A couple of early goals by Ben Hilton were enough to give Ripley Rangers U12s a 2-1 victory over AFC Mansfield in their latest match in the KickStart Youth League.
Ben Hilton cut inside from the right to score a stunner in the third minute, and the lead was doubled when man-of-the-match Bradley Smith charged forward and bisected the Mansfield defence with a slide-rule path into the pass of Hilton, who skilfully lifted his shot over the advancing ‘keeper.
The action was end to end, with Ripley breaking at pace to stretch the well-drilled Mansfield defence. But just as half-time approached, they switched off and after ‘keeper Joe Timmons had saved well in a one-on-one, he was beaten when his goalkick was headed straight back into the danger-zone, catching out the defence.
Although there were no further goals in the second half, the game was not without incident as two well-matched teams battled for supremacy.
For Ripley, Charlie Gilson was narrowly wide from a corner, and captain Cade Croshaw saw a shot well saved. Hilton also went close to his hat-trick when he shot straight at the well-positioned ‘keeper.
At the other end, Ripley defended resolutely, with Harvey Berrisford and temporary centre-back Smith doing particularly well.