Wednesday, 6 April 2016

AFC Mansfield 3 v Yorkshire Amateur 1 - NCEL Div 1

Wednesday 6th April 2016
Toolstation NCEL Division One
at the Forest Town Arena
AFC Mansfield (1) 3
Grant Allott 32
Craig Mitchell 49, 83
Yorkshire Amateur (0) 1
Dan Sherriffe 85 pen
Admission £4. Programme £1.50. Attendance 64
AFC Mansfield:
Jason White, Jordan Annable (Adon Spencer HT), Luke Jeffs, Grant Allott (Dean Rick 84), Chris Timons (C), Danny Naylor (Sam O'Malley 69), Ryan Williams, Phil Buxton, Danny Patterson, Craig Mitchell, Jimmy Chaichem
Unused subs - Danny Williams, Kurtis Chadburn
Yorkshire Amateur:
Ben Hunter, Dave Thompson (Joel Hughes and Dan Sherriffe 18, see explanation below), Jason Stapleton, Aiden Lewis, Harrison Blakey, Rob Wadsworth, Luke Hammond, Matt Thompson, Adam Saw, Ferdinand Moke
@Bullybully20 from his best side
A vital, must win game for Rudy Funk's side, saw them take the points to reclaim the second promotion spot (for now at least) as they clawed their way back up out of the play off places, to where they now sit two points ahead of Bottesford Town, who have played a game more than the Bulls, and three above AFC Emley, who have played the same number of games as the Forest Town based club, but who already have a goal difference of +90 to fall back on, should they finish the season in joint second place.
Tonight's performance was (much) less than convincing as both teams struggled to come to terms with some quite hideous weather conditions, that saw a biting cold strong wind blowing across the pitch and some April showers of Biblical proportions.
Hemsworth Miners Welfare had secured their promotion place at the top of the table last night, where they have a massive 14 point advantage over Funk's side, who still have five games left and fifteen points to play for. One would expect 'the Wells' to clinch the title on Saturday when they visit the bottom placed club: Lincoln Moorlands Railway, who are already relegated and have a quite staggering goal differential total of -125.
Kick off was delayed until 8pm because the visitors were stuck in traffic and arrived late.
Eventually they started with ten men including one of their management team, who was substituted in the 18th minute, when the referee allowed the last two 'Ammers' players to finally arrive at the ground to make up the full compliment of 11 players, with no more substitutes available.
The straggling pair also had the visitors kit bag with them and Phil Harding's side turned out in the Bulls change strip of yellow and blue.
Combine all of the above factors with the stormy weather, that made even trying to play the game the game in any kind of coordinated fashion very difficult to say the least, meant that though I have seen far better spectacles this season, I don't recall seeing any worse ones. Not even the Bulls 0-0 draw at Shirebrook Town was a dire as tonight's 'entertainment'.
If it wasn't for the fact that I was keeping several absentees up to date with the score, I would have been tempted to commit the cardinal sin of buggering off home (very) early and leaving these two lacklustre sides to it.
Whatever 'it' was meant to be tonight.
AFC Mansfield made hard work of overcoming their mid table opponents and the elements... and though they created a string of half chances, the Bulls were less than convincing in and around the visitors goalmouth.
Luke Jeffs hit the crossbar with a wind assisted corner and Ben Hunter did well to keep a thumping shot from Ryan Williams out, before the deadlock was broken when Grant Allott forced the ball over the line from another Jeffs corner after 32 minutes.
I have no more to add about the first half, other than to say: it has reached that time of the season where performances and entertainment are no longer any sort of priority, while three points are three points, however you happen to come by them.
HT: Bulls 1 v Ammers 0
A Craig Mitchell double strike lit up the second half, with his first goal coming just 4 minutes after half time, as he went it alone and surged through the visitors defence before smashing an unstoppable shot past Hunter.
The visitors were back down to ten men just after the hour mark, when Fernando Moke received his second yellow card in what had become a very niggly game.
Hunter did well to keep out Allott's header from Williams free kick as the Bulls briefly stirred into action.
Adam Shaw almost caught Jason White out with a long speculative shot, from all of 40 yards, but the ball bounced narrowly wide of the upright.
Hunter denied Williams again, before Mitchell missed an absolute sitter of a chance to finish the game off, before Harrison Blakey struck a long free kick straight to Jason White at the other end.
For a short while, there were faint traces of a possibility of a game of football breaking out, but the wind picked up and the heavens opened again as both teams reverted back to squaring up, sulking and finger pointing across the middle of the park, in an unseemly manner.
Mitchell finally found a third goal for the home side, that had surely by now, cemented a home win, but a clumsy Challenge by Adon Spencer on Dan Sherriffe left the referee with no choice but to award a penalty, from which Sherriffe scored himself,  before getting sent off a couple of minutes later for making an unnecessary lunge while the visitors were shaping up to take a free kick on the edge of the home side's penalty area.
The game petered out and vanished into the night in an unspectacular fashion... and apart from Williams hitting a close range shot high and wide in stoppage time that was that... and the final whistle put the crowd out of their misery.
FT: AFC Mansfield 3 v Yorkshire Amateur 1
A win, three points and a return second place, were the most important statistics for the Bulls tonight, but this was an ugly runt of a win that they ground out, while providing 'nowt in the way of thrills and spills for the crowd who had braved the elements.
AFC Mansfield can and must do better than this during the run in now.