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11th September 2020 19:06

English Football League Trophy
Mansfield Town 0 - 3 Manchester City U21
Bernabe 25, Delap 89, 90+1
Attendance: behind closed doors

Date: 8 September 2020

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City U21 at the One Call Stadium in their first game in the group stages of the EFL Trophy (now with no sponsor but recently known as the Leasing.com Trophy and Checkatrade Trophy).
Manchester City U21 led 1-0 at half time thanks to a fine goal as the hugely impressive England U17 striker Liam Delap played a great ball forward to Adrian Bernabe who slid his shot past Marek Stech in the Stags goal from a tight angle. The Stags’ best moment of the half came with a corner kick straight off the training ground as a great delivery from Tyrese Sinclair, in his first start in a competitive game, found Ollie Clarke just inside the area and unmarked, and Clarke volleyed left-footed just wide of the right post with the keeper motionless and beaten. It was Ollie Clarke’s debut, having been injured through much of pre-season, he took over the captain’s armband, and was Mansfield’s best player on the night.
The first 20 minutes of the second half saw Mansfield create a host of good chances but unable to take any of them. The best chance fell to the impressive Sinclair after his own high cross was volleyed goalwards by Mal Benning and pushed away into Sinclair’s path by the keeper. The empty goal was gaping but the ball was a fraction behind Sinclair and he completely miscued his shot. Jamie Reid had a free header from a terrific Benning cross but headed too close to the keeper who pushed it wide, Nicky Maynard headed over the bar, the keeper saved again this time from Sinclair, and Aaron O’Driscoll headed over the bar.
Mansfield were worthy of an equaliser based on chances created but missed those chances and were made to pay in the final two minutes as Manchester City U21 scored twice, both goals as a result of defensive mistakes, to put a gloss on the scoreline. After 89 minutes, Alistair Smith gave the ball away and Delap showed tremendous skill to keep hold of the ball on the edge of the area before making space to shoot and fire into the bottom corner of the net. The third goal was a defensive calamity as Benning tried to head a long punt forward from Bernabe back to Stech but didn’t get enough on it and then slipped as he tried to recover the situation allowing Delap to run through, knock the ball over the advancing Stech and then finish the job tapping it into the net.
So, not ideal preparation for Mansfield in the build-up to Saturday’s league opener against Tranmere, but there were some positives from the night, notably the excellent performance of Ollie Clarke and the inventiveness of Tyrese Sinclair.

The game was again played behind closed doors as all games will be until at least October. Hopefully a limited number of fans, those with season tickets, will be allowed back in October.

The Stags gave a debut to Ollie Clarke who took over as captain from Ryan Sweeney. It was a first start in a competitive game for Tyrese Sinclair. Alongside Clarke and Sinclair in midfield was Alistair Smith. Probably Smith’s best game for the Stags was in this competition at Burton last season. Aaron O’Driscoll was in the centre of the back three, with Rollin Menayese and Ryan Sweeney. Up front, Nicky Maynard started with Jamie Reid. It was a very young bench apart from Kellan Gordon.



Liam Delap and Man City youngsters lay down marker with dominant EFL Trophy win over Mansfield
Manchester City U21s beat Mansfield 3-0 in the EFL Trophy to get their season off to a winning and confident start with two goals for Liam Delap

Simon Bajkowski, 8 SEP 2020


Everything has changed and yet nothing has changed.

The Manchester City Under-21 side that started at Mansfield in the EFL Trophy to kick off their season was full of fresh faces, with an average age of 17 and a new assistant leading the team from the dugout with the new head coach currently quarantining.

But from goalkeeper James Trafford flying out of his goal and pinging passes across his box to the full-backs moving inside with the team in possession to the wide forwards finding space in behind the defence and crossing in along the floor, this was unmistakably a Manchester City team.

If that is promising as Danny Walker and (belatedly) Enzo Maresca get to grips with the new group, they also picked up an encouraging victory with a thoroughly confident performance.

City have performed very well in this competition in the last two years - with their playing style geared up for Pep Guardiola more than making up for the advantages in experience and physicality that their opponents have - and so it proved again at Field Mill.

Mansfield were ready for City's intricate passing game but simply couldn't live with it. Before half-time, two of their back three were on yellow cards and their goalkeeper had turned the air as blue as the visiting shirts asking his teammates if they were taking the ****, so ragged had City made them.

The away side had the lead by then, scoring in the 24th minute as Liam Delap played in Adrian Bernabe to finish well across the goalkeeper. Those two are already on Guardiola's radar and Felix Nmecha, another to have made a first-team debut, was excellent in midfield. His relative experience in the City side enabled him to be a calming presence on his teammates and more of a physical match for the opponents.

Mansfield were more spirited in the second half and should have levelled when the ball popped free in the six-yard box but a dreadful touch allowed the defence to clear.

City needed some calming words from the touchline to remind them not to let control of the game get away from them, but they also kept creating chances and Delap twice could have finished when able to get a shot away in the box and then should have scored when he took too long to pull the trigger.

Nerves returned in the final 15 minutes as Mansfield pushed for a goal that would take the teams to penalties, with more frustration from the home dugout as appeals for a penalty were turned away.

A combination of fearless tackling and sage game-management helped keep the ball away from Trafford's goal and then Delap finally got his goal with an emphatic finish into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Not content with that, the next time City went forward he lobbed the ball over the keeper and tucked it in to belatedly get the goals his performance had deserved.

The future, once again, looks bright.

CITY: Trafford, Robinson, Burns, Mbete, Wilson-Esbrand, Egan-Riley, Nmecha (c), Bernabe, Knight, Delap, Edozie (McAtee 69) Not used: Slicker, Gbadebo, Bobb, Ogbeta, Wright-Phillips, Sobowale