Saturday 14 August 2021
The Toolstation Northern Counties East Premier Division
Athersley Recreation 0 – 2 AFC Mansfield
The Bulls have now gone 270 minutes in the league without conceding, picking up 7 points from 9 along the way. Two moments of brilliance from Kian Sketchley sealed the points for the visitors who dominated the game from start to finish.
Manager Phil Buxton said after the game “We had to change our shape today due to players missing but the players settled into it and we could have had a lot more goals”.
The Bulls started brightly and in the opening minutes Sam Pipes and Kian Sketchley linked up down the left to deliver a cross which Ryan Noon flicked on to the far post but the outstretched leg of Lynton Karkach just failed to connect.
Pipes popped up again on 12 minutes, this time working with Jack Gibb down the right. The full back’s vicious cross was turned behind for a corner with 3 players lining up to finish.
Athersley recorded their first chance on 20 minutes a scuffed effort from outside the box from Cole Patrick that went yards wide.
Captain Sam King went close on the half hour mark, his header from a Karkach free kick scrambled away for a corner.
A neat turn in the box from Sketchley saw his drive turned behind for a corner by Connor Johnson as The Bulls pushed for the opening goal.
Karkach was next to try his luck, a well struck half volley which Harry Ambler in the home goal was well positioned to collect. Half time came without score and a frustrated AFC Mansfield needed to find a way past the dogged Athersley defence.
Two minutes into the restart and after forcing an early corner The Bulls went in front in spectacular style. Kian Sketchley shaped up to take the corner kick and put a beautiful curling effort straight into the far top corner of the net with Ambler rooted to the spot.
The home side responded but after some good work around the visitor’s box Muhamet Gashi fired well over the bar.
Athersley threatened again on 51 minutes, the ball dropping loose in the box to Jonathon Nyanton. Jason White managed to get a block on it and Captain Sam King mopped up the loose ball to clear the danger.
Sketchley, Pipes and Noon crafted a great move down the left and the former blasted his effort inches over the bar from just inside the box.
Another missed chance, this time it was Karkach who hit his shot over the bar after good work from Pipes and Sketchley.
Pipes again the creator on 75 minutes, putting Kian Bramley clear in the box his low drive turned around the post by Ambler.
On 85 minutes a loose clearance from the home side found the feet of Sketchley and from 40 yards the Man of the Match lifted the ball over Ambler and doubled his tally and his sides lead.
The final 5 minutes produced no further goals and the referee blew for full time. Once again AFC Mansfield could and should have scored a few more goals but defensively they look rock solid.
Attention now turns to Tuesday night when The Bulls welcome Penistone Church to The Forest Town Arena in which is always a keenly contested fixture.
Athersley Rec: Ambler, Clements, Johnson, Berry, Patrick, Eastwood, Shaw, Gashi (C), Nyanton, Clegg, Clarkson. Subs: Brown, Bould, Nolan, Street, Pickard.
AFC Mansfield: White, Gibb, Slone, Appiah (Bramley 72), King (C), Cropper, Hobson, Pipes, Noon, Karkach (Jatau 72), Sketchley. Subs not used: Hough, D’Laryea, Buxton.
Referee: Andrew Pontin
Assistants: Ellis Douglas & Peter Binks
MoM: Kian Sketchley