A Tale of Two Penalties!! Harrogate Railway 1 - 2 AFC Mansfield

The first thing to mention about this game is the fantastic playing surface at Harrogate, well done to all involved. Harrogate had come down from the Evo-Stik league and are looking to go straight back up. In some ways this would be a useful yardstick as to how The Bulls will fare this season.

Mark Dudley winning an early challenge

Some tentative approach play from both sides in the opening 15 minutes with the first real chance coming when George Mason headed well over the bar for the home side.

Chris Ovington tested Jason White on 19 minutes, the AFC keeper getting his fingertips to the striker’s low drive to turn it past the post. 5 minutes later and AFC Mansfield looked to have taken the lead when Ollie Fearon’s effort was turned onto the post by keeper Jake Lofthouse. Gary Bradshaw was quickest to react, moving forward to head the ball home. His celebrations were cut short by a raised flag for offside the first of a few contentious decisions.

White was in action before the break denying Charlie Clamp after a breakaway left the keeper exposed. White superbly coming out on top in the one on one situation. Another decision not going the visitor’s way was a penalty shout after a hefty challenge from Alex Low on Bradshaw. The final action of the first half saw Lofthouse get a hand to cross to turn it behind only for a goal kick to be given. Smiles from the home side and difficult questions for the referee at the break.

Jason White tips one over the bar

The 2nd half started with The Bulls pushing on looking for a goal. Bradshaw and Low tussled again on 57 minutes, eventually Low pulled Bradshaw down and the referee pointed to the spot. In fact, this quite easily been a foul on the defender but the man in the middle chose otherwise. Harrogate will think justice was done when Lofthouse guessed the right way, diving low to his left to turn Bradshaw’s kick around the post.

A minute later the visitors gave away a free kick 30 yards out. White set up his wall and everything looked fine. Stephen Bromley had other ideas, stepping up he hit a rocket of a shot that flew into the top right hand corner of White’s net with the keeper hardly moving such was the venom of the drive.

Lynton Karkach making himself as big as possible.

Manager Rudy Funk made 2 substitutions, such is the quality of the squad Jon D’Laryea replaced Danny Patterson who had just been booked for being, well, Danny! Lynton Karkach came on for Ollie Fearon and immediately began to cause problems.

Gary Bradshaw pressurises the Harrogate defence

On 63 minutes Karkach broke clear and was unceremoniously brought down in the box. AFC Mansfield reverted to their normal penalty taker, keeper Jason White. White thumped the ball past Lofthouse who got a hand to the ball, but the sheer power of the kick took it in.

Ovington tried his luck from distance on 80 minutes but White was equal to it. At the other end Bradshaw’s dipping effort went narrowly wide after good approach work from Karkach and Williams.

Just when it looked as if The Bulls would have to settle for a point Jimmy Ghaichem sent Karkach racing clear. Then diminutive striker turned his marker inside and out before drawing Lofthouse and firing a low drive that went in off the far right hand post. Much to the delight of the travelling faithful.

Lynton Karkach gets the Chairman's approval!!

A nervy final few minutes of added on time ensued but AFC Mansfield kept the ball in the opponents half and the final whistle came and another 3 points came The Bulls way.

Harrogate Railway: Lofthouse, Parkes, Hendrie, Stimpson (C), Low, Brown, Sharrocks (Barrett 33), Clamp, Ovington, Bromley, Mason. Subs not used: Chipps & Hirst.

AFC Mansfield: White, Plummer, Dudley, Allott, Timons (C), Naylor, Williams, Fearon (Karkach 60), Patterson (D’Laryea 60), Bradshaw, Ghaichem (Mitchell 89). Subs not used: Wilson & Wright.

Referee: Mr Joseph Goodwin (Leeds)

Assistants: Mr Joseph Knowles & Mr Wayne Niles

Attendance: 55

Man of the Match: Jason White

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