MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town 2 Newcastle United Foundation 3
Newcastle College trio Kye Elsdon, Dan Marriott and Jack Stewart sealed all three points for Newcastle United Foundation in a five-goal thriller at Mansfield.
The National Football Youth League clash saw two sides battling to haul themselves clear from the bottom three serve up a classic.
And a nailbiting victory saw the visitors move level on points with the Stags and Crystal Palace ahead of Wednesday’s mouthwatering clash against fifth-placed Sunderland Foundation of Light.
“We created a few great chances in the first half and should have killed the game off before the break,” said head coach Terry Mitchell.
“Kye capitalised on a mistake by their goalkeeper in the 25thminute and rolled the ball into an empty net.
“And we had a couple of good opportunities after that to double our lead.”
Mansfield had a player dismissed in the 43rdminute as a result of a two-footed tackle in midfield.
And the hosts looked up against it after the break as they sought to battle back from a goal – and a man – down.
“We got our second when Antonio Agostinho cut in from the left and played in Dan,” added Mitchell. “He took the pass in his stride and finished really well.
“We were in control but then we had a mad five minutes that allowed Mansfield back into the game.”
The hosts struck in the 57thand 62ndminutes as United twice surrendered possession looking to play out from their own half. But Mitchell defended his back line and insisted an ambitious approach to building from the back would not change.
“It’s the way I want us to play and we generally do it very well,” he added. “But when you do try and play that way it can come with a price. We just lost our focus and allowed Mansfield to level.”
But Newcastle’s in-form Foundation team – dominated by Newcastle College students studying for BTEC qualifications as part of a groundbreaking post-16 education partnership – hit back.
Thomasz Caskowski sent over a corner which was met by a thunderous Stewart header and Mitchell added: “We took control from that point onwards.
“I was delighted with the way we played apart from that five-minute spell and it sets us up nicely for the game against Sunderland next week.”
The Newcastle United Foundation team allows Newcastle College students to play competitively each week – training with Mitchell and his coaching staff and combining their football with studies.
“It’s a great system and gives talented players between the ages of 16 and 18 the opportunity to gain practical football experience and work towards key qualifications,” added Mitchell.
“Newcastle College is a great place to learn and the lads benefit from four days of training with the Foundation – playing if full Newcastle United kit across the country.”
Newcastle United Foundation host Sunderland Foundation of Light at Consett AFC from 1.30pm on Wednesday.
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