The Academy had to make the trip to Mansfield Town in the 1st round of the Youth Alliance Cup. This was probably the toughest draw the Young Lions could have received with Mansfield Town currently sitting mid-table in the Football League’s Youth Alliance. Despite their higher place in the football pyramid the Academy management and players believed they could compete well with their counterparts.
The match began slowly with neither team taking control of the game, however, as time progressed Mansfield Town began to get a grip on the game and they were causing problems for the Lions defence with the long ball into the channels. Despite this the young Stags failed to create any clear-cut chances with Jack Brooks and Josh Snowden showing maturity in their defending. A series of corners for Mansfield Town as the 1st half drew to a close saw their centre-back power just over the crossbar from 5 yards out. Anything that did reach the goal saw keeper Luke Wilson deal with them.
In the 2nd half Guiseley’s youngsters upped the tempo and began to show more positivity. The 55 minute mark saw the introduction of Lamar Lindo and Jacob Brown in place of hard-working 16 year olds Ryan Hargreaves and Jimmy Carlton, who both played well in their 1st game for the Academy. Chances were now being created and Wilson Lourneco, another impressive 16 year old debutant, saw a good strike from distance well saved by the Mansfield keeper. Minutes later Wilson found himself in the same position on the edge of the penalty box but this time his powerful shot hit the bottom corner of Mansfield’s goal away from the outstretched arms of the keeper. 1-0 to Guiseley!
This was becoming Guiseley AFC’s best period of match and Mansfield Town’s scholars were clearly rattled. The lead was nearly doubled through Redmond Lee, who cleverly created space inside the area before striking the ball over the bar. On the opposite wing Luke Porritt, playing his 1st game since returning from injury was able to run across the Mansfield Town back four and get a shot off but it failed to trouble their keeper. As the Young Lions pressed they became aware of Mansfield’s ability to hit on the break, however, with the ever-dependable Callum Marshall sitting in front of a strong defence containing full-backs Ben Walker and Joel Thompson and centre-backs – the impressive debutant Jack Brookes and solid Josh Snowden made it very difficult for them to break us down.
With ten minutes left Mansfield Town had to commit themselves and they created a couple of half chances which nearly got them back into the tie. It was end to end stuff now and exciting viewing for the neutral. Mansfield Town then produced their best passing move of the 90 minutes leaving their attacking midfielder a clear shot at goal from 10 yards but his shot went high and failed to trouble the ever-dependable Luke Wilson in goal.
After what seemed a very long 5 minutes of injury time the referee blew his whistle and the tired legs of the Academy lads became refreshed in the knowledge that they had matched and bettered their much-fancied opponents.
Academy Manager, Dave Currie was delighted with the performance. “We asked for a reaction after a lacklustre performance last week and that was definitely the positive reaction we wanted. Mansfield Town are a league club whose scholars come from far and wide and to beat them it shows us the level our players are now at. The challenge for them is to show that quality, determination and enthusiasm in every game and that is what we will be striving to achieve in the months ahead.”
The Young Lions are at Nethermoor next Wednesday afternoon 2pm ko against Macclesfield Town in a vital league match.