Saturday, 13 August 2016

Mansfield Town 1 v Chesterfield 0 - EFL Youth Alliance

Saturday 13th August 2016
EFL Youth Alliance (North)
at Kirklington Road, Rainworth MWFC
Mansfield Town U18 (0) 1
Cameron Healey 77
Chesterfield (0) 0
For more photos from today's game click HERE
Mansfield Town:
Sam Wilson, Teddy Bloor, Aiden Walker, Cain Smith (C), Morgan Ratcliffe, Kieran Harrison, Henri Wilder, Cameron Healey, Nyle Blake (Surafel Behailu 85), Alistair Smith (Tom Marriott 67), Ashanti Pryce (Devante Reittie 68)
Unused subs - Steve Johnson, Harry Bircumshaw
Dylan Parkin, Iffy Offoegbu, Connor Fowler, Harry Taylor, Jay Smith, Dylan Hand, Jack Brownell (Joel Phillips 84), Mark McKenna (Josh Tipping HT), Ricky German, Joe Rowley, Charlie Wakefield (Arron Sennett-Neilson 68)
Unused subs - Brad Jones, Tom Kerry
In the build up to the game, John Dempster said that he felt his team owed Chesterfield a game after a disappointing showing the last time the two sides had met, during the young Stags championship season.
In response, today's performance was infinitely better than January's off day as Mansfield showed the kind of commitment, togetherness and teamwork that they are going to need this season, where they will be a desirable scalp for opposition sides to take as they defend their title.
Both sides had chances and looked very efficient in defence, but ultimately, as the game went on, Mansfield increasingly looked like the stronger side and were causing the Spireites no end of problems in their final third.
With the visitors seemingly struggling with the tempo of the game towards the end, they began to concede a lot of free kicks and corners and if truth be told, the Stags would have won this local derby far more comfortably and comprehensively if the Chesterfield goalkeeper Dylan Parkin hadn't pulled off a string of quality saves over the course of the game, earning himself the universally acclaimed accolade of man of the match.
Aiden Walker defended authoritatively in the opening stages, blocking Ricky German's break through the left channel and intercepting Joe Rowley's dangerous looking right wing cross. Walker's got some big shoes to fill, moving into the role occupied by the ever reliable Louis Danquah last term, but after just a couple of games the signs are there that the Stags have found a quality replacement for the number three shirt and he's slotted in seamlessly alongside Kieran Harrison and Morgan Ratcliffe, while Teddy Bloor is relishing in the freedom he's got to get forward more with the newcomer covering behind him.
Charlie Wakefield exchanged passes with Rowley on the edge of the Stags area and he released German, but Sam Wilson got down quickly to save the powerful strikers shot.
But having survived a couple of raids deep into their half, the Stags defence now had the measure of their opponents strengths and effectively shut up shop and looked like a formidable force to be reckoned with.
Wilson's heroics against Oldham last week and two clean sheets against decent opposition in the opening matches, bodes well for the season ahead and gives Dempster's side a solid base at the back to build on.
Alistair Smith played the ball forward to Nyle Blake who stripped his marker for pace before Parkin thwarted his attempt on goal, saving with his feet.
The Stags pushed forward again and Ashanti Pryce showed some good close control as he weaved his way past two defenders, but having done the hard part he shot over from ten yards out.
Chesterfield tried to pick up the momentum from midfield, but found that route forward was closed tightly shut by Cain Smith and Henri Wilder as the pair charged down passes intended for Mark McKenna and German.
Cameron Healey fed the ball to Alistair Smith, who twisted to see off the attentions of a defender, before his shot deflected wide of the upright.
Harrison and Ratcliffe were proving to be an uncompromising duo as they teamed up in the centre of defence to keep the visitors at bay whenever they got beyond the midfield..
Cain Smith's cross from the right wing, hit the post and Dylan Hand had to head the ball away for a corner. Bloor delivered the ball to Healey at the back post, he headed the ball back across the face of goal and Nyle Blake put the ball into the back of the net via Parkin's outstretched fingertips; but the linesman had his flag up and the goal was ruled out.
Wilder charged the ball down in midfield as Harry Taylor tried setting the visitors in motion with a long ball forward, before advancing twenty yards and shooting narrowly over the bar.
On the stroke of half time, Harrison delivered a free kick into the Spireites six yard box, Ratcliffe headed the ball back towards Healey whose shot was deflected wide by Jay Smith.
HT: Stags U18 0 v Spireites U18 0
Straight from the restart, Blake burst forward and rode a challenge from Hand before testing Parkin with an angled shot, which the defiant Spireites keeper kept out at full stretch down to his right.
The visitors looked to be tiring and Wilder took advantage by putting on a burst of speed and crossing toward Pryce, but Hand got to the ball first and headed it clear.
German almost unlocked the Stags defence with a through ball to the visitors half time substitute Josh Tipping, but his finish didn't match his perfectly timed run.
With tackles flying in from all directions, the visitors were awarded a free kick twenty five yards out that Jack Brownell smashed into the Stags defensive wall, where Wilder took one for the team as the ball was cleared.
Alistair Smith broke forward into the heart of Chesterfield's defence before turning the ball back to Wilder who found Blake with his cross, but the lively striker's header was saved well by Parkin.
Chesterfield gave the ball away again as the Stags were squeezing tightly in midfield, Winter got away on the left and crossed to Nyle, who was pushed as he homed in on goal, but it was on the referee's blind side and the visitors were fortunate to escape being penalised.
The Stags were looking strong going forward and increased the tempo in the second half.
Pryce lost Iffy Offoegbu in a race for the ball, so the defender halted his progress with a clumsy trip. Bloor's free kick skimmed off of the Spireites wall and over the bar. The same player delivered one of his trademark flag kicks to Cain Smith, who nudged the ball sideways to Alistair Smith, but Parkin pulled off yet another quality save to keep the scores level.
Once again, the home side came out on top in the battle for the middle of the park and Pryce broke forward with only Parkin to beat, but the visitors keeper moved quickly and denied the Stags again.
Alistair Smith was fouled twenty five yards out and almost took advantage of Bloor's resulting free kick, but Parkin blocked his shot and recovered in time to keep Pryce out off the rebound as well.
It was one way traffic towards the visitors goal now and the visitors were chasing shadows at times and conceding a lot of free kicks around their goal area.
Bloor spotted Ratcliffe and Harrison had made a blind side run and dropped his free kick towards the back post, but Parkin showed that he was good in the air too.
A rather ambitious cross/shot from out on the right from Blake was well covered by Parkin, but worth a try under the circumstances.
The Stags made a double tactical substitution, with Tom Marriott and Devante Reittie giving them different options and the visitors had two more quick, attack minded and skillful players to worry about.
Wilder, Pryce and Marriott worked their way through the left channel with a quick exchange of passes, but Lynam threw himself in the way of Marriott's thumping shot.
After absorbing so much pressure and having their keeper to thank for still being in the game, the Spireites counter attacked and Sam Wilson found himself in a one against one situation with the formidable presence of Ricky German, but the highly rated Stags stopper showed why he is earning such rave reviews by turning away what looked to be a certain, but against the run of play, opening goal.
Mansfield played the ball out of defence and Harrison swept the ball forward to Cain Smith, who in turn threaded it through to Blake, but he came up against a crowd of blue shirts, who managed to clear the ball away from danger, before Offoegbu put the ball out for a corner.
Bloor picked out Healey, arriving at the back post, with a dipping right wing corner that evaded Parkin as the hard working, midfield battler, planted a textbook downward header into the back of the visitors net after seventy seven minutes.
It had been a long time in coming, but finally Parkin's resistance had been cracked.
At the other end the Spireites tried picking out German and Tipping with a hopeful ball forward, but Wilson was quickly off of his line to gather the ball and make sure that his team weren't about to squander a greatly deserved three points.
The Stags saw the game out safely, while a very tired looking Chesterfield side could probably count their blessings (and thank their goalkeeper) that they had only lost by a single goal.
FT: Mansfield Town 1 v Chesterfield 0
Next Saturday, the young Stags face Scunthorpe United in an EFL Youth Alliance game at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium, home of Clipstone FC. The game kicks off at 11AM