Mark Hemingray’s youth team will now have only the league title to focus on, after being knocked out of the Football Conference Youth Alliance League Cup at Field Mill on Wednesday, writes Craig Priest.
Facing Birmingham City Whites, who are also unbeaten in their league season, the young Stags we’re on the wrong end of a 4-2 scoreline at Field Mill facing a heavy pitch in difficult conditions.
It was the Whites who struck first, taking the lead on 12 minutes with a fortunate strike from distance. keeping the ball on the right hand side, the visitors looked to whip a cross into the area.
However the cross held up in the wind and flew over the on rushing keeper Ryan Hopkins.
The Stags we’re then left cursing their luck on 23 minutes when the wind played a major part in the visitors second, left back Liam-Marsden clearance looped up in the wind and sailed over the bemused Hopkins, doubling Birmingham’s lead.
Three minutes later the Stags found their rhythm at the other end, a dominant run from Joel Holland down the right saw him cut inside and shoot, Adam Somes smashed home the rebound after the visiting keeper had palmed away Holland’s effort.
It didn’t take long for Birmingham to restore their two goal cushion, making it 3-1 on the half hour mark, heading home a right wing cross after another prolonged spell in possession.
Unbeaten at the top of the football conference youth alliance north, Mark Hemingray’s Stags side refused to let the game slip, grabbing a vital life line three minutes before the half-time break. Adam Somes sent Jordan Jones on his way down the right flank; the wing man returned the favour drilling into Somes’ feet, the leading scorers shot was somehow cleared away as the ball bounced everywhere.
However the ball had not been cleared from the box, something Joel Holland took full advantage of, racing forward to slot home the loose ball.
After the break Stags looked desperately for an equaliser. Adam Somes, Scott Rogers, Joel Holland, Blake Vincent and substitute Matt Harris all saw shots saved, cleared off the line and strike the bar respectively before Birmingham grabbed the killer blow.
Mansfield we’re throwing everything forward again gave away a free-kick on the half-way line with seven minutes to go. A delightful ball was floated in with Birmingham getting to the loose ball first, driving home a venomous effort beyond Hopkins to seal their place in the quarter final.
MANSFIELD YOUTH: Hopkins,Robinson, Shaw (C), Gregory, Marsden, Jones, Rogers, Vincent, Holland, Hawkins, Somes. Used Subs: Horsley, Harris, Brown.