Rovers end Mansfield’s unbeaten start to the season in a hard fought match at Cantley Park.Doncaster Rovers U18s - 2 (Longbottom 25' , Parkin 91')
Mansfield Town U18s - 0
Saturday 10th October 2015, 11:00am
Cantley Park, Doncaster
Youth Alliance League
Unbeaten Mansfield Town headed into the match full of confidence and it showed in the opening exchanges of the match as the Stags piled on the early pressure.
With Rovers unable to get a hold of the match, their defence had to be alert, especially in the 13th minute when Mansfield striker Alistar Smith was denied an opening goal by a superb block.
Despite the pressure, the visitors were unable to create any further clear cut chances and they became a little complacent in possession.
The warning signs began in the 23rd minute as Joe Pugh latched on to a mistake but was pulled up for a foul.
However, Mansfield did not learn from this as two minutes later yet another defensive mix-up allowed Will Longbottom a one-on-one chance in which the striker came out on top, delightfully slotting the ball home into the bottom right corner to give Rovers the lead against the run of play.
Town tried to respond in the 31st minute but Cain Smith could only head Teddy Bloor’s cross wide.
This miss nearly proved costly for the visitors three minutes later as their poor passing continued but Joseph McCormick missed a sitter, sending his shot over the bar from 6 yards out.
Rovers began to take control of the half and were inches away from doubling their lead just before half-time but Bloor managed to scramble Reece Fielding’s header off the line.
Moments later McCormick came close with a looping effort from Michael Carberry’s free kick and Mansfield were relieved to hear the whistle for the break.
Half-time – Rovers U18s 1 Mansfield Town U18s 0
The visitors started the 2nd half brightly but once again found the Rovers defence difficult to break.
Two efforts from Pugh and Longbottom failed to trouble Mansfield stopper Sam Wilson and it wasn’t until the 68th minute before Rovers had their first real chance of the half.
McCormick, who worked hard throughout the match, cut inside of his defender before squaring the ball to Mathew Parkin, unfortunately, the midfielder dragged his effort wide.
Two minutes later, Pugh produced a stunning cross only for it to graze McCormick’s toes with the open goal waiting.
Rovers received a wakeup call 15 minutes from time as Mansfield came close to equalising. A free-kick on the edge of the area eventually dropped to Kieran Harisson but his shot bobbled wide of the post.
This seemed to encourage the home side and they should have put daylight between themselves and their opponents six minutes from time but for a fine save from Wilson.
A route one ball found substitute Lloyd Henderson, he controlled the ball superbly before unleashing a powerful strike on target only to be denied by a strong right palm from Wilson.
Mansfield earned a free-kick on the edge of the area two minutes from time and began to push men forward as they desperately sought the equaliser.
Rovers had defended corners and free-kicks well all match, manged to clear the ball and counter attack a depleted Mansfield defence.
A fine pass found Parkin outside of the area, he beat his man and finished coolly to give Rovers all three points.
FT: Doncaster Rovers U18s 2-0 Mansfield Town U18s
DRFC STARTING XI: Iveson, Greasley, Carberry (Walker 71’), Barker, Mbuti, Fielding, Parkin, Linley, Pugh, McCormick (Henderson 81’), Longbottom.
DRFC SUBS NOT USED: Jones, Morris
MANSFIELD STARTING XI: Wilson, Bloor, Danquah, C.Smith, Ratcliffe, Harisson, Marriott (Docherty 70’), Healey, Blake, A.Smith (Brittijn 47’), Hakeem.
MANSFIELD SUBS NOT USED: Bishop, Shaw, Behailu.
Pugh - Yellow - DRFC