Mansfield Town U21s coach Mike Whitlow was delighted with the way his young charges played against a very experienced Shrewsbury Town reserves in yesterday’s 1-0 Central League Cup defeat at Greenhous Meadow.
The Shrews included players of the ilk of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Andy Mangan and, in the end, a single strike by Ebanks-Blake early in the second half proved the only difference.
The goal was against the run of play and although Shrewsbury had more of the ball, Mansfield had the best first half chances.
“It’s amazing that our players can say they kept Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Andy Mangan quiet for the most of the game,” smiled Whitlow.
“What an experience, and where else would they get that? They can think about what they learnt and I told them this is the level they want to be at.
“Playing against players like that, at a high level in a big stadium, isn’t that what they want?
“The hard work is the minimum and there’s players in there that can hardly walk. They’ve got the technical skill so it’s about keeping that application now until the end of the season.
“They compacted space, stopped the centre forwards and played to feet well.
“Playing in a stadium is a huge experience for the boys and we were unlucky not to score through Tom and Lewis but this is a very good team we’ve played and it’s 16 to 18-year-olds playing against an experienced team in a great venue.”