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REPORT | Mansfield U18s 2 Rovers U18s 0

21 November 2022


REPORT | Mansfield U18s 2 Rovers U18s 0

21 November 2022

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Rovers U18s fell to their first defeat in a month as they were beaten by Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium in EFL Youth Alliance League action.

The visitors had good chances of opening the scoring either side of the break but ultimately lost out on the road thanks to second-half goals from Ronnie Kokkinos and McKeal Abdullah for the Stags.

Despite the loss, Rovers find themselves in the same league position, three points behind the leaders but now with just one game in hand with a number of games coming their way before the Christmas break in just under a month.

Josh Lindley got proceedings underway for Rovers and almost immediately the theme of the entire game came into view.

The cagey, end-to-end nature was in full force from minute one but chances came around sparingly throughout the first quarter of an hour with both goalkeepers left untroubled as set pieces came to nothing early on.

Seventeen minutes in however, the first piece of individual brilliance was put on display in the fixture as the hosts had a successful move from the left wing come within yards of the goal, before Charlie Petch came in with a great sliding challenge to clear the danger and keep the deadlock.

Rovers then had a good spell of play at the other end of the pitch with Jack Goodman seeing a quick number of chances come his way.

The first came from a header off an Alex Fletcher cross that looked like it was going to find its way into goal but the ‘keeper got across well to hold onto the ball and deny the visitors a lead.

Then Rovers’ talisman received the ball, after great skill from Owen Scattergood just inside the box, and took the shot on, only to see it blocked straight back into his path to have another go, but his left footed effort could only be directed wide.

Petch put in another great block on the half-hour mark but only half-chances came each side’s way as they closed in on the break and the teams entered the interval on level terms.

The second-half saw the same nature of play continue with each team searching for an area to capitalise on as possession played a key role in the opening exchanges.

Neither ‘keeper was really tested over the first 15 minutes of the second period, but a Mansfield defender became the only player to receive a yellow card in the fixture for holding back Rovers stopper Jake Oram when he tried to set his team off on a quick counter attack.

Frank Sinclair then made his first change of the game bringing on Faris Khan for Owen Scattergood and the midfielder almost made an instant impact.

Will Green linked up well with Khan to pass the ball into the path of Goodman who tried to drive a shot from inside the box but a barrage of defenders were between himself and the goal and his shot was blocked to stop the visitors from taking the lead.

The deadlock was however broken in the next minute of the game by the hosts when the ball fortunately broke for Kokkinos to tuck beyond Oram and into the bottom left corner to give the Stags the lead with just under 25 minutes left to play.

Mansfield then came close to doubling their lead just minutes later when a glancing header from a corner went just wide of the post before Rovers introduced Justin Bennett in place of Green.

Just two minutes later, Town doubled their lead spectacularly when McKeal Abdullah curled an effort from the right wing into the top left corner, leaving Oram with no chance of denying a second goal.

Chris Pooley was substituted on for Tom Parkinson as Rovers searched for a route back into the game but it took a great Jak Whiting tackle to stop a third Mansfield goal in a three against one situation.

Goodman then struck the crossbar from range with a right footed effort late on before Freddie Allen came on for Petch for the final knockings as the hosts saw the game out and took the three points.

Rovers U18s will now aim to bounce back from defeat and return to winning ways as they travel to Scunthorpe United for more EFL Youth Alliance League action on Saturday, November 26.

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