FA Youth Cup Second Round
at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill
Mansfield Town (4) 5
Alistair Smith 13, 20
Zayn Hakeem 16, 25, 82
Dunkirk FC (2) 2
Joel Howes 22
Jack Warner 30
Admission £3 Attendance 506
The Stags youngsters knew that they couldn't take the threat posed by tonight's visitors Dunkirk lightly, given that the Boatmen have taken an impressive array of scalps in this years competition already.
|Left click to enlarge programme|
Mansfield have had a quiet passage thus far by comparison, chalking up a 3-0 win in their only other game in this competition so far this season, with a brace of goals from Cain Smith and another one from the live-wire Nyle Blake.
By virtue of winning tonight's game, John Dempster's side will be travelling south, to that there London, where they make the telly n' that and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second of the United Kingdom of Great Britain lives, to face Fulham at Craven Cottage in the 3rd Round.
Alistair Smith's persistence, when he wouldn't surrender possession of the ball, in spite of the close attentions of Ollie Robinson, led to the Stags opening goal in the thirteenth minute as he stayed on his feet to drill an angled shot past Ryan Howes and just inside the left hand upright from ten yards out.
Having had the visitors watched in advance, John Dempster knew that his team would be up against a big and strong, occasionally physical side tonight and that certainly proved to be the case, but within three minutes of (A) Smith having opened the scoring, Hakeem escaped the attentions of Pierce Bird and doubled the home side's lead, with a clever shot that bounced just in front of (R) Howes, causing the Dunkirk keeper all kinds of problems as the ball zipped up through his hands... and in spite of his despairing attempt to make a catch Hakeem's strike nestled in the bottom right hand corner of the visitors goal.
|Two familiar faces in the crowd tonight.|
Welcome home! George Foster and Neil Richardson.
But the visitors showed the fighting spirit that they are renowned for and pulled a goal back, when George Harrison delivered a deep cross towards the back post and Xavier Sundby was unable to get near the ball as four Dunkirk players attacked it together and Joel Howes got the decisive touch and the Boatmen reduced the arrears after twenty two minutes.
Kieran Harrison picked up the ball just inside the Dunkirk half and spotted Hakeem making a run through the left channel and dropped a great measured pass into his path and as (R) Howes threw himself down in an attempt to block the ball, the Stags striker slipped the ball under the exposed visitors keeper restore the Stags three goal cushion.
Warner picked up a pass from Harrison and let fly with a shot that Sundby did well to
save. But just moments later, Warner had the ball again and having found himself in space thirty yards from the Stags goal, he scored with a excellently executed shot, that gave the Stags keeper no chance.
After six goals in the opening half a hour, the game settled down into a less hectic contest.
The Stags were knocking the ball around and looking to pick up another goal before the break, from a more patient kind of build up, while Dunkirk used up no end of energy trying to chase the ball down and nick a goal. The tactic worked to that end, but there were still one or two hair raising moments along the way, while several supporters who complain about the direct and long ball game employed by the first team at times, were imploring the youngsters to 'Whack it!', 'Get it up the pitch!' and 'Stop fannying about in front of your own goal!'
HT: Stags Youth 4 v Dunkirk Youth 2
"So who is the new first team manager then!?" somebody demanded to know as the half time whistle sounded, I pretended that I was hard of hearing and couldn't hear him for the Bruno Marrs tune blasting from the loud speakers. Out of a crowd of 506, it actually surprised me that only 505 of them knew the identity of the man stood over yonder watching the game while he wore a Sombrero, or the big bloke stood next to him, whose mum and dad used to run the Lincolnshire Poacher pub on Mansfield Road, Nottingham... and who until very recently has been the assistant manager at Boston United, Crawley Town, Rotherham United and Leeds United.
Of course, it could all be a big coincidence. Cough!
|Phwoar! Not all of the talent was out on the pitch tonight.|
It would be wrong for me not to mention the Stags outgoing manager at this juncture, he was always alright with me and did turn out to watch the under 18 and under 21 sides whenever he could. I liked Adam, a lot, but these things happen in football all of the time and the turnover of staff at clubs is quite staggering compared to other industries.
I know how I'll remember him... and if he's hard up enough to be actually reading this self indulgent bullshit blog with added football content... Good luck Adam and thanks for some pretty special memories along the way.
And best wishes to the incoming manager and his burly assistant too.
There were some key one against one battles developing out one the pitch; most notably Takunda Mushamri, out on the left flank against Teddy Bloor, who made up for what he lacks in stature with some great battling qualities as he refused to be bullied by the bigger player.
Cameron Healey and Darian Roberts will have both have enjoyed their head to head in the middle of the park and Hakeem and Bird had seemingly wanted to swap shirts way before he final whistle.
Henri Wilder and Jason Law covered a lot of ground and weren't unduly perturbed by some fair, but increasing firm tackles as they got up in support of the ever dangerous (A) Smith and Hakeem.
Kane Baldwin, Kieran Harrison and the Stags captain Morgan Ratcliffe, knew they were going to be up against robust opponents tonight and they worked really while covering each other backs.
And Cain Smith is well and truly back on top of his game again and is the glue that holds it all together in the middle of the park.
|Jack Warner. Hello, hello, hello.|
Bloor delivered a right wing free kick into the area, that was only half cleared and fell to Cain Smith, whose long range shot was tipped over by (R) Howes.
Wilder broke forward on the left, sold Robinson a dummy and picked out (C) Smith with his cross, but the battling midfielder's low and hard side footed effort was saved by (R) Howes.
The Dunkirk captain Ollie Clark nicked the ball on the edge of the Stags area, as the home sides defence conceded possession after faffing about too much, but Ratcliffe deflected his shot wide of the post.
|George Harrisoon. Yeah, yeah, yeah.|
Baldwin almost netted with a long range opportunist strike, but saw his effort fly narrowly over the bar.
Wilder powered his way into the left channel but shot over from twelve yards.
From the Stags next attack it looked as though Dunkirk had conceded a penalty, when Wilder beat Robinson for pace, but was pulled back by the his shirt and then tripped. Curiously the referee booked the Stags wide man for 'assimilation'.
Oh well, I guess it is a useful part of the steep learning curve for young developing footballers, to see that referee's sometimes make mistakes too.
Reittie was a thorn in the side of the tiring Dunkirk defence, with his fresh legs and attacking intentions, (R) Howes pulled off a save own to his left to deny the Stags number sixteen, but within a minute, Reittie shot again and when the ball was cleared off the line, it fell to Hakeem, who claimed the result for the Stags and the match ball for himself from the rebound.
|MTFC. By the light of the silvery moon.|
If Reittie and Blake hadn't grown up to be a such credit to their parents and blessed with such good manners as a consequence, they would both probably have hit the deck when they felt contact.
But that isn't meant by way of a criticism, that ruthless edge will come in time, to compliment their undoubted ability.
FT: Stags Youth 5 v Dunkirk Youth 2
Dunkirk were generously applauded from the pitch for their efforts, both on the night and in lieu of the great cup run that they have embarked on this season.Respect is due in spades!
Well done to all concerned.
Right, when is the next round?
We need to get those train tickets to Fulham booked ASAP.