Fleetwood Town’s Under-18s earned their spot in the Third Round of the FA Youth Cup after beating Mansfield Town 1-0 at Highbury on Friday evening.
After getting two goals called offside from Harry Clarke and Zane Marsh, captain Will Johnson stepped up to the plate as he smashed a strike home from 18-yards to secure the win for the young Cods.
The away side had the first chance of the game as Jack Deakin was played through the Town backline, and even though he seemed to be in an offside position, play continued as he fires his effort over the crossbar.
They were on the attack again a few minutes later as Diego Edwards moved from left to right and played a low cross into a packed box, aiming for Deakin, but it went all the way through and out for a throw-in.
Ten minutes later, Dominic Richmond went on the attack for Fleetwood as he stormed down the right-wing, taking on his man in the process before playing a brilliant cross into a dangerous area for Donte Thompson-Prempeh to attack, but the goalkeeper managed to get there first.
Mansfield had another effort soon after as their left-back Darien Wauchope brought the ball down on the wing and aimed a cross towards Edwards inside the six-yard box, with his eventual header going over Connor Eastham’s bar.
23 minutes in, Town came close to breaking the deadlock as Thompson-Prempeh did well to control the ball on the wing, play a low-driven cross into the box, but Kyle King couldn’t quite get the ball out of his feet as he looked to shoot at goal from close range.
Most of the play for the rest of the half was in the middle of the pitch until Taylor Anderson went on a winding run to the edge of the Fleetwood area, then managed to play the ball to Edwards in space whose strike hit the crossbar. The rebound then came out to Finn Flanagan but his shot went wide of the far post.
Richmond had a good chance just before the break as he latched onto the end of King’s deep cross to the edge of the box, volleying his effort towards goal, with a defender jumping in the way and deflecting his shot just wide.
Eastham was forced into making a brilliant diving save just after the hour mark as Mansfield’s right-winger played a cross all the way to Jonty Bouch, who struck a volley towards goal, but Town’s goalkeeper was a match, pushing it wide.
With not long left in the game, Mansfield had a chance from a set-piece as Bouch got on the end of Anderson’s looping free-kick from deep, but his header lacked power and was easily saved by Eastham.
Fleetwood had the ball in the back of the net a couple of minutes before the final whistle after a clever free-kick was played in behind by King, but the linesman deemed substitute, Harry Clarke, to be offside as he struck the ball into the goal.
With seconds to go, Bouch connected with Lewis Hill-Smith’s lobbed pass from the edge of the box, with his volley going just wide of the near post, fooling everyone in the ground.
Fleetwood felt as if they should have had a penalty ten minutes into extra time as Smith tried to latch onto a forward pass just inside the box, where the Mansfield goalkeeper seemed to bring him down but the referee waved play on.
They had it in the net for the second time in the game 104 minutes into the game as King fired a low-ball through the defensive line to substitute Zane Marsh, who fired a ferocious strike past Mason but was flagged offside.
The deadlock was broken with not long left to go and it was captain Johnson after a bit of pinball inside the opposition's box. A free-kick was played into the area with Harry Wilson getting a shot, but it was deflected to Johnson who rifled it home.
Town XI: Eastham (GK), Jones, Leggett, Morrison, Johnson (C), Hand, King, Kearns (Wilson 45+5’), Thompson-Prempeh (Smith 69’), Hunter (Marsh 101'), Richmond (Clarke 57’).
Unused subs: Cragg (GK), Butterworth, Lord.
Mansfield XI: Mason (GK), Anderson, Wauchope, Collins, Hill-Smith, Carter, Bouch, Flanagan (Hurdis 78'), Deakin (C), Kruszynski (Kokkinos 118'), Edwards (Abdullah 86’).
Unused subs: Turner (GK), Hamilton, Whelan, Whyle.