By Peter Craggs
AFC Mansfield returned to winning ways after an extended layoff due to the weather. The lack of competitive football certainly showed as ‘The Bulls’ missed chance after chance throughout the game.
Their opponents Calverton MW showed a great work ethic but lacked the experience to seriously trouble Dale Sheppard’s goal. In fact, Sheppard made it 12 clean sheets out of 15 games since he signed for the club.
The visitors produced 2 early chances with Dean Rick and Ricky Chambers both firing wide of the mark in the first 10 minutes. This was to be a recurring pattern for the full 90 minutes.
Carl Haslam was the danger man in the first half, on 18 minutes he made a typical run down the right before feeding Chambers who saw his effort turned over by Mike Randall in the home goal.
Another chance went begging on 33 minutes, again Haslam involved, taking it on himself but firing wide. 2 minutes later with Rick in space Haslam turned and fired wide when a pass may have been the better option.
Joe Meehan was denied by a Rhys Davis tackle 6 yards out, but from the resulting corner AFC took the lead. Matt Draper rising unchallenged to head past Randall.
Calverton had one chance to bring the scores level on 42 minutes. Alex Clarson’s cross was met by Dan Hough but his header looped over the bar.
The second half started with another fine save from Randall, this time pushing Mark Carter’s goalbound effort over the bar. 2 minutes later Haslam hit the side netting after another mazey run.
Sheppard ensured that Calverton didn’t bring the scores level on 55 minutes pushing the ball past the post for a corner from Dave Reedman’s low drive.
The game began to peter out, but AFC still managed to miss the target on numerous occasions. Rick, Carter, Joe Naylor and Chambers all failing to find the target.
AFC Mansfield will hope their finishing improves on Tuesday night when they travel to Westella for the Semi-Final of North section Floodlit Cup.
Calverton MW: Randall, Hough (Lovett 72), Caulton, Davis, Woodcock (c), Smith, Bennett (Nicholson 65), Reedman, Attenborough, Whitehead (Guerboauvy 78), Clarson. Subs not used: Limb, Wright.
AFC Mansfield: Sheppard, Pride (McLane ), Naylor D (Armstrong ), Draper, McGurk (c), Chambers, Meehan (Buxton ), Naylor J, Rick, Haslam, Carter. Subs not used: Staniforth, Eley.
Man of the Match: Matt Draper
Referee: Mr Stephen Hall
Assistants: Mr M Thomas & Mr S Devine