The Young Bulls were missing 6 regulars in Danny Williams, Jordan Annable, Brad Newby, Eden Homer, Jamie York and he leagues top goalscorer Declan Brewin. So it was a rather makeshift side of 13 that was assembled. 4 players from our talented U18 squads, six 19 year olds, one 20 year old and 2 overage players as per league rules.
The two overage players were Perry Marriott, donning a Bulls shirt for the first time in over 3 months and Jimmy Ghaichem who was testing his fitness after a knock received last week.
Staveley made the early running and should have done better on 14 minutes when a header went wide of the post. The Young Bulls went in front on 20 minutes, a Adon Spencer throw found Sam O'Malley in the box and he laid the ball off to Jake Park. Park in turn fed Jimmy Ghaichem who's initial shot was blocked. The ball fell kindly to Steve Sowter who made no mistake with a low drive into the corner of the net.
Two goal were chalked off, The Bulls denied by an infringement on 29 minutes and Staveley on 40 minutes for an offside.
Luke Proctor had to hook a dangerous ball out of the six yard box as The Trojans pushed for an equaliser.
AFC Mansfield made it 2-0 on 66 minutes and it was Spencer who initiated the goal with a long free kick from just inside the Staveley half. Chris Butt, the Staveley keeper was caught in two minds and hesitated while Kirtis Chadburn looped a backwards header over the advancing keeper.
Staveley pulled a goal back on 72 minutes when The Bulls uncharacteristically failed to deal with a cross from the right. The Ball dropped to Jordan Hendley on the far post and he drilled his effort past Bailey Caller from an acute angle.
A nervous last 15 for AFC as Caller was called into action a couple of times to deny the visitors an equaliser and at the other end debutant Jordan Ingram went close once and made some good surging runs down the right flank.
The result sees AFC Mansfield U21's joint 2nd in the league, equal on points and goal difference with Ilkeston but with a game in hand on their rivals. Staveley MW U21's just need 4 points from their final 4 games to secure the title.
Man of the Match: Steve Sowter