Wednesday 24th July 2013 Kick-Off 7.45pm
'The Bulls' recorded their first pre-season win at The Jones & Co Stadium and had the added bonus of keeping a clean sheet.
Retford Manager Richard Sennett will be sick of the sight of 'Bulls' gaffer Micky Taylor as their last encounter ended in Taylor's team, Shirebrook Town, securing a semi-final win at the expense of Sennett's Winterton Rangers side.
But enough of the history lesson, both sides made changes from their previous friendlies and offered up a much more competitive game for the spectators. No more watching paint dry, this was a full blooded game.
AFC forced the first corner of the game after just 30 seconds and continued to push forward in the opening minutes. Jody Barford did well to parry Dean Rick's low drive and then Jake Stannard put his body in the way of Callum Green to deny the young striker.
It wasn't long before 'The Bulls' went in front. The home side half cleared a Danny Tighe corner and the loose ball fell to Mark Carter who delivered a superb cross to the far post to find the head of Matt Draper. Draper making his first start of the season guided his looping header past Barford and into the corner of the net.
Dale Sheppard was called into action on 22 minutes to parry Niall Barker's rasping drive before Tighe did well to head away another teasing cross.
Carter and Draper both missed the target with headers from Phil Buxton crosses before Buxton tried his luck on the half hour mark with a low drive that whistled past the right hand post.
Barker had a good chance to bring the home side level on 36 minutes, but blazed his 15 yard effort high and wide.
Reece Thompson rode the challenge of Buxton and turned Draper but again the finish was poor and wide of the mark on 40 minutes.
A superb turn and pass from McCann on 42 minutes found Carter who's audacious looping shot cannoned off the bar and Callum Green's follow up was always rising over the bar.
Retford made three changes at half time but the visitors continued to press. Green sending Rick clear and his curling effort turned around the post by Barford on 55 minutes.
AFC began to make changes and had to weather some pressure from the home side. On came Retford old boy Carl Haslam and quick midfielders Mark Robinson and Mark Staniforth. Also on was Julian Capuano who replaced McCann after an hour's excellent work from the wide man.
Matt Draper called it a day on 75 minutes with Dean Rick reverting to Center Back. Haslam nearly made it a dream return when he made a trademark run down the left flank weaving past three defenders before setting up Staniforth who's effort was covered by Barford.
Scott Bibby had the chance to bring the scores level on 80 minutes but his effort was easily held by Sheppard.
With just 2 minutes remaining Robinson picked the ball up just inside the Retford half cut inside and then rolled the ball to Danny Naylor. The midfielder looked up took a couple of steps forward an unleashed a 25 yard curling shot that had Barford flying through the air but the ball nestled sweetly into the top corner to seal the win for AFC Mansfield.
Thompson thought he had pulled one back at the death with a mazy run that took him past three defenders but his crisp drive was turned around the post by an alert Sheppard in the visitors goal.
AFC Mansfield entertain Pinxton FC on Saturday, 3pm kick-off at The Forest Stadium.
Retford United: Barford, Stannard (Sanderson 45), Snodin (Hassett 60), Walkden, Lucas, Johnson, Fisher (Aspinall 45), Thompson, Medcalf (Bibby 62), Holmes, Barker (Owens 45).
AFC Mansfield: Sheppard, McLane, Tighe, Draper (C) (Staniforth 75), Meehan, Buxton, McCann (Capuano 62), Naylor, Rick, Green (Haslam 60), Carter (Robinson 60). Sub not used: Ashley White.
Man of the Match: Joe Meehan
Referee: Mr Declan Bourne
Assistants: Mr Ed Cook & Mr Mark Tinsley