Mansfield Town’s youth team ended their debut season in the Football Conference Youth Alliance North with a last minute 1-0 defeat away to champions elect FC Halifax yesterday afternoon, writes Craig Priest.
The young Stags, who themselves held top spot for the majority of the campaign’, put in a resilient defensive performance to keep the league leaders at bay throughout the game.
Former Celtic youngster Danny Bisungu replaced leading scorer Adam Somes in the line up as the latter began a suspension.
And it was the former who gave the ball away with the game 10 minutes old, leading to the first real goal scoring chance of the game for the hosts.
A mazy run through the middle saw Scott Rogers, Blake Vincent and skipper Jobe Shaw beaten, however the final shot lacked conviction and sailed over Ryan Hopkins bar.
The Stags should have been ahead by the break after creative play in the final third saw Danny Bisungu squeeze a pass through too Joe Flint who fired narrowly wide on 32 minutes.
Bisungu himself was then denied on the stroke of half time after good work between Scott Rogers and Jack Hawkins to stretch the hosts.
The young Shaymen needed all three points to put pressure on second-placed Gateshead ahead of their final two fixtures and came out much stronger in the second half, putting Hemingray’s side under pressure at the back.
Goalkeeper Ryan Hopkins made a wonderful save on 72 minutes to keep out a point blank header before Blake Vincent scrambled away the danger from a Halifax throw a minute later.
Wanting to end the season with a victory, the Stags threw far too many bodies forward in the final minute and we’re undone on the counter attack with the hosts out numbering Hemingray’s side six to three. A low cross from the left hand side was bundled in from three yards out to seal the game for the hosts.
MANSFIELD TOWN: Hopkins, Marsden, Shaw (C), Gregory, Coupe, Bisungu, Rogers, Vincent, Holland, Hawkins, Flint. Used Subs: Vilums, Harris, Chambers