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REPORT | Bulls 2-1 Hemsworth MW

Grant Ryan's late header helped AFC continue their perfect start to 2020 against promotion-hunting Hemsworth.

The Wells edged ahead through a tidy close-range finish from Layton Swaine, but the Bulls responded almost immediately through a Nicky Darker header before Grant Ryan nodded home the winner inside the final ten minutes to secure a second consecutive league win - beating Staveley last time out.

After Brandon Webster's skewed cross came off Jordan Greaves' crossbar to create an early scare, the promotion chasers were quick to create an opening with Hugo Warhurst doing well to keep out Layton Swaine's close-range effort with his feet.

It were AFC who enjoyed the better of the opening proceedings, though, as Brandon Webster's brilliant skill of dummy-ing past two Hemsworth men went unrewarded as his low square ball past Greaves was booted away at the first opportunity.

Making his Bulls debut was midfielder Morgan James, who proved himself to be a handful and felt unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when he went down inside the Wells' penalty area on the end of a well-placed ball from Luke Walker.

Making a very early change, the visitors began to grow into the contest, and substitute Sidney Santos came close to finding the net with one of his first touches as he blasted over the Bulls' crossbar.

Their resurgence was eventually rewarded, and striker Layton Swaine - making his first start for Hemsworth - volleyed home off the underside of Warhurst's crossbar from 10 yards out.

But Matt Chatfield's side responded in the perfect manner, winding the leveller just four minutes later when Nicky Darker flicked Jamie McGuire's long-range free-kick over out-rushing Greaves and into an empty net.

The second half proved to be a more scrappy affair, and set pieces became the main source of opportunities; a wide free-kick almost saw the visitors retake the lead, but defender Harry Viggars was flagged for offside after firing home from a goalmouth scramble.

Two minutes later and Jordan Greaves between the Hemsworth sticks was almost left red-faced, but he was quick to recover after fumbling a long-range drive from skipper Jordan Annable.

As the game wore on, the visitors pressed further and further for the winner, almost finding it with 20 minutes to play as Nash Connolly beat Webster on the right before cutting in to shoot - defender Matt Wilson did well to put in a key block.

With ten minutes to go, the Wells were left scratching their heads with two key chances going amiss.

Sidney Santos scuffed the ball with just Warhurst to beat from 12 yards, before Sam Jones fired straight at the Bulls stopper on the volley again from close range.

With resilient defending keeping the Bulls in the tie, the hosts were waiting patiently for the perfect opportunity to strike, and Grant Ryan nodded home Brandon Webster's inch-perfect cross to score his first league goal in a red shirt and put AFC ahead for the first time in the contest on 83 minutes.

Only moments later Hemsworth were dealt a crucial blow, with forward Sam Jones given his marching orders for a second bookable offence after being penalised for simulation.

The Bulls held on for four long minutes of additional time, securing a second win in two league outings against another of the NCEL Premier Division's top three sides.

Having closed the three-point gap on 17th-placed Knaresborough, the Premier Division table looks slightly healthier for AFC, who now focus on hosting a youthful Notts County side in the fourth round of the Notts Senior Cup on Tuesday night.



Final score | AFC Mansfield 2-1 Hemsworth Miners Welfare

Scorers | Darker (40'), Ryan (83') - Swaine (36')

Bulls XI | Warhurst (GK), Annable (C), Slone (Ryan 50'), McGuire, Wilson, Hough, Webster, Darker (Buxton 68'), Walker, James (McMillan 82'), Dear

Unused subs | Warner, Matthews

Yellow cards |

Hemsworth MW XI | Greaves (GK), Wilson, Jeff (C), Paylor, Viggars, Danville, Connolly, Hogg, Swaine, Jones, Carroll (Santos 27')

Unused subs | Wildblood, Davies

Yellow cards | Danville (28'), Jones (73')

Red cards | Jones (85')

Man of the Match | Morgan James

Attendance | 72


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