Youth Team Report | Young Mariners Continue Unbeaten Run with Point at Mansfield

Our youth team kept their unbeaten run going as they picked up a point on the road at Mansfield Town on Saturday.

The Young Mariners, playing their fourth game in the space of 12 days, started the EFL Youth Alliance league fixture slowly and found themselves a goal down when Alfie King put the Stags ahead.

But they recovered well to turn the scoreline around before half-time, with Grayson Giles and Henry Brown on-target.

The hosts went on to claim a share of the spoils though, after striker McKeal Abdullah equalised eight minutes into the second half.

The match was played on a 3G pitch at Mansfield’s RH Academy training complex, ensuring it went ahead despite heavy rain before and throughout the contest.

Town arrived in Nottinghamshire fresh from a 3-0 FA Youth Cup away victory over Shrewsbury Town in midweek, which was their seventh win in a row in all competitions and followed an emphatic 7-0 home success against Hartlepool United in their previous league encounter.

Mansfield made the brighter start to the game, with Elliott Hartmann and Callum Johnson both sending crosses over after attacks down the home right.

The two combined to create the first chance of the morning on 10 minutes, with Hartmann playing the ball to Johnson for him to cross.  It broke for King at the far post but his shot flew over the bar.

Grimsby’s first attack of note came soon afterwards and saw Harvey Cribb find Shakeel Brown on the right with a diagonal ball.  The winger’s cross was caught by goalkeeper Anthony Nunez.

The Young Mariners were starting to grow into the game by the quarter-hour mark as they looked to keep possession and build up forward moves patiently, while centre-back Finley Abrahams stepped in to break up home attacks.

But Mansfield were still the more threatening of the two sides and a shot by King was caught by Town keeper Seb Auton, then Abdullah headed wide after Hartmann had cut into the penalty area from the right.

The home pressure eventually paid off on 23 minutes with the opening goal.  Again, the attack came from the right as Johnson cut inside and sent a low ball across the six-yard line.  It was not dealt with by the Town defence and KING took advantage to score from close range.

A foul on Charlie Clements gave the visitors an opportunity to respond within two minutes, although Shakeel Brown’s deflected 30-yard strike from the free kick was pushed away for a corner by Nunez.  The flag-kick beat everybody and went out at the far post for a goal kick.

Instead, Town found their equaliser with a slick and perfectly executed counter-attack on 34 minutes.  A great ball from Alfie Foy in midfield found Shakeel Brown on the right and he crossed for GILES to finish from 12 yards.

Grimsby captain Billy Bradley put in a good block to stop Abdullah on the edge of the box as Mansfield aimed to reclaim the advantage.

But the Young Mariners seized the initiative when they completed the turnaround with a second goal in the space of three minutes.  This time, Giles was the provider as he played a ball through the middle for HENRY BROWN to chase.  The midfielder still had a lot of work to do to make it his but he battled well inside the box to win it and his determination was rewarded when he sent a low finish past Nunez and into the far corner of the net.

After being on the back foot for much of the half, Town now had the lead and they aimed to turn it into a two-goal cushion when Clements won a corner a minute before the break.  Shakeel Brown’s delivery from the right was headed back across goal by Bradley but Clements’ shot was blocked for another corner, which was headed clear.

One added minute was played before the half-time whistle, with the away side going into the dressing rooms ahead at the interval.




No changes were made before the restart and the Young Mariners began the second half brightly as they set off at a high tempo.

That encouraging opening led to a chance to make it 3-1 four minutes in when Henry Brown ran onto a loose ball inside the box to go one-on-one with Nunez, although his shot went just wide of the target as the keeper rushed off his line to narrow the angle.

Town looked to have gained control of the game but just as the visitors had equalised against the run of play earlier, Mansfield did the same when they levelled the scores on 53 minutes.  Auton came out of his penalty area to meet the ball but his attempted clearance went straight to ABDULLAH, who steered a low shot into the empty net from wide on the right.

The hosts were straight back on the attack after the goal and Ronnie Kokkinos won them a corner on the right, which eventually turned into another one when his shot was blocked after the ball had been played short from the flag.  This time, another low delivery was blocked and cleared.

Cribb was shown the yellow card after a late challenge near the touchline on the Mansfield right, then a cross from Harvey Scott on the opposite flank proved just too far ahead of Abdullah for the striker to connect with a header.

Cribb sent an effort wide at the other end as the Young Mariners aimed to reply to a strong spell from their hosts, before Callum Storr replaced Henry Brown in the first substitution of the game with 20 minutes to go.

Defender Lewis Warnaby was booked for pulling Clements down as he looked to make progress towards the Mansfield penalty area, although Shakeel Brown’s free kick was cleared after it had been headed back across goal by Bradley.

Clements was involved again on 75 minutes when his low shot was deflected wide for a corner after Shakeel Brown had cut into the box from the left.  Nunez was first to the ball from the flag-kick but he could not get any distance on his punch and it fell for Bradley, whose volley hit the bar before the home defence recovered to clear the danger.

Both sides were still looking for a winner as the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes but as the rain continued to fall, the game had become scrappy, with few genuine chances being created.

Town had the better of the late opportunities though, and a burst through the middle by Storr led to a shot by Shakeel Brown, which was caught by the keeper.

Storr set up another attack when he found Giles on the right with two minutes remaining.  The striker looked up and pulled the ball back for Shakeel Brown but he was unable to direct it towards goal from 12 yards.

That proved to be the final chance for either side to grab all three points but the draw ensured the Young Mariners remain unbeaten since losing to Burton Albion in their opening league game of the season on August 26.


Town: Seb Auton, Billy Bradley, Cameron Walsh, Alfie Foy, Finley Abrahams, Harvey Cribb, Shakeel Brown, Henry Brown (Callum Storr, 70), Grayson Giles, Charlie Clements, Jack Collins

Subs not used: Cameron Gardner, Will Mitchell, Harry Shipstone, Finley Axcell


Mansfield: Anthony Nunez, Elliott Hartmann, Harvey Scott, Tyler White, Lewis Warnaby, Mace Oldershaw (Bailey Hamilton, 90+1), Alfie King, Ollie Taylor, McKeal Abdullah, Ronnie Kokkinos, Callum Johnson

Subs not used: Noah Aynsley-Johnson, Lucas Ellis, Dan Organ, Che Whitman-Brown



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