Within the opening two minutes of the game, Rovers conceded what U18s boss Gary McSheffrey called a “sloppy goal” which immediately put his youngsters on the back foot.
After navigating the difficult opening 20 minutes, Rovers started to grow back into the game with Jack Raper’s long range shot blocked by the Stags. It then fell to Will Hollings whose shot from the corner of the box forced the visiting goalkeeper into his first save of the morning.
Hollings would later be involved in another chance. He squared the ball across the face of goal but a Mansfield defender got to it before anyone in red and white could.
Rovers continued their fightback as soon as the second half got underway. Tavonga Kuleya saw a tap-in at the far post blocked. Tom Parkinson found himself through on goal courtesy of a brilliant ball from Ethan Harrison but Parkinson’s shot was saved by the goalkeeper who made himself big enough to stop the shot.
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Around the 70th minute, Mansfield got a second against the run of play which popped the U18s’ confidence.
From that point onwards the Stags smashed and grabbed all three points by scoring a further two goals.
McSheffrey says his squad need to build back their self-confidence when they go a goal down.
“We started slow and looked lethargic," he said.
“The lads need to show a lot more mental strength and stand up and be counted.
“In possession we were giving the ball away cheaply on turnovers and we were trying to force short forward passes from the defence into the middle third which kept getting cut out.
“We can’t keep going 4-0 down in games. We’ve done that a couple of times at home now. They are not dealing with the pressure of going a goal behind very well. We need to be braver, to get on the ball more and show more courage.
“We prepared better than that. It is disappointing we could not take that into the game.
“We need to learn from our errors and build off them.”