Despite a defeat on penalties, Mansfield Town boss John Dempster believes Tuesday night's home Leasings.com Trophy clash with Everton U21s will stand many of Stags youngsters in good stead for the future.
The sides battled out an entertaining 1-1 draw before the spot-kicks saw the Toffees grab the extra point on offer.
But Mansfield started with six youngsters and sent another on during the 90 minutes.
“I think both football clubs would have thought it was a good exercise for their young players,” said Dempster.
“We were disappointed not to win the game and the penalty shoot-out was disappointing.
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“But it was great to see Clarkey (James Clarke) and Gibbo (Lewis Gibbens) step up. I thought they were outstanding.
“Gibbo was solid and improved as the game progressed and it was another 90 minutes for Clarkey at right back, who could do better on the ball but did well.
“Alistair Smith was up against some good players in the centre of the pitch, so that will do his experience no end of good.
“I know Jimmy Knowles and Jason Law only got 45 minutes, but that experience will bode well fore future for them.”
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He added: “Young (Aidan) Stone in goal was very good as well and showed good composure and distribution.
“So there were massive positives from the game.
“It was a different type of exercise getting the young payers involved.
“Everton have some really talented young players and I think it was a brilliant test not only for our young players but also our senior pros. So it was great to see our young players step up.”