Mansfield Town assistant boss Lee Glover said the whole club was delighted to see 17-year-old Jimmy Knowles net his first senior professional goal in tonight’s penalties defeat by visiting Crewe after a 1-1 draw in the Leasing.com Trophy group game.
Crewe after a 1-1 draw in the Leasing.com Trophy group game.
Knowles scored a thunderbolt of a goal in only his second start to put Stags ahead only to see a deflected Oli Finney cross somehow sneak in from the tightest of angles at the near post to square it.
“Jimmy got a great goal to start with, a young lad starting his career – it was a great finish. He will be absolutely delighted tonight,” smiled Glover.
“His performance was great for a young lad. We know there are areas he needs to work on, but the lad wants to learn, listen and work.
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“All his team mates were shaking his hand afterwards and were buzzing for him.
“We had a couple of opportunities to score a second but didn’t get it, then there was a freak goal that sort of went in at the near post. We didn’t have a good view of it.”
He added: “We said at half-time that Crewe want to pass all the time so let’s get round them and try to put a marker down on them and see how good they are defensively.
“We did that and were happy with the performance level, but we couldn’t get the winning goal. We just needed that bit of quality in the final third.
“Jimmy showed honesty to stay on his feet when he went round the keeper and the keeper hit him and he didn’t go down, thinking he’s going to put it in.
“After the first 20 minutes I think we were in the ascendancy. I think we had a lot of good play.
“But there were areas – particularly in the final third – where we could have shown more quality and pick the right pass at times.
“The boys were on the front foot after the first 20 minutes and I think our fans who turned up tonight would have appreciated the effort and, at times, the intensity of our game.
“We are just disappointed we didn’t get the winning goal.”
Jacob Mellis lasted just 19 minutes as a substitute before limping off and Glover said: “His hamstring tightened up and if that goes it’s a month out, so we took him off as a precaution even though he probably didn’t want to come off.
“When he came on he played some lovely passes straight away and got us playing in the final third.”
The game also saw keeper Bobby Olenik back after 10 months out injured.
Glover said: “It was fantastic. Everyone in the building is happy for Bobby to be back. It’s nice to see him back in a shirt and out on the pitch.
“There were quite a few positives overall, despite losing on penalties again.
“We thought the performance was quite good.
“I though CJ Hamilton and Jimmy Knowles did well, Dapo Afolayan did well, particularly early on the game, and Andy Cook looked a major threat today.”