Grimsby Town Under 18’s played host to Mansfield Town on Saturday in the Quarter-Finals of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup. The Mariners featured a mostly unchanged side, with Alex McMillan’s return to the Starting XI and Declan Slater’s appearance on the bench being the only differences. Under 16’s, Joe Starbuck and Lennon Stead, featured again on the bench.
Mansfield were fast out of the blocks and had the young Mariners on the back foot for much of the first ten minutes. But it wasn’t long before the Town started to get chances of their own. Several runs took Town deep into Mansfield’s half, but they struggled to break into the box. Mansfield also pressed well, and forced Town keeper, Oliver Battersby into making an excellent save. Neither side’s chances were successful, however, and both returned to the changing rooms wondering where the first goal might come from.
HALF-TIME: Grimsby Town 0 – 0 Mansfield Town
Town’s second half started similarly to how the first half ended, with a mixture of chances from both sides and neither being able to break the deadlock. A substitution on the sixty-minute mark changed things up for Town, with Slater coming on for Buckley. Four minutes later, a strike from BURRELL found the back of the net to put the young Mariners 1–0 up. Jamieson replaced McMillan a few minutes later, adding some fresh legs to a hard-working Town back line. Mansfield turned up the heat, desperately trying to find a reply. They thought they had succeeded on the seventy-minute mark, but the referee disallowed it for offside. Their goal came a few minutes later though, after two good saves from Battersby, Mansfield eventually finished from close-range. The teams were back on level terms. Town made two late replacements to aid their chances of a late winner, with Starbuck and Poynter replacing Paul-Jones and Walker, but it wasn’t to be. Penalties would decide who was to go through to face Hartlepool United in the Semi-Finals.
Mansfield were on top after the first round of penalties after Pollock was unlucky not to score, seeing his effort rebound off the post. That was soon rectified, however and a Richardson goal and a Save from Battersby meant that the score was 1-1 after two rounds. Mansfield missed again, while Poynter scored his spot kick to send Grimsby 2-1 up. Slater and Powles also fired their shots home, claiming victory for the Young Mariners.
FULL TIME: Grimsby Town 1 – 1 Mansfield Town (Penalties: 4 – 3)
After the game Academy Manager Neil Woods couldn’t hide his delight with his player’s efforts. He said: “The game was played in difficult conditions and our young team competed very well against a strong, organised Mansfield Town team. It was particularly pleasing that despite the conditions we continued to stick to our philosophy and showed great character to win on penalties”.
STARTING XI: 1. Oliver Battersby, 2. Alex McMillan (C), 3. Oliver Saunders, 4. Jock Curran, 5. Mattie Pollock, 6. Emil Powles, 7. Ty-Rhys Paul-Jones, 8. Kyle Richardson, 9. Rumarn Burrell, 10. Brandon Buckley, 11. Josh Walker.
12. Tom Jamieson, 14. Conley Poynter, 15. Joe Starbuck, 16. Lennon Stead, 17. Declan Slater
Watch the goals and the penalties from the game.