Wednesday 8th April 2015
Toolstation NCEL League Cup Fifth Round
at Inkersall Road, Staveley
Admission £5. Programme £1.50
Staveley MW (0) 0
AFC Mansfield (0) 1
Craig Mitchell 49
Staveley line up:
Steve Hernandez (C), Ryan Watters, Damian Magee (Jack Polton HT), Ross Goodwin, Craig Fisher, Alex Pugh, Kurtis Morley, Sam Finlaw, Jahmal Smith, Jordan Eagers, Ellis Wall
Unused subs - Tom Gambles, James Finnigan, Ryan Bates,Chris Butt (GK)
Staveley's hopes of finishing this roller coaster ride of a season with any silverware to show for their efforts, was dashed at Inkersall Road tonight, by first division AFC Mansfield in front of a bumper crowd of 254.
A home semi final tie at Forest Town against Handsworth Parramore now awaits the victorious Bulls.
The home side were dealt a major blow in the run up to kick off, when their already injury depleted starting line up, had to be rearranged still further when James Ashmore pulled up during the warm up and had to be withdrawn.
Mansfield did their homework prior to the game and had pinpointed the midfield supply chain that Ashmore is an integral part of, as an area of the game they would have to close down. So they wouldn't have been too disappointed to have heard of the 11th hour switch in personnel to Jas Colliver's side.
The Bulls kicked off and showed their attacking intentions early on down the right flank, with full back Kyle Ludlow demonstrating his ability to launch the ball accurately into the Staveley box with his trademark long throw ins.
Sam Finlaw, who was also penciled in as a potential threat by the visiting (and former Staveley) manager Rudy Funk, had the Welfare's first two goal-scoring opportunities of note, but the visitors had prepared well and restricted the busy midfielder to long range shots as the game unfolded at a frantic pace.
The visitors experienced centre half Chris Timons limped out of the game with a calf strain on 12 minutes, but his replacement Joe Lamplough slotted in well.
Declan Brewin swung a dangerous ball into Staveley's six yard box, Craig Fisher cleared, but only as far as Danny Naylor, who found the top corner (of the Inkersall Road car park) with his wildly executed shot.
On thirty five minutes, Jahmal Smith played Kurt Morley through on goal, but as he ran the ball wide of Jason White, the Bulls keeper's outstretched hand caught the Staveley youngsters right ankle and the referee Tim Walker had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot as Morley hit the deck.
White was booked because Morley was moving away from goal at the time of the contact, instead of being shown a red card, which was a sensible decision.
Jahmal Smith opted to take a bizarre short run up and planted his spot kick a few yards wide of the left hand upright. A bad day at the office for the usually reliable striker.
At the other end, Joe Naylor hot feebly wide when he ought to have done better for the visitors, which brought an hectic first forty fives minutes to a close;
HT: Staveley MW 0 v AFC Mansfield 0
Four minutes after the restart, Ross Goodwin and Ellis Wall tried to work their way into the Mansfield area out on the right, but the visitors defence closed ranks and Mark Dudley hit a long hopeful pass up the pitch towards Craig Mitchell who charged forward before burying the ball past Steve Hernandez.0-1
Hernandez was tested by Mitchell again three minutes later, but tipped the ball over the bar at full stretch. Dudley's in-swinging corner caused chaos in the Staveley area and Hernandez again came to the Welfare's rescue, blocking Lamplough's close range effort.
It would be fair to say at this point, that the better side were winning.
But Hernandez's heroics and the repelled threat of falling two goals behind, spurred Staveley into action.
Ross Goodwin chipped the ball into the path of Jahmal Smith but Grant Allott was alert to the danger and got across to clear his lines.
The home side chucked everything but the kitchen sink at the Forest Town based side, but just couldn't find that final decisive touch.
Jordan Eagers crossed but Smith's shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Eagers flag kick was cleared behind the goal, his second attempt picked out Ross Goodwin but Jason White got his hand in and diverted the ball away from immediate danger, but Wall played it back into the mix first time ... a beleaguered Bulls defence got another block in and the loose ball fell to Jack Poulton, who dribbled his way across the byline from out on the right ... but Mansfield scrambled the ball away once more.
The visitors were being stretched to breaking point, but to their credit were holding out.
Joe Naylor had an opportunity to put the game to bed for Mansfield, but having worked his way into a good position, he blazed his effort over the bar.
Ryan Watters, who was having to play as a makeshift right back instead of making his usual buccaneering runs through the final third, got forward and was chopped down, as is his wont. Wall took the free kick and found Goodwin but he headed wide of the mark.
Ellis Wall, who else!? Played Jahmal Smith through in the final minute, despite having his shirt pulled at, the Welfare striker stayed on his feet, perhaps he didn't fancy another turn from the penalty spot ... and Jason White did well to turn his rasping shot away, but Wall had anticipated well and followed the action, but with White beaten all ends up, the Staveley live-wire's header crashed off of the crossbar. Game over!
On the balance of play, AFC Mansfield, with their more direct style of play, just about deserved the honours, but they had certainly rode their luck a couple of times.
After the game; supporters from the Chesterfield and Mansfield area clubs mixed freely in the bar and enjoyed a sociable hour or so together, without the need for any stewards to marshall them, or officers of the law to ward off any potential disagreements, the followers of their respective local professional league clubs could learn a lot from non league football.
FT: Staveley MW 0 v AFC Mansfield 1