan Garnett free kick.
Mansfield ended the half with a bit of a flurry. Blake skipped past two challenges but was thwarted when Hornby dashed from his line and got down at the lively attacking midfielder's feet. Marriott was fouled (again) 20 yards out, but Hornby saved Bloor's free kick this time.
Hakeem, playing as the perfect foil for Blake, dragging his markers wide to create space in the middle of the Burton defence, was unceremoniously stopped in his tracks as he progressed down the left wing. Louis Danquah flighted the ball towards the back stick, but Joe Sbarra.
HT: Brewers 0 v Stags 2
Although it was two very well taken goals that gave the Stags the two goal cushion at half time, the scoreline was also down in no small way, to the battling shift Cain Smith and Cameron Healey were putting in, in the centre of midfield, where they were offering an extra row of protection to the Stags back four, who were all in an uncompromising mood and battled gamely throughout.
Burton kept the score down by virtue of a last ditch tackle, when Blake nudged the ball into the area for Hakeem to run on to. The pair of them were grafting non stop and making run after run into the final third and keeping the Brewers overworked back line very busy.
Shaw clipped Garnett's heels as he threatened to break into the Stags area, but Wilson was equal to the resulting free kick as Joe Sbarra tried his luck from the free kick.
Burton stepped up the tempo and tried to force their way back into the game, with Sbarra in particular beginning to cause a few problems with several insightful passages of play from midfield. But having found it difficult to advance through the centre of Mansfield's midfield and defence, when they switched things and tried to come into the final third from the wings, they found that Shaw and Danquah both had no intentions of suffering a third defeat in a row and time and time again, the visitors full back pairing came out on top.
When Sbarra did final make himself a yard of space to get his shot away, the ever alert Wilson got down well to preserve the clean sheet that John Dempster and Mark Peter's side had strived so hard to protect.
On 76 minutes, Zayn Hakeem's presence caused Brad Smith to abandon his original idea of trying to clear the ball, but calamity struck for the Burton centre half as he turned and tried to shield the ball as he passed it back to Hornby. Hakeem continued his surge forward and unnerved the Burton keeper, who with one eye on the advancing Stags frontman air-kicked as the ball tripped up over a divot in the pitch and rolled into the open goal.
It was cruel on Brad Smith who had tried to keep tabs on Hakeem thus far, but there's no doubting that although it was ultimately an own goal, it was Hakeem's powering run that had forced the issue.
Alistair Smith came on for Tom Marriott late in the game and he almost created a fourth goal for the Stags as soon as he entered the fray, but when he won the ball in the middle of the park and launched the ball forward to Blake, Brad Smith wasn't going to slip up again and he smashed his clearance over the perimeter fencing this time round.
With the game all but won, Cain Smith and Cameron Healey were afforded the freedom from their scrap for midfield, which they had won by quite some way, to get up and join in with the attack.
Healey flicked a long Harrison throw in, towards the Burton goal, but Hornby held on to it... and right at the death, 'Ali' Smith dropped a shoulder out on the right wing and left the full back in his wake, before squaring the ball to Cain Smith who thumped the ball wide of the upright.
At the end of the game, the visitors manager Mike Whitlow was very generous in his praise of the young Stags hard work and togetherness.
An "all for one and one for all" performance saw the Stags home as they picked up a thoroughly warranted win.
Many thanks to all of the parents and supporters who turned out to follow the Under 18's to Calverton today, your backing was greatly appreciated.
FT: Burton Albion 0 v Mansfield Town 3