‘The Bulls’ overcame Newark Town to progress into the next round of the floodlit Cup with a fair sprinkling of youngsters in the side.
Starts were given to U19 players Brad Wilson and Declan Brewin and Toby Birch and Luke James came on late in the second half to underline what a good job the U19 Management team Jason Truscott and Alex Weston are doing for the club.
With Sam Holmes, Steve McGurk and Julian Capuano all making starts the side took on a slightly different look to the usual. But with FA Vase places up for grabs it was time for the lads to show what they could do and that is exactly what they did.
AFC went in front after just 10 minutes, Declan Brewin put a ball through for Nathan Whitehead and the striker saw keeper Craig Rhodes advancing off his line and hit a 20 yard looping shot into the far corner of the net.
The exact same move on 25 minutes saw Callum Green attempt the same shot, this time the ball going narrowly wide of the far post.
AFC Mansfield should have doubled their lead on 32 minutes when Green saw his half volley superbly saved by Rhodes.
Controversy and eventually 2 red cards, one for each side. Referee Duncan Robertson had initially sent Newark Captain Sam Gregory off and booked AFC Mansfield’s Julian Capuano after an off the ball incident. But then in an about turn after belated talks with his linesman called Capuano back and brandished a red card. In fairness the referee admitted it was a mistake to show yellow without consulting first, after the game. That probably cost Mr Robertson some marks from the assessor on duty but in fairness he didn’t do a bad job overall.
This effected the visitors more and Newark drew level just before the break when Steve McGurk intercepted a through ball only to put it into the path of James Munson who eventually fed Chris Dobbie to rifle the ball past Sheppard from 15 yards.
‘The Bulls’ were now kicking down the slope at Newark’s Collingham ground and Brewin was finding plenty of chances to attack down the right flank. It was one such run that wo the corner that produced the visitors second goal. Nathan Whitehead rising above the pack to power home a header into the top corner of the net on 52 minutes.
Another great run by Brewin on 58 minutes saw him square the ball to Green. Green’s drive beat keeper Rhodes but came back off the post before Whitehead’s follow up was saved by Rhodes.
Declan Brewin capped his Man of the Match performance with a spectacular goal. Receiving Danny Naylor’s pass 25 yards out he turned his marker before smashing the ball past the diving Rhodes from just outside the box.
The side netting and Rhodes feet denied Mark Carter a place on the scoresheet on 70 and 74 minutes.
In the last 2 minutes Callum Green should have made it 4-1 butafter rounding the keeper and an open net to shoot at he lifted his 12 yard effort over the bar.
A great result and performance from ‘The Bulls’ considering the changes made. A bigger challenge now awaits a 2nd Round FA Vase game at home against Huntingdon Town on Saturday.
Newark Town: Rhodes, Pailing, Purves, Martin, Fulcher, Gregory (c), Wilford, Macdonald, Munson, Dobbie, Bagworth.
AFC Mansfield: Sheppard, Wilson, Tighe (James 80), Holmes, McGurk, Capuano, Brewin (Birch 81), Buxton, Whitehead (Naylor 70), Green, Carter. Subs not used: Fletcher & Wilkinson
Referee: Mr Duncan Robertson
Assistants: Mr A Porter & Mr M Skinner
Man of the Match: Declan Brewin