EFL Youth Alliance (NE)
at Brumby Hall, Appleby Frodingham FC
Scunthorpe United (0) 0
Mansfield Town (0) 1
Kieran Harrison 61
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Adam Kelsey, Lewis McMichael, Lewis Butroid (C), Kyle Porter (Kane Bartholemew 48), Sam Lilley, Leslie Sackey, David Allasan, Joe Busby (James Kalu 75), George Barmby (Ewan Train 87), JamesDean-Atkinson (Sent off 86), Fortunate Sitole
Unused subs - Joe Parker, Cameron Moorfoot
Sam Wilson, Teddy Bloor, Henri Wilder, Keaton Ward,Kane Baldwin, Kieran Harrison,Jason Law (Nyle Blake 55), Cameron Healey (C), Devante Reittie (Jake Dumbleton 73), Alistair Smith (Surafel Behailu 88), Zayn Hakeem
Unused subs - Xavier Sundby, Aiden Walker
Which means, if John Dempster's youngsters win their next game (or any of their remaining three games), or even if they draw all three, they can't be caught and will have completed a remarkable achievement of winning back to back titles.
But in the final analysis, the visitors had just that bit too much quality for the young Iron side and did well to stay focused in the face of a few harsh challenges.
It was always going to be a tight game, because teams have been raising their game against the champions elect and not wanting to give them any quarter.
But this Stags side can look after themselves and each other when the tackles, usually either very firm or conveniently 'mistimed' start flying in.
As the home side cleared their lines and countered, there was almost a calamity at the back for Mansfield, as the ball sat up awkwardly as Wilder attempted to clear it and he almost scooped the ball over Sam Wilson and into his own goal, but thankfully the keeper managed to adjust his footing and make a catch.
Lewis Butroid crossed to George Barmby who headed wide of the Stags goal. Fromthen on in, Kayn Baldwin marshalled any threat that Barmby posed well, whilst Harrison did the same to James Dean-Atkinson.
Smith was proving to be a handfulfor the home defence and having dribbled past two challenges from Cameron Healey's pass forward, he was unlucky to see his shot deflected wide.
Lilley was having a solid game at the back for Scunthorpe and made two timely interceptions as the Stags looked to force a goal before the break, clearing Smith's close range effort from Hakeem's left wing cross virtually off the line, before racing across, less than a minute later, to break up a good passing move between Wilder, Ward and Smith.
Right on half time, Ward delivered the ball to Smith just inside the Iron penalty area, but his shot on the turn flew wide.
HT: Iron U18 0 v Stags U18 0
Healey was immense in the middle of the pitch, winning the ball in the air time after time, as both sides tried adopting a direct approach, to overcome the problems that the surface was creating when they tried to keep the ball on the deck and pass.
Reittie swept the ball across the Scunthorpe goalmouth towards Hakeem, but David Allasan got across quickly tohead the ball behind at the expense of a corner.
Once again Bloor picked out Harrison, who met the ball head on and powered it past Kelsey, for what proved to be the only goal of the game in the sixty first minute.
|"It's a goal!!!"|
Ward was also booked for standing up to his opponent after being kicked.
Reittie and Nyle Blake combined well, but the final ball accelerated away from Hakeem again as it picked up pace down the slope.
Harrison put Blake through on goal with a probing knock forward, but Butroid arrived at the last second to block the Mansfield substitutes close range shot.
Ward had a chance to put the Stags two goals in front, but he couldn't keep his twenty five yard free kick on target.
With just four minutes remaining, Dean-Atkinson was red carded for a second bookable offence.
But despite their numerical disadvantage, Scunthorpe, to their credit, pushed forward looking for a late goal. Wilson stood strong. Wilder made a last ditch clearance and kept the home sides wide men at bay out on their right flank and the Stags had a moment of good fortune to be grateful for when Leslie Sackey's shot from the edge of the area deflected wide.
With Barmby continuing to walk the tightrope with the referee, the home side decided to substitute him as a precaution.
The Stags dug in deep and saw out the last few frantic minutes and once again claimed another victory on the road that was built on a solid defensive foundation.
FT: Scunthorpe United U18 0 v Mansfield Town U18 1
The young Stags are next in action on Wednesday 19th April, when they travel to York City.