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REPORT | Bulls 2-1 Sherwood Colliery

The Bulls celebrate Luke Walker's winner (Image: Dan Westwell)

The 2020/21 season began in style as AFC edged past local rivals Sherwood in a dazzling FA Cup spectacle under the lights.

Ross Duggan and Luke Walker were to thank for a goal in either half, seeing off a tough Sherwood side with a superb second-half performance in front of a sell-out crowd.

Matt Chatfield's side started brightly, carving out an early opportunity when Josh Wilde's left-footed cross was nodded over by Lynton Karkach.

Midfielder Lewis Belgrave was the at the centre of AFC's problems in the first half, as the Sherwood man created a couple of his own opportunities starting from four minutes in when he forced a comfortable save from Hugo Warhurst with a 20-yard strike.

Sherwood continued to grow into the game, ex-Bulls striker Kieran Wells coming close with a deflected effort looping wide for a corner.

But then came a moment of magic from Ross Duggan, as last season's top scorer unleashed an unstoppable 30-yard strike which found the near top corner on 20 minutes to put Mansfield ahead.

The game continued to be a very tight affair, and AFC pushed for a second with Matt Sykes unluckily firing over with a first-time strike from a similar distance to Duggan's opener.

It was then Sherwood's turn for a opening, as Ricky Starbuck was fed into the penalty area but drove a low effort wide.

AFC seemed to be holding out for half-time, but the visitors clawed back a crucial leveller when Jack Harrison turned a vicious low cross into his own net.

Ross Duggan bags a sensational opener against Sherwood (Image: Dan Westwell)

After the break, Matt Chatfield's side assumed their authority in the tie as chances started to fall the hosts' way.

The Sherwood back line were almost instantly tested, as Sykes' teasing drilled ball across goal was blocked on the line before a man in red could tap home.

Moments later, Duggan perhaps should have secured his and AFC's second of the night, but opted to shoot early with acres of space and Sykes almost free to his right, allowing Josh Turton to gather.

The hour mark then saw a quick pair of chances for the Wood, but Hugo Warhurst made easy work of a low drive from Belgrave before bravely taking a ball to the face on the edge of his area when Liam Hearn chased down a long ball over the back line.

Having only come on three minutes ago for goal scorer Ross Duggan, Luke Walker was the man to break the deadlock once again.

The striker made no mistake from 15 yards out, closing down his defender before stealing possession and prodding beyond Turton as he watched the ball trundle over the line on 61 minutes.

Back in front, the Bulls would spend the final half an hour cautiously seeking a vital third goal to kill the tie, almost doing so successfully when Liam Marsden's long throw was flicked on towards goal but was cleared off the line by a Sherwood man.

The visitors, meanwhile, struggled to create one last opportunity, coming closest when Kieran Wells could only flick a looping header straight into Warhurst's grateful arms.

AFC continued their search for a third, with Morgan James coming within inches of prodding home a well placed through ball, but the victory was practically sealed when Ross Henshaw was dismissed for denying Luke Walker a goal-scoring opportunity deep into additional time.

The players clash following Ross Henshaw's dismissal (Image: Dan Westwell)

Wild celebrations followed as the final whistle was blown, marking another Extra Preliminary Round success for Matt Chatfield's AFC, who travel to Cleethorpes Town in the next round on Saturday 12 September.

Next up, however, is a friendly match against Eastwood CFC at the Forest Town Arena this Saturday, 5 September, at 3pm.



Final score | AFC Mansfield 2-1 Sherwood Colliery

Scorers | Duggan (20'), Walker (61') - Harrison O.G. (44')

Bulls XI | Warhurst, Marsden, Wilde, Harrison (D'Laryea 70'), Wilson, Annable, Karkach, Buxton (C), Duggan (Walker 58'), Algar (James 82'), Sykes

Unused subs | McGuire, Slone, McMillan, Stancliffe

Yellow cards | Warhurst (31'), Wilson (38'), Buxton (54')

Sherwood Colliery XI | Turton, Starbuck (Weaver 71'), Shaw (C), Taylor, Belgrave, Yorke, Wells, Hearn, Leeds (West 82'), Gregory (Clarke 78'), Henshaw

Unused subs | Widdowson, Bacon, Homer, Lumley

Yellow cards | Wells (26')

Red cards | Henshaw (90'+5)

Man-of-the-Match | Hugo Warhurst

Attendance | 300


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