AFC Mansfield warm up for cup semi with win

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A brace of second half goals secured the points for AFC Mansfield as they beat visiting fellow Toolstation NCEL debutants Penistone Church 2-0 on Saturday.

This was another good three points for the Bulls and sets them up for the midweek League Cup semi-final against Handsworth Parramore on Wednesday night at the Forest Town Arena.

A strike from top goalscorer Dean Rick and a superbly hit free kick from Ryan Williams sealed the win for the Bulls.

Both players had been missing from the team for some time and marked their return in the best way possible.

The game started tentatively with the first real chance not coming until the 15th minute, when Phil Buxton fired his effort high and wide from the edge of the box.

Rick saw his header parried by keeper Joe Green who then collected before the striker could follow up. At the other end Mark Crossfield headed wide from a Duncan Richards free-kick.

Rick shot wide on the half-hour mark and three minutes later Andy Ring, for the visitors, saw his volley well saved by Jason White.

Ash Ellis then tested White, again the keeper well placed to collect the headed effort.

The half finished goalless and both teams were evenly matched.

Seven minutes into the restart, White pulled off a superb one-handed save to deny Crossfield.

This seemed to spark the home side into action and they took the lead two minutes later when Rick fired past Green from a Ghaichem through ball.

Penistone were nearly level on 56 minutes when Grant Allott gave the ball away to Crossfield.

However, the striker dallied on the ball, allowing Kitchen to get in a telling tackle and the danger was eventually cleared.

The Bulls were starting to get the game under control. Williams saw his effort turned around the post and, from the resulting corner, Grant Allott had a header blocked on the line with the follow-up from Ash Kitchen shaving the crossbar.

Declan Brewin was fouled just outside the box on 75 minutes and Williams stepped up to take the free kick. His low curling effort beat the fully stretched Joe Green and went in off the post to double the home side’s lead.

Mark Ward produced some good footwork in the box to hold up the ball and then play a neat backheel to Williams, who fired inches wide of the far post on 83 minutes.

AFC MANSFIELD: White, Ludlow, Wilson, Alott, Kitchen, D. Naylor, Williams, Buxton, J. Naylor (Mitchell 45), Rick (Brewin 66), Ghaichem (Ward 81). Subs not used: Wood, Lamplough.

PENISTONE CHURCH: Green, Jones, Young, Ellis, Whitehead, Lovett, Richards (Almond 82), Exley, Crossfield, Ring (Moore 82), Riley. Subs not used: Lee, Briggs

REFEREE: Mr Martin Chester of Lincolnshire.