The Windsor Food Services
Central Midlands League
Black Dragon Premier Division North
Clay Cross Town 2 – 2 AFC Mansfield
By Peter Craggs
Red Mist descends on Clay Cross
Clay Cross ended this game with just 8 players and no Manager after he and the three players were dismissed by the referee.AFC Mansfield entered this top of the table clash without Carl Haslam, Danny Naylor and Matt Draper. Captain Steve McGurk also started on the bench and after a hefty challenge on keeper Dale Sheppard from striker Phil Lowry AFC were forced to replace him with Ed Eley early doors.
The visitors were already behind from an 18th minute strike from Julian Capuano when ‘The Bulls’ had failed to clear the ball from a corner and the midfielder drilled the ball in off the post to put the home side in front.
The first half hour belonged to Clay Cross Town who made all the running and looked if they could run away with the game. Play swung back to the visitors though and Jason Edwards turned neatly in the box before firing his effort inches over the bar.
‘The Bulls’ were then awarded a penalty after Dean Rick had been tripped in the box on 32 minutes. Mark Carter stepped up to take it but keeper Matt Bradwell got down well to his right to tip the ball onto the post and the ball was scrambled away.
Lowry went close on 40 minutes, his low drive drifting wide of Eley’s left hand post.
‘The Bulls’ were back on level terms on 43 minutes. Gary Armstrong fed Jason Edwards who played a neat one two with Dean Rick. He then skipped past two defenders before releasing Mark Carter to fire home from 10 yards.
Ryan Williams saw his effort hit the side netting on the stoke of half time with AFC needing to up their game in the second half.
Carter and Tighe went close at the beginning of the 2nd half as the visitors started the better of the two sides.
Just as they were starting to get hold of the game AFC went behind from a corner when Luke Beatson headed home powerfully at the near post on the hour mark. A great run on 65 minutes from Kieran Watson saw his low cross elude Dean Rick on the far post with Matt Shaw doing well to get in-between Rick and the ball.
Clay Cross then hit the self destruct button when captain Jody Green received his marching orders for an awful challenge on Watson. A second yellow that should have been a straight red.
Rick fired one at Bradwell but the keeper was equal to it on 70 minutes. Minutes later Bradwell was again in action turning an Edwards effort around the post.
Next to leave the pitch was Phil Lowry on 80 minutes, receiving his second yellow for pulling down Rick on the edge of the box.
AFC Mansfield got back on level terms 5 minutes from the end, the home side failed to clear and the ball was driven back into the six yard box by Liam Pride with Dean Rick getting the final touch to scramble the ball home.
Armstrong fed Watson who had tormented Clay Cross in the second half, his low drive beat Bradwell but went inches wide of the far post.
Rockie White completed the trio of dismissals when booked for an over zealous challenge on Buxton. Despite being warned he continued to threaten and throw abuse at Buxton yards from the referee who had no option but to show a second yellow and the home side finished with 8 men. The Clay Cross manager was also sent from the dugout in what could be an expensive day for the Derbyshire side.
Despite the numerous stoppages referee Tracey blew rather early and the points were shared.
‘The Bulls’ return home next week when they entertain Brodsworth Welfare at Forest Town.
Clay Cross Town: Bradwell, Shaw, Davey, Beatson, Green (c), Capuano, Whitford, Bartram (De Girouamo 36), Lowry, White, Williams. Subs not used: Hallam, Pearson, Gee & Smith.
AFC Mansfield: Sheppard (Eley 19), Armstrong, McLane (Tighe 45), Meehan, Pride, Buxton, Edwards, Chambers (McGurk 80), Rick, Watson, Carter. Subs not used: Staniforth & Short.
Referee: Mr D Tracey
Assistants: Mr M Senior & Mr M Webb
Man of the Match: Phil Buxton