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Academy

Iron U18s held by Mansfield

6 December 2021

Scunthorpe United’s Under-18s side were held to a 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town on Saturday morning, as Ben Franklin cancelled out the visitors' first half opener.

The Iron began proceedings by going a goal down inside the opening six minutes, as a long looping ball over the backline was seized upon by the Town forward, who coolly slotted past Jake Balme to give his side the lead. 

In what then played out to be a fairly quiet opening 15 minutes following the goal, Nat Wallace did wonderfully well, as he advanced from right-back and struck the post after some clever link up play between both Jack Moore-Billam and Ty Sellars-Fleming. 

The Stags then nearly doubled their advantage on 23 minutes, as a wonderfully floated corner from the right resulted in their No 6 heading just over from close range. 

Four minutes later, Harrison Poulter got his first sight of goal, as a swift counter attack involving Sellars-Fleming, Moore Billam and Poulter resulted in United’s No 10 firing just wide of the visitors' goal. 

Balme was then called into action at the other end, as the Town No 8 smartly moved inside the Scunthorpe area, before the Iron’s keeper got down well to his right to keep the score at 1-0.

With half-time approaching there was much confusion on the United bench as Poulter was seemingly brought down unfairly following an aerial challenge. The referee waved away any claims, as the advantage remained with Mansfield heading into the interval. 

As the second half began, Ben Franklin took a mere minute to carve out his side's first chance of the half. The Iron midfielder did well to keep hold of the ball before seeing his effort sail a little too high to trouble the visiting goalkeeper. 

On 58 minutes, Scunthorpe really began to take the game to the Yellows, with Charlie Strouther’s effort again too high and wide after a good move from Robertson and Moore Billam had initially created the opening. 

Franklin was found free and unmarked in the six yard area just minutes later, but again he was denied by Town’s goalkeeper. 

Wallace was the next Scunthorpe player to come close, as good hold up play from Poulter brought Sellars-Fleming into the move, before in turn finding Wallace, whose right-footed strike was saved by the Mansfield keeper once more. 

But with ten minutes to go the goal did eventually arrive with Franklin finding the net, as Harry Elliott-Bell’s superb delivery was too good not to miss for Scunthorpe’s midfielder in torrential conditions.

In the last minute of the game, both sides could have won the game too. Firstly, Balme denied the Stags No 9 with a terrific one-on-one save after the striker looked certain to score. Then Poulter hit the post just seconds later, with both sides having to eventually settle for a point in what was a frantic end to the contest. 

Academy manager Tony Daws was full of praise for both teams upon the final whistle, admitting either side could have snatched all three points at the end of the game. 

"It was a tough game, as Mansfield are always a good side and we always seem to have some real tough matches against them," he began.

"Today’s game followed suit really, we’ve had chances to win it and we thought we should have had a penalty in the first half." 

"We hit the post a couple of times and I thought we were in the ascendancy for the last 20 minutes of the game. They were camped in their half for large spells. I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t find that winner,’’ added Daws.

Next up for his side is the FA Youth Cup third round tie with Manchester United, which will now take place at Old Trafford, where the Under-18s will be backed too by a large Iron following. 

Daws previewed the game, stating: "It’ll be great, I’ve just spoken with the lads and there’s two or three Manchester United fans in our changing room so that’ll be interesting. The boys are excited and they’ll be thinking of nothing else for the next nine days now."

The Iron’s encounter with the Reds takes place on Monday 13th December, and as previously mentioned will be played at the Theatre of Dreams in a 7pm kick-off under the lights. Click here for ticket details.

IRON: Balme; Wallace, Moore, Young, Elliott-Bell; Strouther (Devine, 88), Moore-Billam, Robertson, Franklin (Abraham, 88); Poulter, Sellars Fleming (Pike, 79)


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