AFC Mansfield survived a late onslought to seal a solid 2-1 win at Easington United.
Easington nearly didn’t start the season as they struggledto attract players, resulting in their first couple of games being postponed to allow them time to recruit.
They eventually started the
season with two defeats. But eyes were well and truly opened in midweek when they went to Westella Hanson and secured their first point of the season.
To go to Westella and get any kind of a result is a feat initself so AFC Mansfield knew they would have a game on their hands and that proved to be correct.
It took strikes from the league’s top two goal scorers from last season to secure the points.
Dean Rick and Rockie White scored in the second half and despite Stefan Radley’s 25 yard strike and some home pressure late on ‘The Bulls’ came out on top.
Perhaps the journey took its toll as AFC produced a disjointed firsthalf performance.
The game could have been so different had Dean Rick’s goal stood after five minutes.
Getting on the end of a Joe Meehan cross, the striker fired past John Harrison in the home goal only to see the linesman’s flag go up.
Meehan tried his luck on 16 minutes and Harrison had to be at his best to turn the rasping drive around the post.
Two minutes later Rockie White saw his half volley clear the bar from the edge of the box.
Easington could feel aggrieved not to be going in at half time at least one goal up.
Two glorious chances went begging from Stefan Radley and Dave Westeby, Radley firing a 20 yard effort high and wide with the goal at his mercy and Westeby slicing his effort wide from inside the box.
The home side were made to pay on 52 minutes when Rick was first to a loose ball in the box to fire past Harrison. Harrison pulled off a superb save on the hour mark to deny Rick his second as ‘The Bulls’sensed blood.
Five minutes later a low driven corner from Danny Tighe to Rick who stepped over the ball to allow Rockie White to fire home from six yards to double the lead.
Easington had produced a tenacious, gritty performance and got a goal back on 81 minutes through a 20 yard drive from first half substitute Stefan Radley.
This set up a tense final 9 minutes and Easington threw everything at the Mansfield side.
But ‘The Bulls’ stood firm. It has to be said on that showing their will be a few teams that leave Easington with nothing.
As usual the hospitality was excellent and things are certainly looking up for ‘The Eastenders’.
AFC Mansfield travel to Grimsby Borough in the FA Vase next week, but before that they have a home game against Phoenix FC at The Forest Town Stadium on Wednesday night (K.O 7.45pm).
AFC Mansfield: Sheppard, Tighe, McLane (Capuano 72 mins), Draper, Timons, Buxton (McCann 72 mins), Meehan (Ward 79 mins), Naylor J, Rick, White R, Carter.