Saturday, 26 March 2016

Mansfield Town 1 v Bradford City 0 - FLYA (NE)

Saturday 26th March 2016
Football League Youth Alliance (North East)
at Kirklington Road, Rainworth MWFC
Mansfield Town (0) 1
Cain Smith 52
Bradford City (0) 0
Mansfield Town:
Adam Bishop, Teddy Bloor, Louis Danquah, Cain Smith, Morgan Ratcliffe, Kieran Harrison, Tyler Johal, Cameron Healey (C) (Devante Reittie 79),Tyler Blake, Jason Law, Zayn Hakeem (Nyle Blake 83)
Unused subs - Sam Wilson, Kane Baldwin, Charlie Shaw
Bradford City:
George Kenworthy, Tom Windle, Sam Wright, Neil Patience, Kesi Omolokun (C), Jack Waters, Ellis HUdson, Danny Deane, Ville Moilanen, Omed Gardezi, Raeece Ellington
Unused subs - Jake Maltby, Andrew McIntosh
A vital victory, that saw the young Stags climb up one place in the league table into second place, level on points with the leaders Scunthorpe United, but with a game in hand.
John Dempster's side had to work doubly hard to earn the three points, as Bradford flooded the midfield in an attempt to stifle the game and prevent the home side from getting their attacking rhythm going by smothering their supply lines.
But the biggest obstacle either side had to overcome was the strong wind that howled diagonally across the Rainworth pitch for the entire match, making life difficult for the players and spoiling the game as a spectacle for the parents and supporters who had turned out to brave the elements and watch the Stags complete an impressive double over a very good Bradford City side.
The Bantams kicked off with the wind behind them, but it was the Stags who attacked first when Louis Danquah pushed the ball into the path of Zayn Hakeem, who was thwarted by a last ditch tackle by the visitors captain Kesi Omolokun, who played safe and put the ball behind for a corner.
Teddy Bloor swung the flag kick in, but it dipped sharply in the wind and Morgan Ratcliffe was unable to connect with his attempted header, having got in front of his marker and the ball bounced wide off of his shoulder.
Adam Bishop dealt well with a couple of tricky crosses and Ellis Hudson thumped a twenty yard free kick over the bar, as Bradford looked to take advantage of the conditions.
Jason Law knocked the ball wide to Danquah, who played a 30 yard square pass into the path of the Stags captain Cameron Healey, but George Kenworthy held onto his long range shot.
Danny Deane chased a bouncing ball into the Mansfield goal area, gambling on where it was going to drop, but a no nonsense combination of defending by Kieran Harrison and Ratcliffe dealt with the potential danger.
Tom Windle fouled Tyler Johal and from Bloor's free kick bounced unkindly for Hakeem and he got in a tangle with his feet but the loose ball fell to Law whose first time shot crashed off of Omololkun's arm, but the referee ruled that it was 'ball to hand' and waved play on.
With this windswept game being condensed into a battle for the midfield for a while, it became apparent that if the Stags weren't getting anywhere trying to go through a resilient Bradford side with two rows of players behind the ball, then they were going to have to go round them instead. Law and Bloor combined on the right wing, but the impressive Omolokun cleared the ball and when Johal made some space on the left and delivered a cross, Kenworthy plucked the ball out of the hair and off of Hakeem's head.
Tyler Blake was battling to find a way through the visitors defence, but they were proving to be a hard nut to crack.
On the stroke of half time, Bloor's free kick was headed away to the edge of the box and Cain Smith tried his luck from 18 yards, but that man Omolokun blocked the shot and deflected the ball for a corner.
Danquah's delivery into apacked six yard box was headed clear by Neil Patience and the sides went in level at the break.
HT Stags Youth 0 v Bantams Youth 0
The Stags started the second half on the front foot and almost took the lead from a move down the left flank. Danquah picked out Law with a throw in and Patience shoved the Stags debutant in the back to concede a free kick. Bloor whipped a cross in and Harrison headed the ball a fraction over the cross bar.
Windle tried to play the ball forward out of defence, but Tyler Blake was on him in an instant, chasing the ball down, taking it past the Bradford right back and knocking the perfect cross to Cain Smith who crashed the ball past Kenworthy, for what turned out to be the winning goal.
Johal almost added a second goal for Mansfield within two minutes of Smith's strike, but his twenty yard shot dipped narrowly wide of the upright.
Hudson crossed the ball into the Stags area but it was cleared as far as Danny Deane, and Law fouled him to break up a Bradford attack. Sometimes you can be excused for making those sort of challenges and running the risk of having to take a yellow card for the team, but it was Law's first foul and it went unpunished. Hudson picked out Omolokun with the free kick and thankfully he put a foot wrong for the first time all afternoon and knocked the ball past the wrong side of the post.
The wind picked up and the rain poured down, while Mansfield were making hard work of finding a second goal to give themselves some breathing space against a well drilled Bantams defence.
Cain Smith tried to catch Kenworthy out with a speculative long shot, but the ball skidded wide of the upright.
The Stags won a corner through Tyler Blake's persistence and Omokolun had to head Bloor's delivery over his own bar to clear the immediate danger for the visitors.
Danquah took the next corner from out on the right and Harrison was unlucky to see his header clear Kenworthy's crossbar, with the Bradford keeper well beaten.
Cameron Healey let fly with a crashing shot from distance but his effort was deflected over.
Devante Reittie and Nyle Blake both came on late in game, to add some fresh legs and impetus to the attack, but though they both offered the Stags some fresh options and caused problems for the visitors defence, Mansfield had to settle for a hard won single goal victory.
FT: Mansfield Town U18 1 v Bradford City U18 0