10-men AFC Mansfield march on in FA Vase

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A goal in each half saw 10-men AFC Mansfield progress to the second round of the FA Vase with a 2-0 win at East Midlands Counties League side Gedling Miners Welfare on Saturday.

The first goal came from Ash Grayson with the second a penalty conversion from new dad Carl Haslam, despite AFC having lost debutant Khyle Sargent to a red card on the half-hour mark.

The Bulls’ injury list is ever growing with no less than six players unavailable on Saturday.

Back in the starting line-up were Carl Haslam and Mark Dudley, who both missed the 1-1 draw at Winterton in midweek, and a first start for Sargent, which was not such a happy occasion for him as things panned out.

AFC Mansfield started the game brightly, pinning the home side in their own half for much of the first 20 minutes.

The best chance in this period fell to Carl Haslam on 19 minutes, whose low drive had James Mountain rolling back the years to save smartly down to his left.

A minute later the visitors were in front. Ash Kitchen sent Sargent scampering down the right flank and, when his driven cross was parried by Mountain, Grayson was on hand to fire home from four yards.

The Bulls were reduced to 10 men on 30 minutes when Sargent tackled Mitch Slawson from behind.

Although Slawson did his best to make it into the box, the initial contact was clearly outside the box and referee Luke Gardner awarded a free kick and sent Sargent off for a professional foul, although some would dispute that he was the last man.

The resulting free kick and follow up were dealt with by the efficient AFC back four of Timons, Kitchen, Ludlow and Dudley, Ludlow eventually getting the man of the match award.

The visitors got to half-time without conceding and with a chance to regroup and come up with a plan for playing the second 45 minutes with a man down.

The Bulls once more started the half better than their opponents and it was Haslam again that had the best chance of the opening minutes, forcing another good save out of Mountain.

Joe Naylor was tripped in the box on 57 minutes, despite posing little danger to the Gedling goal, and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.

Haslam confidently dispatched the kick to put AFC a step closer to the next round.

A flurry of changes came over the next 20 minutes with both teams using all their substitutes.

This disjointed the game a little and, although Gedling started to press, the game was a little scrappy.

The visitors still posed a threat on the break and substitute Declan Brewin had the home side defence backpeddling with his willingness to run at them.

Dan Gleeson saw his effort loop over the bar and Kelvin Mushambi had an effort blocked by that impenetrable back four of AFC Mansfield.

In the final minutes Gavin Saxby pulled off a trademark stop from Tony Law’s rasping free kick and the game was over.

AFC Mansfield will eagerly await today’s draw as the adventure continues.

GEDLING MW: Mountain, Bartley, Gleeson, Brett, Brown, Mushambi, Stanley (Waites 60), MacDonald, Law, Slawson (Hopper 60), Clarson (Seaton 45). Subs not used: Hawkins, Danby.

AFC MANSFIELD: Saxby, Kitchen, Dudley, Ludlow, Timons, Buxton (Vilums 66), Sargent, Naylor J, Grayson (Tighe 80), Haslam (Brewin 75), Rickards. Subs not used: Wilson, Rick.

REFEREE: Mr Luke Gardner of Leicestershire.

ATTENDANCE: 72.

BULLS MAN OF THE MATCH: Kyle Ludlow.