Mark Hemingray’s Mansfield Town academy side suffered their first league defeat of the season, ending up on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline away at Newcastle Town, reports Craig Priest.
The table-topping young Stags had, prior to the game, embarked on a 14-game unbeaten league run taking them to the top of the table, a run which included thrashing last night’s opponents 7-0 at Field Mill earlier in the season in the reverse fixture.
The scoreline clearly played on the hosts minded as the fixture got underway. A fiery game saw Stags midfielder Blake Vincent stretchered off and taken to A&E with a suspected broken leg following an awful late challenge from the hosts.
Joel Holland also sustained a nasty head wound later on in the first half following a corner. The Stags wing man was bandaged up and played on until midway through the second half.
Level at the break, the Stags came out of the traps brightly in the second half but couldn’t break the deadlock, eventually falling behind on 65 minutes following a corner.
Adam Somes replaced Holland shortly after but was only on the pitch for 10 minutes, before another late challenge from the hosts saw the Stags leading front man square up to his marker and then shown a straight red card by the referee after the linesman had flagged.
The Stags woes got worse as skipper Jobe Shaw picked up an injury and had to be replaced. The 10 men battled but hopes of a revival were dashed five minutes from time, as keeper Ryan Hopkins’ apparent foul on the advancing front man saw the referee award a harsh penalty.
The young keeper guessed wrong and couldn’t prevent the second goal which condemned the Stags to their first ever defeat in the Football Conference Youth Alliance, of which they remain top with the superior goal difference.
FC Halifax Town are in second having played a game more than the Stags. The sides will meet on the 4th April in a game which could prove pivotal in the youngsters title dreams.
MANSFIELD TOWN YOUTH: Hopkins, Marsden, Shaw (C) (Munn), Gregory, Jones, Brown, Rogers, Vincent (Villums), Holland (Somes), Hawkins, Harris.