|It's your ass liner, you scratch it whenever you want to.|
EFL U18 Youth Alliance
at Rainworth Miners Welfare FC
Mansfield Town (0) 1
Tyler Walker 58 OG
Doncaster Rovers (1) 1
Morgan Ratcliffe 13 OG
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Xavier Sundby, Teddy Bloor, Kane Baldwin, Cain Smith, Morgan Ratcliffe (C), Kieran Harrison, Henri Wilder, Ali Smith (Jason Law 60), Zayn Hakeem, Tom Marriott (Jake Dumbleton HT), Nyle Blake (Devante Reittie 69)
Unused subs - Aiden Walker, Surafel Behailu
Louis Jones, Tyler Walker, Danny Amos, James Morgan (Cody Prior 85), Josh Barker (C), Reece Fielding, Keegan Townrow (Cameron Foulkes 62), Jake Fletcher, Lloyd Henderson (Lewis Scattergood 85), Will Longbottom, Matt Overton (James Morris 77)
Unused sub - James Leverton (GK)
It would be fair to say that the home side got off to a slow start to their first game of the new year and only really threatened Doncaster's goal sporadically until after half time.
Rovers showed their attacking intentions first, when Matt Overton broke away on the left flank and crossed to Lloyd Henderson, who crashed the ball against the crossbar from fifteen yards out.
Danny Amos was the next visiting player to deliver the ball in from the left, but Morgan Ratcliffe was on hand to head it away from danger.
Ratcliffe hooked the ball clear from virtually under the bar, after Xavier Sundby had missed with an attempted punch to clear Keegan Townrow's free kick away.
But it proved to be third time unlucky for the Stags captain, when he tried to clear Will Longbottom's cross away in the thirteenth minute, but only managed to divert the ball into his own goal as it bounced unkindly and ricocheted off of his shin.
Doncaster probed for an opening on the left flank yet again and having made an overlapping run, Amos hooked the ball towards Jacob Fletcher, who lashed his shot over the bar.
Mansfield's striker Zayn Hakeem was having his every move shadowed by Reece Fielding, a centre half who has played against the Stags first team for Rovers in this season's Checkatrade Trophy.
In a mix up that typified Mansfield's first half performance, Hakeem and Blake made a complete mess of completing a short corner routine and Tyler Walker comfortably cleared any apparent danger away.
Cain Smith was relishing the battle for midfield and was the Stags standout player, filling in well in his own position and that of Cameron Healey who was absent from the game through illness.
With Wilder pushed to left back, to team up with Teddy Bloor, Ratcliffe and Kane Baldwin, Kieran Harrison appeared to be playing as a sweeper, in the hole behind Cain and Ali Smith.
And it was Harrison who having spotted the Rovers defence moving out who lobbed the ball over them for Hakeem to run onto, but having shaken off the attentions of Amos, the Antigua and Barbuda Under 20 international could only glance his shot instead of getting any real power behind it.
Just before half time, the Stags had Kane Baldwin to thank for denying Rovers a second goal, when he managed to get his foot to a deflected shot from Amos and steer it away from the goal.
HT: Stags 0 v Rovers 1
Hakeem also took on Walker and dribbled past the frustrated full back, before running straight into Townrow and losing the ball.
(A) Smith dug the ball out of a crowd of players, advanced forward and played the ball out to Dumbleton on the left, whose first time delivery towards the six yard box was scrambled behind by a combination of Walker and Jones.
Sundby only got a glance of the ball at the last moment, but saved well from Overton who muscled his way past Ratcliffe.
Jason Law entered the fray to add to the Stags attacking options, as the Rovers defence started to find themselves with a few problems to solve. Bloor put a left wing corner onto the head of Hakeem, who headed wide of the target. Jones got down on one knee to gather Bloor's twenty yard free kick up into his chest. Harrison powered straight through the centre of midfield and launched a 'fire blaster' of a shot, that Fielding blocked.
Law and Harrison combined to put the Stags third substitute, Devante Reittie through on the right hand side of the Doncaster area and thought the angle was tight, he got his shot away, but the ball took a deflection and went wide.
Amos picked out Henderson with his flag kick, but the Rovers number nine put the ball wide.
(C) Smith, the Stags engine room, was still purring as the clock ticked down towards full time, he won a fair but firm tackle before spraying a pass to Reittie, whose stinging shot flew wide off of
Jones wandered briefly off of his line and was almost undone by (C) Smith's scooped effort that bounced on the line before the fortunate keeper managed to push the ball away.
Hakeem and (C) Smith linked to set up Law with a shot, but the ball dropped wide of the post.
FT: Mansfield Town 1 v Doncaster Rovers 1
A game that could have gone either way, in which Mansfield salvaged some pride from their second half endeavours, after a most uncharacteristic lacklustre showing before the break.
Next Saturday, Rovers face a trip to title challengers Notts County, while John Dempster's side face Hartlepool United at Clipstone in a game that kicks off at noon (i.e a hour before the Stags first team kick off at Meadow Lane against Notts County). Mansfield's youngsters will have to be on top of things to see off Pools, who beat them 1-0 with a 94th minute goal from Liam Travers back in October.