AFC Mansfield U21’s too strong for Belper Town U21

MIDLANDS Regional Alliance round-up.
MIDLANDS Regional Alliance round-up.

The 5-0 scoreline looks convincing enough but it failed to reflect the contribution that the Nailers Under 21s made to the game, nor the ill luck that they endured at the Forest Town Arena.

The game started badly for the Belper youngsters, falling behind after just 8 minutes when Danny Williams cut into the right hand side of the penalty area and fired low into the far corner of Mark Rathbone’s net.

And it got worse for the visitors when the Bulls doubled their lead just three minutes later when Jamie Yorke finished off a fine flowing move to finish with clinical efficiency.

Yuyi Kabanje headed just over the cross bar as Belper fought to get back into the game before Sam Vickers was twice denied by superb goalkeeping by Dan Hartshorne.

Hartshorne did very well to save at his near post after Vickers had worked his way into the Mansfield penalty area repeated the feat moments later following a similar move.

And the Nailers winger went even closer moments later with an angled shot that smacked against the Mansfield crossbar with Hartshorne beaten.

So, it was somewhat against the run of play when Declan Brewin tapped in from close range after Eden Homer had done the spadework with a teasing low cross into Belper’s six-yard box.

Danny Williams then brought out a great save by Mark Rathbone when a fourth goal looked certain just before the interval.

But it wasn’t long after the break that the Bulls scored their fourth goal of the night when the Belper defence failed to deal with an in swinging corner and Declan Brewin was on hand to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.

To their credit, Belper continued to play constructive football but they found home ‘keeper Dan Hartshorne in inspired form.

Mansfield added a fifth goal just before the hour when Brewin ran onto a through ball, beat Rathbone in a race to the ball, slipping ball around the Belper ‘keeper before rolling it into the unguarded net.

Hartshorne then denied Laurence Constable to keep out his fierce shot and George Johnson was equally unlucky when his free kick cannoned back off the woodwork, proving convincingly that Belper’s luck was well and truly out on this occasion.

And just to confirm the viewpoint, Nailers central defender Tom Gillott then skied the ball over the Mansfield crossbar when it looked easier to score.

In the end, the score line was convincing enough but the Nailers youngsters will have learned a lot from the experience.

AFC Mansfield: Hartshorne, Annable, McGowan, Smith, Spencer, Homer, Newby, Sowter, Brewin, Williams, Yorke. Subs (all used) Higgins, Cremin, Charlesworth

Belper Town: Rathbone, Taylor, Parkewr, Kabanje, Gillott, Barnes (Barker 62), Harris (Sanyang 75), Johnson, Birks (Taggart 62), Constable, Vickers. Other Subs Harrison, Taylor.

Referee: Neil Allsop.