AFC Mansfield have played Rainworth MW twice since The Bulls were formed back in 2012.
Rainworth were the clubs 1st ever opponents in a pre-season friendly at Kirklington Road. Rainworth were in the Evo-Stik league at the time and were considered favourites to win the game.
A goal in each half for Pete Stubley straddled an equaliser from Ian Holmes and were enough for AFC Mansfield to record their first win in their first game. A crowd of 186 watched the game.
Fast forward to 2016 and Rainworth had dropped a league and AFC Mansfield had gained 2 promotions in 4 seasons. Bringing both clubs into the same level.
The 1st competitive match between the 2 sides was played on Tuesday 11 October. It was an entertaining game which saw AFC have a penalty saved in the 1st half. Rainworth went in front through Tom Poole and then doubled their lead through Aaron Moxam. Unfortunately AFC have a habit of scoring late goals and a strike from Lynton Karkach 5 minutes from the end saw The Bulls camped out in Rainworth's half. The equaliser came through another penalty and this time keeper Jason White fired home to take a share of the points.
The two clubs now face each other for a third time this Saturday, just 2 points separated the clubs after the October game. But things have changes dramatically and now AFC Mansfield sit 21 points above Rainworth with another 3 games in hand. AFC Mansfield sit 8th in the league while Rainworth sit 18th just 2 places from the drop zone.
You may well think according to the form books this is a home win for AFC Mansfield. But anybody that knows anything about football will tell you that form goes out of the window when it comes to local derbies. Players on both sides have played for both clubs and local bragging rights are at stake.
It is going to be a fiercely competitive game and only a crystal ball will be able to give you the outcome. A game not to be missed so get yourself along to Forest Town Arena and see non league football at its best.