Saturday, 5 November 2016

Mansfield Town 2 v Notts County 0 - EFL Youth Alliance (NE)

Saturday 5th November 2016
11AM Kick Off
at Brooksby Melton College
EFL U18 Youth Alliance (North East)
Mansfield Town (1) 2
Nyle Blake 33, 74
Notts County (0) 0
Photo gallery from this game: CLICK HERE
Mansfield Town:
Sam Wilson (Xavier Sundby 75), Teddy Bloor, Kane Wilson, Alistair Smith, Morgan Ratcliffe (C), Kieran Harrison, Henri Wilder, Cameron Healey, Zayn Hakeem (Surafel Behailu 83), Jason Law (Devante Reittie 60), Nyle Blake (Keaton Ward 87)
Notts County:
Joe Searson-Smithard, Nathan Cobain, Declan Dunn, Ryan Ebanks, Jordon Richards, George McCartney, Sam Osborne, Dom Brownhill (C), Louis Robinson, Edwin Towers
Subs - Curtis Hall, Harry Gibbons, Harry Bugg, Tamar Clayton-Naute, Remaye Campbell
A virtuoso performance by Nyle Blake, who clinically weighed in with two well taken goals, helped the young Stags to their third win in a row in this local derby against second placed Notts County, which consolidated their place at the top of the league table.
The victory was somewhat overshadowed by an injury to the thus far ever present and highly rated Stags goalkeeper Sam Wilson, with fifteen minutes remaining. Initially it was feared that he might have a broken arm, which somewhat dampened the mood of everyone present in the closing stages of the game. And it was a relief to hear later on that he had actually suffered a dislocated elbow and was already on the mend.
Many thanks must go to the staff from both Mansfield Town and Notts County who were quickly on the scene and Danny Bloor & Lee Harrison (Teddy and Kieran's parents) who made all of the relevant phone calls and ensured that Sam was taken to hospital ASAP. It was a real team effort.
Get well soon Sam!
These two sides had contrasting results in the FA Youth Cup in midweek, with the Magpies surprisingly getting turned over by three goals to one at Meadow Lane by Romulus FC, while Mansfield will face Nottingham based Dunkirk FC at the One Call Stadium in the second round after comfortably seeing off Bedworth United, by scoring three goals without return away from home on Wednesday night.
The visitors started Louis Robinson in the centre of attack as they slightly altered their shape and line up following their midweek cup exit and John Dempster shuffled his pack to offset the unavailability of Tom Marriott, Ashanti Pryce and Cain Smith, who have all played an integral role in the season thus far.
As Notts looked to get their momentum going, Kane Baldwin was in quickly to intercept the ball and fed a long pass out wide to Blake, but Declan Dunn managed to block his route to goal and bundled the ball out for a throw in. Teddy Bloor launched a long throw towards Cameron Healey, who leapt above his marker to reach the ball but headed over from six yards out.
With Baldwin, Henri Winter and the Stags captain Morgan Ratcliffe filling in behind him, Kieran Harrison took up the initiative to get forward in a bid to provide ammunition for his sides front men.
Harrison powered forward thirty yards and 'dinked' the ball over the County defence for Zayn Hakeem to run on to, but he couldn't quite muster up enough power in his jump to connect with his head, right in front of the Pies goal.
Jason Law however, did connect with Harrison's next defence splitting ball, but headed a fraction over Joe Searson-Smithard's crossbar.
Moments later Law was on the attack again and Dunn caught him with a late challenge as he attempted to get a shot in. From  the resulting free kick, Bloor passed the ball to Blake, who burst forward and was only prevented from opening the scoring by a really good double stop by Searson-Smithard.
The Stags attacked on the right hand side of County's area, with Blake beating Dunn for pace before flicking the ball on to Hakeem, who unselfishly held it up before stroking a pass to Alistair Smith as he arrived and drilled a full blooded shot just past the right hand upright.
Baldwin once again broke down a Notts move with a well timed tackle and got the ball forward quickly to Hakeem, but George McCartney was sticking to the Antigua and Barbuda Under 20 international like a possessive Siamese twin and he cleared the ball away to safety.
Cameron Healey won the ball in the middle of the park and knocked it forward to Blake,who was in irresistible form today, having first rode a tackle (and they were certainly flying in on a day that the Stags physio Matt Salmon was possibly the busiest person on the pitch), the younger of the Blake boys on Mansfield's books, squared the ball to Hakeem out on the right, whose diagonal return pass through the right channel, fell perfectly for the live-wire attacker, who placed his shot beyond the reach of Searson-Smith to open the scoring on thirty three minutes, with an opening goal that was the product of a spell of fast paced, pass and move football at it's best.
Dom Brownhill forced his way through into the Stags area, but Healey won a crunching 50/50 duel and Ratcliffe cleared the ball away. It would be fair to say that their was no quarter being given in the physical side of this game by either team, but those involved seemed to be well versed in the old adage that if you dish it out you've got to be able to take it too!.
Searson-Smith gathered Blake's cross to Law on the stroke of half time and the Stags had to be content with a one goal lead at the interval, in spite of creating the bulk of the goal scoring chances thus far.
HT: Stags 1 v Pies 0
Inside the opening minute of the second half, the Stags advanced into the visitors area, where Hakeem flicked the ball up for Smith who struck a sweet volley that deflected wide.
County cleared their lines from the corner, with Searson Smithard out on the edge of the box calling out instructions, but Brownhill misplaced a pass straight to Bloor who ambitiously attempted to lob the AWOL Pies keeper from forty five yards, but his effort landed on top of the goal.
Although the Stags looked good going forward and Notts were absorbing a lot of pressure, the visitors aren't second in the table for nothing and John Dempster's side couldn't afford to relax or take their eye off of the ball for a moment and really needed another goal to give them some breathing space.
Nathan Cobain backed off from a challenge momentarily, waiting for his moment, but Henri wilder stripped him for pace on the left wing and sprinted away, before slipping the ball inside to Law, who held off the attentions of Jordon Richards before fizzing the ball over the bar from ten yards out.
Cobain did well for the Pies, breaking forward from his full back berth and advancing forty yards down the wing, but he was met by a determined Morgan Ratcliffe, who swept the ball way and prevented the visitors number 2 from getting his cross in.
On the hour, Devante Reittie came on in place of Law, who had taken more than his  fair share of knocks in the midday sun, on a pitch decorated with Autumnal leaves, delivered at a steady pace by the stiff icy breeze that was sweeping across the Brooksby estate.
Reittie's first touch released Blake who quickly knocked the ball across the Pies goalmouth to Hakeem, who couldn't quite find his range with a scuffed shot that came to nothing.
Remaye Campbell, with his head still bandaged from taking a knock against Romulus on Tuesday night, entered the fray in place of Edwin towers and imposed himself quickly, adding a bit more bite to County's attacking intentions. 
Wilson got down to his right and turned the ball away at full stretch as Robinson knocked the ball past Harrison before drilling a shot towards the bottom left hand corner of the Stags goal.
Unfazed by County's apparent threat at one end, Harrison raced forward to the other to meet Bloor's right wing corner head on, but his stooping effort went narrowly over the crossbar.
The Stags, sensing that the next goal would be pivotal to the outcome of the game, upped their work rate even more: Blake took the ball past Cobain but was denied by Searson-Smithard, Richards blocked Hakeem's shot on the turn from Bloor's right wing corner and then repeated the trick when Reittie slipped a through ball to Zayn.
But the breakthrough that gave the home side a two goal advantage, finally came on seventy four minutes, when Reittie threaded the ball through a gap between County's central defenders and their left back for Blake to run on to, Searson-Smithard advanced from his line but Nyle planted the ball firmly into the bottom right hand corner.
Sadly, as the visitors made in roads towards the Stags goal in a vaingloriously attempt to salvage something from the game, Wilson suffered from a freak accident which put him out of the game.
The young keeper did well to block Alex Howes' shot from fifteen yards, but as the ball spun loose, Campbell chased it down as Wilson threw himself forward in an attempt to smother it, the Notts strike got a touch but it deflected wide of the left hand post and the impact of landing awkwardly and two players coming together at speed meant that Sam couldn't carry on.
There was no malice on the part of Campbell and the ball was there for both players to go for, but sadly these things happen in  the high paced game of youth team football, when competitive youngsters are charging about at breakneck pace.
Thankfully, the damage turned out to be just a dislocated and Sam Wilson will hopefully be on the mend soon, having had his joint popped back in at the hospital.
After a break of around twelve minutes, Xavier Sundby took over in  goal, keeping a clean sheet on his EFLYA debut, but I'm sure that he rather would've seen the game out on the touchline given the circumstances.
Dunn tried to test the substitute keeper with a long range shot, but he barely had enough power behind, to see it bobble harmlessly wide of the mark.
Surafel Behailu, on  for the closing stages from the bench, set up Blake but though his shot on the turn beat County's keeper it dropped just over the top right hand corner of the goal.
Blake was back again moments later, having danced majestically past two challenges, but Searson-Smithard blocked his shot and when Nyle chased the loose ball down, he could only find the side netting with his second attempt.
Keaton Ward, as he so often does, came on late in the game to giving a tiring front line some fresh impetus, but he too was denied by Searson-Smithard from close range and put the ball over from the rebound as the Pies keeper spread himself to make the angle difficult.
FT: Mansfield Town U18 2 v Notts County U18 0
All told, a great win for the young Stags, but celebrations were slightly muted as we were still awaiting news about the extent of the injuries to 'Our Sam'.
Thanks to Gillian Wilson for the message, the news was a great relief and very gratefully received by all. Hope you were OK and not too squeamish while they were putting him back together.
There is no disputing that the Stags thoroughly deserved their win, though I suspect that the Magpies will be keen to put on a display that does the undoubted talent throughout their squad justice when the two sides meet again in February.
Credit to John Dempster's side who not only put on a good show today, who who worked damn hard to stop County from playing to their strengths too. And you can't underestimate Alistair Smith's efforts as he played far more deeply than usual to help out enforcing the Stags game plan.
Ultimately, it is a team game and although some stars shone more brightly than others, most notably Nyle Blake, every single player contributed to this great win and gave 100%.