Saturday, 22 March 2014

AFC Mansfield 0 v Bentley Colliery 0 - CMFL North

at Forest Town Stadium (AKA the Clod)
Central Midlands League (North) -3pm kick off
AFC Mansfield (0) 0
Bentley Colliery (0) 0
Admission £3
Programme £1.50
Attendance 60 ish
AFC Mansfield:
Sheppard, McGurk, Cantrell, Draper (c), Holmes, Naylor D (Carter 68), Buxton, Naylor J, Rick (Bettison 22), Wiltshire (Timons 78), Haslam.
Unused Subs - Wilson, Fletcher
Bentley Colliery:
Teale, Reynado, Maxfield, Doran, Brown, Padgett, Downing (c), Scott, Read, Parkhouse, Lynch.
Unused Sub - Winterman
Bentley Colliery rolled into Forest Town this afternoon, with a bare bones 11 man team and one other registered player, to name as a sub, who was never likely to get on ... which is a commonplace thing for teams in this league to do, when they are short staffed, but are also trying to create the impression that they are virtually up to full strength.
Believe me, I know! Been there done that ;-)
AFC Mansfield have scored 117 goals thus far this season and they are currently top of the CMFL North table.
On paper, this fixture constituted a home banker, if ever there was one, but Bentley had other ideas.
Their 4-5-1 formation was designed by Chris Scott and Craig Eanor to suffocate the life out of AFC Mansfield's attacking ambitions and restrict the movement of their front line.
And the visitors stubborn, all hands to the pumps, determined rearguard action, earned them a hard won point, while frustrating the life out of the Bulls, who genuinely seemed to struggle to find a way of overcoming Bentley's approach to the game at times.
The Bulls growing frustration was compounded when Dean Rick had to hobble off, just after the twenty minute mark, having taken a knock when he went in for a 50/50 with Bentley's keeper Mike Teale
Sure, the visitors rode their luck at times and were the beneficiaries of one or two fortunate goalmouth deflections, but their tactics were effective, very effective.
They worked hard for each other as a team and that, in essence, is why they returned home to Doncaster with a well deserved point ... which could've been three points, but for the intervention of a deliberate handball.
The intrigue created by watching just how long Bentley could keep Mikey Taylor's side at bay, made for an really absorbing contest.
The south Yorkshire side had a few half decent chances of their own, not least when Dan Reed forced a great save out of Dale Sheppard. But, in the main, the visitors played really deep and a lot of the game was played in and around their penalty area, where, in my estimation, Mike Teale, the Bentley keeper, earned himself the man of the match award for this afternoon, particularly for playing on through the pain barrier later on the game.
Doug out (of his) dug out
AFC Mansfield's Peter Craggs excellent match report CLICK HERE to read it catalogues just how many attempts AFC Mansfield had at finding a way through Bentley's crowded goalmouth, but try as they might, the home side just couldn't blow the Colliery's house down.
In fact, Bentley themselves could've won the game inside the final few minutes.
The Bulls keeper Dale Sheppard had ventured towards the halfway line to pump a free kick into the mix and he was only just back in his area when Bentley launch a long ball out of defence. Sheppard ventured to the edge of his box to intercept the ball, but it held up in the wind and bounced a few yards outside the box into the path of the oncoming Kevin Lynch, Sheppard had to venture forward and had no option but to handle the ball to prevent Bentley having the target of an open goal to aim at.
If the referee had waited a few seconds before sounding his whistle, then Bentley would've won the game, because amidst the shouting and pointing, they had put the loose ball into the back of the net.
But the match official had opted not to play the advantage and AFC Mansfield could count their blessings as the free kick didn't even get anywhere near troubling the emergency replacement keeper Steve McGurk.
But then the football karma balanced itself out at the other end ... and in the very last minute, when Mark Carter finally beat Mike Teale, with a goal bound header from a long Steve McGurk free kick, the Bulls Joe Naylor got in the way and inadvertently cleared the ball from under the cross bar.
Bentley came with a gameplan, they executed it perfectly and were very close close to pulling off a surprise win as a consequence, fair play to them.
The return match in two weeks will be interesting.
FT - AFC Mansfield 0 v Bentley Colliery 0