Busy weekend as Bulls welcome Taylor and Williams

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In a busy weekend at AFC Mansfield, former manager and club favourite Micky Taylor returned for a second spell as assistant to Rudy Funk, former Stags star Ryan Williams was named as player-coach and the Bulls eased into Christmas with a comfortable 3-0 home win against Winterton Rangers.

In two years under Taylor, the Bulls won a League title, League Cup, Floodlit Cup and Notts Intermediate Cup.

He also managed runners-up in the League, League Cup and Floodlit Cup. This meant that his side never finished out of the top two in all league competitions.

Micky teams up with Rudy again after spells with him at Rainworth MW and Shirebrook Town.

AFC Mansfield also completed the signing of Ryan Williams from Funk’s former club Scarborough Athletic.

Ryan has played 20 times for Scarborough this season in The Evo-Stik Division One North, but is well known locally for his 67 appearances for the Stags in two spells at the club.

Against Winterton, a brace from Tristan Whitman to make it seven goals in seven games for the striker and a volley from Ash Kitchen did the damage.

The Bulls were missing leading goalscorer Dean Rick through suspension and Scott Rickards and Joe Meehan through illness. But they welcomed back Kyle Ludlow and Joe Naylor to the starting line-up.

Early pressure in the opening minutes saw Craig Mitchell thinking he had scored, only to see Daniel Waring superbly tip his goalbound header over the bar.

Whitman had the ball in the back of the net on 10 minutes from a Joe Naylor cross only to see it chalked off for offside.

But the Bulls went in front on 21 minutes when an Ash Kitchen looping cross was controlled first time by Danny Williams in the box. A neat square ball to Whitman saw him turn neatly before drilling the ball into the bottom left corner past the outstretched Waring.

Winterton were restricted to long range efforts which Jason White dealt with comfortably.

AFC then doubled their lead on 32 minutes, a superbly delivered corner by Phil Buxton found Joe Naylor on the far post.

The midfielder headed the ball back across goal to the opposite post where Ash Kitchen fired a volley past Waring.

The scoring was completed early in the second half as a Kyle Ludlow free kick was met by Joe Naylor’s head. Waring managed to parry the header but pushed it towards the far post and the waiting Whitman, who headed home from three yards.

The game died a little after this, Winterton posed no threat and AFC Mansfield took their foot off the gas.

Near the end, Robbie Start saw his edge of the box effort go wide of the AFC goal on 88 minutes and Buxton headed wide from a Danny Tighe cross a minute later.

This sets the scene nicely for back to back games against local rivals Shirebrook Town over the festive period.

AFC MANSFIELD: White, Ludlow (Wilson 70), Dudley, Kitchen, Timons, J. Naylor, Buxton, D. Naylor (Tighe 75), Whitman, Mitchell, Williams (Vilums 60).

WINTERTON RANGERS: Waring, Coulbeck, Cawsey, Welsh (Severn 50), Thompson, Williamson, Varley, Marshall (Hindson 76), McKay (Bacon 79), Anderson, Start. Subs not used: Dungworth, Steeper.

REFEREE: Mr Ashley Royston of South Yorkshire.