John Dempster proud of Mansfield Town youngsters after FA Youth Cup heartbreak

Stags youth team's FA Cup run ended in round three.
Stags youth team's FA Cup run ended in round three.

Christian Saydee broke Mansfield Town hearts with a last gasp winner for Premier League Bournemouth in their FA Youth Cup third round tie at the Vitality Stadium.

Noah Stokes had put underdogs Mansfield ahead on 15 minutes and they deservedly held onto that lead in an impressive first half in which they were the better side.

But, just when it looked like they might pull off an upset, the Cherries levelled on 67 minutes through Jake Scrimshaw and piled on the pressure, culminating in the late, late winner.

“Today I wouldn’t be critical of anybody; they absolutely ran their socks off for the football club and they are an absolute credit to each other as a team,” said academy manager John Dempster.

“I’m really disappointed for them because in the changing room right now there’s a lot of disappointed young players.

“It was a good performance. We were excellent first half, we caused Bournemouth all sorts of problems and they struggled to play out.

“But they scored a goal from a set play and unfortunately, we conceded in the last minute which we’re disappointed with.

“It’s part of their learning. We need to learn to bounce back from this because we’ve got some important league games coming up.”

Dempster said it was a great experience for the youngsters to travel overnight and play a Premier League side.

“We travelled down on the first team coach and stayed over in a hotel, so the preparation was never in question,” he said.

“It’s a brilliant experience for these boys to have an overnight stay and see what it’s all about.

“They should be proud - they’ve come up against a Premier League outfit who are trying to get players in the Premier League whereas we are trying to get players in League Two.

“It’s important that they learn how to bounce back from a massive disappointment, but they’ve got to use it to fuel them.

“They’ve got to use it to motivate them that’s what a senior pro would do.”

He added: “I’ve been really pleased this season because we’ve been strong over the last three seasons as an academy, having won the league three years in a row.

“This fourth season has been a real challenge as in pre-season the boys were a little bit off the pace and to look how far they’ve come in probably six months is why I do the job.

“I think we’ll also be up there in the league again and that’s something these boys want to be doing - competing at the top of the table because they enjoy achieving things as a group.

“They’ve developed as individuals and they’ve improved as a team.”

Mansfield signalled their intent early on as midfielder Jack Cornell fired firing a powerful strike just wide of the post.

After Tyrese Sinclair had curled a free kick just wide, Stags were ahead on 15 minutes.

Stokes headed a Sinclair free kick at goal where keeper Calum Ward made the save only for Stokes to pounce on the rebound and net at the second time of asking.

Almost immediately Stags keeper Keaton Marrs saved superbly from a Scrimshaw shot as they looked for a quick response.

Seconds later Stags striker Jimmy Knowles saw his shot pushed brilliantly onto the crossbar by Ward.

Jake Cope forced Marrs into another fine save from a corner, the keeper tipping the ball over the bar.

Still the chances came and Sinclair went through on goal only to see his effort saved well by Ward.

Early in the second half, Scrimshaw tried to break clear and was denied by some brilliant defending from Jamie Chisholm.

Then Ward denied Sinclair from a Mansfield corner.

But, after Tom Hanfrey had curled a free kick just wide for Bournemouth, they were level on 67 minutes after Scrimshaw glanced home a Hanfrey corner from close range.

The Cherries stepped up a gear and Marrs saved well from Cope while Chisholm made a great block to thwart Scrimshaw.

But right at the death Saydee was played through on goal and slotted coolly past Marrs.

Even after that late blow Stags might have levelled but Sinclair’s free kick forced a save from Ward with the final kick of a thrilling game.

MANSFIELD TOWN: Marrs, Stokes, Sketchley, Cornell (Sarson 74), Armsden, Chisholm, King (Molyneaux 90), Tague, Knowles, Sinclair, O’Sullivan. Subs not used: Boyle, Rangel, Saunders

BOURNEMOUTH: Ward, Genesini (Moriah-Welsh 57), Hanfrey, Dinsmore, Camp, Ibsen Rossi, Cope (Torniainen 90), Nippard, Scrimshaw, Saydee, Clements (Kurran-Browne 69). Subs not used: Parker-Trott, Pardoe

REFEREE: Shane Mansfield.

ATTENDANCE: 241.