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Academy

Mansfield U18s 4 Rovers U18s 3

30 October 2019

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Rovers U18s exit the FA Youth Cup in the first round after they came up short 4-3 away at Mansfield Town.

Just one change was made by Paul Stancliffe for the game with Josh Clemitson dropping to the bench as Elliott Walker returned to the starting XI after recovering from illness.

Rovers took the lead on the seventh minute with some swagger with Junior Smith running the show. He started by chesting the ball down in midfield, rotating 180-degrees and storming on goal. At first glance, the forward struggled to get his shot away so after the ball bobbled around in the box, it fell to him a second time and he certainly made his chance count.

On the 15th minute a fabulous free-kick was taken by Nathan Dimou unleashing Jack Watson who was just off target with his shot.

Liam Ravenhill then conceded a foul on Kyle Tomlin – Shamar Lawson took the free kick from 25-yards out and sent a right-footed ball to the far post which Ben Bottomley grasped out of the air.

Mansfield’s first big chance on goal came in extraordinary fashion when Lawson thumped a shot on goal from 30-yards which hit the underside of the bar and came back into play – the follow-up header from Jimmy Knowles was denied by Bottomley.

A high line from Mansfield forced Watson into a shot from 25-yards which narrowly flew by the right-hand corner of Maison Campbell’s goal.

A throw-in from Lewis Cunningham almost lead to a Rovers second as Will McGowan got on the end of it from the 18-yard box and curled the ball just past the right-hand corner of the net.

Just before the half-time whistle Mansfield scored an equaliser after Jimmy Knowles stretched the ball right into Bottomley’s right hand corner on the angle from just outside the box.

The score was 1-1 at half-time despite Rovers controlling possession and having the most attempts on goal.

Within the first few moments of Mansfield restarting for the second-half, Rovers won back possession and caused Mansfield some problems, with Smith striking just wide of Campbell’s goal.

A corner routine fresh off the training ground almost paid dividends when Will McGowan found the head of Nathan Dimou who just couldn’t get the right direction on the ball. 

Brutally Mansfield took the lead when a ball from the left-hand side was met by Rio Molyneaux who stabbed it past Bottomley from close proximity. 

Rovers later had two identical opportunities when Walker crossed the ball from the right-hand side. On first attempt it didn’t sit right for Smith on the receiving end, but five minutes later Smith brought the ball down well and provided an equally good finish.

Mansfield soon retook the lead after a fine ball found Ben Bayliss in space down the right, he dragged the ball back into the box for Knowles to grab his brace. 

Knowles tried his luck for a hat-trick but was forced to shoot into the side-netting after being pressured by Cunningham.

The hosts soon had their fourth goal when Molyneaux curled the ball over Bottomley from 25-yards – leaving the keeper with little chance of stopping.

A mere consolation came Rovers’ way around the 90th minute mark as McGowan sliced the ball home. Watson tried to get the ball back quickly as the team sought an equaliser but this led to unsavoury scenes which ended with Mansfield’s goalkeeper being shown a straight red card. 

The incident led to six minutes of added time, but Rovers were unable to get the goal they needed.

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