Saturday 30th July 2016
at the Mick George-Nene Park Academy
Peterborough United U18 (1) 3
Kasey Douglas 2, Morgan Ratcliffe OG 73, Leyton Maddison 89
Mansfield Town U18 (2) 6
Nyle Blake 7, 82, Ali Smith 20, Teddy Bloor 46,
Cain Smith 61, Asahnti Pryce 81
Sam Wilson (Jack Dickens 64), Teddy Bloor, Henri Wilder, Aiden Walker, Morgan Ratcliffe, Keiran Harrison, Cain Smith, Ali Smith, Surafel Behailu, Ashanti Pryce, Nyle Blake
John Dempster and Mark Peters oversaw the team who mainly featured players who featured in last season's championship winning side, while Simon Ward took on similar duties for the other game.
Eight of 'the old guard', who had players appearing elsewhere for the Under 21s and first team today, were joined by three other outfield players Ashanti Pryce, Henri Wilder and Aiden Walker, who all fitted in seamlessly alongside the 'established' side and impressed everyone present and Jack Dickens, who played in goal for the last 24 minutes.
The legendary Barry Fry, who was an apprentice at Manchester United when he was these lads age, before moving on to play for and manage numerous teams across a very colourful career, was stood watching the game from the touchline (and retrieving stray balls). Now in his 70's Fry is Director of Football at Peterborough United and has obviously lost none of his enthusiasm for the game.
But despite the less than ideal start, Mansfield began to get into their rhythm and took the game to their hosts.
Ashanti Pryce went close to forcing an equaliser almost immediately, but Peterborough cleared their lines.
The powerhouse striker went close again, when Ali Smith picked him out with a slide rule pass, but his shot deflected wide for a corner.
Henri Wilder delivered a dipping cross to the near post from the resulting kick and Nyle Blake arrived right on time to force the ball over the line.
Seven minutes gone, all square.
Blake was looking hungry for goals today... and while his older brother Tyler was claiming a brace for the Under 21 side in their game, Nyle would've claimed a hat trick inside the first half a hour had it not been for an outstretched defenders leg and a great stop from the Peterborough keeper.
Surafel Behailu and Cain Smith were gelling well in midfield and linking up with the impressive Walker, while making it difficult for the home side get any real momentum going. Keiran Harrison and Morgan Ratcliffe carried on pretty much where they left off last season in the role of an ever efficient central defensive pairing and both full backs, Teddy Bloor and Wilder were patrolling their defensive duties well, while getting forward frequently in support of their forwards.
Harrison had a couple of speculative long range shots, that kind of suggested why he plays in defence and isn't a forward, but he was instrumental in the Stags second goal when he won the ball in the middle of the park ans sprayed a quick pass wide to Bloor, whose deep cross was knocked down by Blake into the path of Ali Smith, who buried his shot into the back of the net from twelve yards.
From a rare Peterborough attack, Sam Wilson was left exposed but ran from his line and made a great double save, dealing with two well hit shots, to preserve the Stags lead.
Harrison and Ratcliffe took turns to head right wing corners by Wilder off target, but the Stags were looking really comfortable by this point.
Pryce must've thought he had scored when he came close again, from Bloor's right wing cross and the visitors right back almost claimed a goal for himself just before half time, but his low free kick skimmed just past the post.
HT: Posh 1 v Stags 2
Mansfield increased their lead straight from the break, when Wilder got the ball into the Posh goal area quickly and Bloor met it with a diving header, to give the scoreline a more accurate indication of how the game had been going so far.
Pryce broke into the Peterborough area and left his marker stranded by back-heeling the ball to Wilder, who found Bloor with a first time cross, but the full back rifled his shot over the bar.
The young Stags began to turn the screw on their hosts.
Behailu won the ball and charged forward but his attempt to lob the keeper was inches away from increasing the visitors lead.
Ali Smith worked himself some space but his shot from twelve yards was turned away by the keeper.
Peterborough pushed forward in an attempt to salvage the game, but amidst a couple of goalmouth scrambles in quick succession, Wilson dealt with the danger.
Once again Pryce was a fraction away from netting Bloor's cross after Behailu had set the ball rolling in the middle of the park. But another Stags goal was inevitable and when Cain Smith latched onto a clearance from the Peterborough defence, on the hour, there was only one place that the ball was destined as the Mansfield skipper despatched it into the roof of the net.
Both Blake and Behailu tested the Peterborough keeper, before the Posh were gifted a goal back, when Ratcliffe misplaced an attempted clearance into his own goal, past Jack Dickens who had only just come on as a substitute. Welcome to Mansfield Town Under 18s Jack... you'll like it here!
Blake and Prycee continued to enjoy a great supply of the ball from all areas of the team, but concocted the last two goals themselves, when Pryce netted from inside the area after the two front men had exchanged passes and Blake claimed one for himself, within a minute, straight from the restart with a well placed finish.
Credit to Peterborough, who were still trying to attack, in spite of coming up against a very determined Stags rearguard and with just three minutes remaining, Leyton Maddison shot came back off Dickens and he found the net off the rebound with a clever finish.
FT: Peterborough United U18 3 v Mansfield Town U18 6
Right... a quick dash and I'm en route back up the A1, to watch the Stags first team friendly at Worksop Town; while being mindful to keep a wary eye out in case that last shot Kieran Harrison launched into orbit lands on my car roof.