Toolstation NCEL Division 1
at Oxford Street
Rossington Main (1) 2
Matthew Ellis 32, Craig Mitchell 85 OG
AFC Mansfield (1) 3
Brad Billam 39 OG, Ryan Williams 56, Sam O'Malley 76
Admission £2. Programme £1.50. Attendance 210
Richard Watson, Calum Coburn, Brad Billam, Callum Wiffen, Jordan Woodward, Liam Cooper, Matty Bradley, Shaun Pendleton (C), Lee Holmes, Matt Ellis, Jason Stokes
Subs - Tom Humphries, Adam Rowland, Ryan Brewster, Jordan Wildey
Jason White, Adon Spencer, Luke Jeffs, Grant Allott, Chris Timons,Danny Naylor, Ryan Williams, Phil Buxton, Dean Rick (C), Sam O'Malley, Craig Mitchell
Subs - Brad Wilson, Danny Williams, Steve Sowter, Perry Marriott, Dan Hartshorn
|There's always Funk-ing one!|
There is also a collection taking place at the ground, for foodstuff for a local food bank, which looking at the tables full of donations has also been a roaring success.
A lot of non league football teams pay lip service to being a 'community club', but Rossington are one of the few who genuinely are one and actually hit the nail right on the head in this respect.
I applaud their continuing efforts wholeheartedly.
AFC Mansfield haven't won in their last four games, but they maintained their unbeaten away record in the NCEL this afternoon, against a determined home side who weren't ever going to let the Bulls high flying league position or the strong wind blowing across the ground knock them out of their stride.
Rosso for their part have tailed off a bit after making a fairly promising start to the season, last weekend they lost 5-0 on the road against Knaresborough Town, who knocked today's visitors out of the NCEL League Cup on Wednesday night. See here.
The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Forest Town the last time they met back in August. See here.
The referee showed an early yellow card to Adon Spencer, for a minor misdemeanour. Maybe Justin Carpenter was just stamping his authority on the game early doors, to show that he wasn't going to put up with any nonsense today... but these cautions all add up towards suspensions and hit clubs hard in the pocket.
AFC Mansfield pushed forward and Sam O'Malley knocked Ryan Williams probing pass into the path of Dean Rick, but the Bulls captain put the ball wide of the post.
Billam got free on the left flank again and drove a low cross into the six yard box that only needed the slightest touch, but Matt Ellis couldn't quite get to it.
Chris Timons was the second Bulls player to go into the book, when he clattered into Callum Wiffen, right in front of where most of the home sides most vocal supporters were stood. Being the sort of committed player he is, who'll never shirk away from a challenge, Timons would now be walking a tightrope with Mr Carpenter, until Rudy Funk substituted him with ten minutes to go.
White saved Lee Holmes angled shot with his feet and Callum Wiffen directed the ball past the left hand upright as he slid in to reach the rebound.
The Bulls upped the tempo and created several chances; Craig Mitchell broke through the right channel into the Main's penalty area, but Rich Watson was equal to his shot, Phil Buxton 35 yards out saw that the Rosso area was as crowded as Meadowhall Shopping Centre on Xmas Eve and opted to launch the ball from long range, but his shot went into orbit in the wind... and Spencer knocked a testing cross in from out on the right, that O'Malley and Rick threaded through the defence to Williams who pulled his effort wide.
Having survived a few worrying moments, Rossington regained their composure and Matty Bradley lofted a right wing cross into the mix and Ellis nodded the ball over White to put the home side in front on 32 minutes.
The Bulls were almost on level terms immediately but when Danny Naylor drove a low cross into the Main goal from out on the right, but Wiffen was on hand to divert Williams back post effort away from danger.
Luke Jeffs delivered a cross into the Rosso six yard box and Dean Rick thought he'd touched it over the goal line... but the match officials didn't and the referee waved play on.
However the Bulls were on level terms in the 39th minute, when Billam headed a left wing cross from Williams back across his own goal and into the back of the net, with a textbook finish that gave Watson no chance.
Prior to netting the equaliser for them, Billam had been a thorn in the visitors side, linking up well with Jason Stokes whenever Rossington had pushed forward down the left flank.
Williams had two chances just before the break, but shooting into the wind is always likely to be a lottery and the teams went into the break level pegging.
HT: Rossington Main 1 v AFC Mansfield 1
Timons looked to be on very thin ice with the referee, when he fouled Ellis just outside the right hand side of the Bulls area, but he just received a lecture.
Shaun Pendleton dropped the resulting free kick wide of the post and the visitors had, perhaps, just escaped on two fronts.
Liam Cooper stood his ground and thwarted Dean Rick's run through into the Main penalty area.
Williams played a delicate 'one-two' with Dean Rick, but Watson saved well from the energetic Bulls number seven, who must be clocking on a bit these days, but is always involved in his side's forward play.
Mitchell put the ball over the bar as the visitors threatened again, but they struck in the 56th minute when Rick and Williams both seemed in two minds over who was going to have a shot at goal, as the ball sat up nicely for both of them just inside the box, Watson got down and got a hand to Williams thumping shot, but he couldn't prevent it from going in and the Bulls were in front in the 56th minute.
White did well to tip a dipping shot from Pendleton over the bar as the home side threatened to pull level.
Bradley won a corner off of Grant Allott and in the ensuing goalmouth scramble, White pulled off a great point blank one handed save from Eliss' goalbound header.
Williams continued to cause problems for the home side, with Rick missing two openings that the livewire winger had created for him, but O'Malley made no mistake when the same player rolled the ball sideways to him inside the area and he drilled the ball firmly just inside the left hand upright.
From Pendleton's through ball, Matty Bradley chipped the ball narrowly over the bar from an angle.
Deep into injury time, Holmes, the Main's player manager, couldn't quite keep an awkward bouncing ball on target inside the six yard box and it looped agonisingly over the bar.
The final whistle sounded after a nervy six minutes of stoppage time for the Bulls and they had held on for a very hard won three points, against a Rossington side who'd been the width of a cigarette paper away from grabbing a point for themselves.
FT: Rossington Main 2 v AFC Mansfield 3
But, they are still nicely poised for a promotion push, in spite of some recent setbacks in cup competitions.
All told, at least they can concentrate on the league now, sans any distractions.
Rossington Main got nothing for all of their hard graft this afternoon, but within the club itself, they have a great calibre of people on and off the pitch and a community spirit that some of the 'bigger' clubs in the area would give their right arm for.
When this village pulls together, they all join in... and while the media is full of bravado merchants at non league clubs bigging themselves up and losing sight of what the game at this level is all about, you can't ever imagine Rosso losing touch with their roots.
All in all, a full blooded, competitive game of football, with no quarter given... I really enjoyed it!