Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s Post 16 Squad kicked off their EFL CEFA Men’s Cup journey with a 3-1 defeat at home to Derby County F, a score line which overshadows the young Stags’ good performance.
The young Stags, who had won one and lost one in their league fixtures so far this campaign, welcomed a Derby County side from the division above and matched the visitors in a first half which went through every possible weather.
Both sides had chances to open the scoring early on – Jamie Aston was equal to a Derby shot three minutes in, before at the other end Nathan Dillon curled an effort wide on eight minutes, following good work on the left from Joe Heverin.
Dillon then had Mansfield’s best chance four minutes later as the Stags made brilliant counter attacking move, started at the back with strong defensive work from Archer-Jones. Dillon raced onto a lofted through ball from midfielder Twinn and beat both the keeper and defender for pace, sadly for the front man, his knock beyond the keeper bobbled the wrong side of the post.
The visitors then enjoyed a prolonged spell with the ball and would have felt disappointed to not have taken the lead as an effort from long range cannoned back off of the bar, they were also denied by a fantastic save from Aston on the half-hour before the referee stopped play to allow a torrential hail storm to pass.
After the restart neither side could really get going again and ended the first half dead-locked at 0-0.
After the break the Rams started on the front foot and seized the initiative on 52 minutes with a strike which zipped beyond Aston from 25 yards.
The Rams doubled their lead six minutes later, an audacious shot direct from a misplaced Aston goal-kick nearly caught the Stags keeper off guard, however Aston got a strong hand to the ball but could only parry the ball away – Derby were first to pounce, converting on the line for their second goal of the encounter.
Joe Edwards then handed the visitors the opportunity for a third as his strong tackle on the Derby forward saw the referee point to the Spot, Aston guessed correctly but couldn’t keep out the spot-kick as the Rams made it 3-0 with 66 minutes on the clock.
Mansfield then burst into life and with four minutes remaining got a glimmer of hope as substitute Sam Harris pulled a goal back from Twinns pull back, a late corner nearly saw Archer Jones reduce the deficit further, however despite an excellent leap at the far post – he couldn’t quite connect.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town [Football in the Community] 1-3 Derby County [Community Trust] F
STAGS: Aston, Stoppard (Culverhouse 50), Archer Jones, Edwards, Giles (Lunn 45), Wright © (Brown 66), Twinn, Rodgers (Harris 50), Bull, Heverin, Dillon (Bingham 74)
PHOTOS: Elizabeth Regan