Holders AFC Mansfield back in the final

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Holders AFC Mansfield last night progressed into the final of the Windsor Food Services Central Midlands League Phoenix Trophies Floodlit Cup after beating Kinsley Boys 4-1 in the Northern Section final.

Goals from Carl Haslam, Danny Wiltshire, Chris Timons and Dean Rick were enough to see the Bulls through, despite Callum Stapleton pulling one back.

Kinsley came with a full squad, in fact they had to leave two players without shirts such was the size of the squad.

AFC manager Micky Taylor had to shuffle his pack again and in came Matt Draper, Joe Meehan and Wiltshire with top scorer Rick starting on the bench.

It wasn’t long before the home side went in front, Haslam being fed by Phil Buxton before turning his marker and firing past the stranded Tom Chestney after just six minutes.

The Bulls doubled their lead three minutes later, Wiltshire taking Haslam’s pass on the chest before volleying the ball home from 12 yards.

Kinsley had a couple of chances of their own, Sam Garforth and Damon Cassell both seeing Dale Sheppard pull off good saves to keep the two-goal advantage.

A foul on Joe Naylor by Cassell on 25 minutes was to cost Kinsley dearly when Danny Tighe delivered a high cross into the box and captain Timons rose above the pack to power his header in off the far post.

This proved too much for the visitors and frustrations boiled over when Haslam was butted off the ball. Fortunately the assistant referee saw it and called the referee over and, after a discussion, Neil Sprule was red-carded for the offence.

It seems the officials may have been mistaken with Kinsley saying it was actually Ryan Jennings involved in the incident.

Haslam had the ball in the back of the net on 35 minutes; turning two defenders before curling it past keeper Chestney only to be denied by an offside flag on Mark Carter who had originally passed him the ball.

Liam Haller went close with a header just before the break, beating Sheppard but going inches wide of the left hand post.

After the break Kinsley came out a more composed team and took the game to AFC Mansfield.

This bore dividends on 55 minutes as they pulled a goal back with a free kick 25 yards out. Callum Stapleton, on as a sub, powered home the dead ball as the home side wall seemed to part.

Kinsley were definitely having the better of possession in the opening 20 minutes of the half. But still AFC Mansfield created chances, Haslam, Meehan and Buxton all going close.

Haslam was replaced with the league’s top goal scorer Rick on 66 minutes.

Kinsley were still pushing and the best of their chances came from Cassell, who fired a rasping drive that Sheppard did well to hold on 78 minutes.

Rick did what he does best on 80 minutes to put the game beyond doubt.

Receiving a low cross from Wiltshire, Rick made no mistake from six yards.

To their credit Kinsley kept going and Haller thought he had reduced the arrears a minute later.

Getting behind the Bulls defence, he hit an 18-yard effort that beat Sheppard but agonisingly came back off the far post.

AFC MANSFIELD: Sheppard, Tighe, Meehan, Draper, Timons, Holmes, Buxton, Naylor J (McCann 81), Wiltshire, Haslam (Rick 66), Carter (Brewin 83). Subs not used: Wilson, Rodger.

KINSLEY BOYS: Chestney, Rollinson, Howe, Clarke, Lafferty, Jennings, Sprule, Haller, Garforth (Stapleton 55), Cassell (Wood 81), Owen (Appleton 75). Subs not used: Lockwood, Hunter.

Referee: Steve Abbott of Sutton.