Leading the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division by a whopping eighteen points, AFC Mansfield recovered from an early goal from visitors Harrogate Railway Athletic to overcome the twentieth-placed side 5-1 at the Forest Town Stadium yesterday- and Bulls Assistant Manager Mark ward was pleased by how his side recovered from that opening setback, writes Colin Muncie.
Rail raced into a fourth minute lead through Nathan Merchant ,watched by a crowd of 74 at Clipstone Road West, but Mansfield had taken a 3-1 lead by the interval through Connor Smythe (14 minutes) , James Ghaichem (37) and , inevitably, Ollie Fearon (43). Two more in the second period from now 35-goal Fearon clinched the win-and his fifth match ball this term.
Here’s Mark’s take on events yesterday. He told the Bootiful Game “ It was a hectic start to the game yesterday-, a heavy pitch, 100mph tempo, lads slipping and misplacing passes- so I was really happy how we took control of the game and showed real quality. In the first fifteen to twenty minutes, it was end to end “.
Mark was impressed that Rail had come to tough it out with his side. “Fair play to Harrogate- they came to have a go and took the lead through a good counter attacking goal” he admitted. “After that, we finally found our feet and took the game to Harrogate, playing some of our better stuff this season on what was the heaviest our pitch has been. In the second half, we had a really good 15 minutes and killed the game off, which then gave us a good opportunity to give some other lad’s game time. That was nice for the lads who have been so supportive while waiting patiently for an opportunity “
“Overall after the first 20 minutes we’re very happy how we managed -and controlled- a tough game in awkward conditions”
Main photograph by Toby Saunders