On a day when the result mattered more than the performance AFC Mansfield won by the odd goal in 3 in a less than inspiring League Challenge Cup Final. The two teams had met twice before in the league this season and ‘The Bulls’ had come out on top in both keenly contested games.
As it was the game was decided in the first half when Mark Carter hit the back of the net with two headers, either side of a Kirk Frost equaliser.
Both teams had players missing but Thorne probably suffered more with influential midfielder Brett Thomas out through injury.
Danny Naylor had the first real attempt on goal for AFC when his 20 yard drive nestled on top of the net and Carl Haslam saw his first effort blocked by keeper Elliott Redmile and then the second scrambled away for a corner by Robbie Spence a couple of minutes later. The resulting corner was curled over to the far post and Mark Carter rose to head home to open the scoring.
Adam Atkinson saw his effort fly over the bar on 21 minutes and at the other end Haslam saw his effort hit the side netting.
Thorne got themselves level on 28 minutes, indecision at the back for AFC and when the ball fell to the feet of Kirk Frost the striker made no mistake from just inside the box despite Dale Sheppard getting a hand to the drive.
‘The Bulls’ continued to push forward and took the lead again on 36 minutes. The cross came in from the right flank and Carter was in the right place to guide his header back across goal and into the corner for his 40th goal of the season, not bad for a midfield player.
Redmile bravely saved at the feet of Haslam on 40 minutes and Phil Buxton saw his shot hit the side netting. At the other end Darren Fell bought a fine save out of Dale Sheppard as the half came to an end.
Most people would have thought the game was set up for an exciting 2nd half, most people would have been wrong. The game never really got out of 2nd gear and Thorne offered very few ideas on how to get back into the game and AFC Mansfield seemed content to sit on their lead.
Luke Rafferty saw his effort go high and wide on 72 minutes and apart from a couple of hefty challenges to wake the crowd up and a clash of heads which left both players needing bandages there was very little to report on in the second half.
Two final chances for each side, Dean Rick going close and a Kirk Frost drive in the final minutes that flew over the bar and that was it. AFC Mansfield had done the double, League and League Cup.
Thorne Colliery: Redmile, Sneap, Spence, Rafferty, Rodgers (Ebbage 80), Hindson (Lugton 62), Rafferty G, Rhodes (Tiffany 73), Fell (c), Frost, Atkinson. Subs not used: Hookway.
|CENTRAL MIDLANDS MAN OF THE MATCH|
AFC Mansfield: Sheppard, Wilson, Tighe (Capuano 60), Draper, Holmes, Naylor D, Buxton, Naylor J, Rick, Haslam, Carter. Subs not used: Birch, Brewin, Timons& Fletcher.
Referee: Mr James Shipley
Assistants: Mr Adie Seward & Mr Jordan Bancroft.
Man of the Match: Mark Carter