As local derbies go this one was a thoroughly entertaining affair. Both sides came out to play football and plenty of chances were created. But, at the end of the day, the home side were left a little deflated after surrendering a 2-goal lead in the final 10 minutes.

It’s fair to say that both teams suffered from Saturday’s games and both fielded understrength teams.

The first chance of the game fell to the visitors, Ryan Williams had an effort blocked and Matty Plummer’s follow up was tipped onto the bar by Ben Townsend and out for a corner. The Bulls went close again on 6 minutes with a neat passing move involving Williams, Bryan Hughes and Gary Bradshaw, the latter seeing his effort turned around the post by Townsend.

It was now the home sides turn to go close, Jack Barnett seeing his low drive cannon back off the post and the follow up was blazed over the bar by Aaron Moxam. The next chance was a wayward header from Jordan Claxton after a good run and cross from Carter Widdowson.

The game began to settle and Barnett had a shot blocked on 25 minutes, White punched away the resulting corner. At the other end AFC Captain Chris Timons header narrowly over.

White then saved a 25-yard free kick, albeit at the second attempt. On 38 minutes Jimmy Ghaichem twisted in the box and was upended by Tom Poole. The referee immediately pointed to the spot. Up stepped Jason White, AFC’s regular penalty taker. His penalty was struck well but a superb diving save from Ben Townsend, diving full length to his right, to push away the stinging drive.

So the teams went in all square at the break with all to play for and if the 122 who turned out to watch thought the 1st half was entertaining it was only going to get better.

A change of tactics for AFC as they opened up a little more, which only succeeded in letting Rainworth in behind them. Two chances were squandered in the opening minutes of the half. Firstly, Dec Brewin shot straight at White and then Julian Topliss fired high and wide with just White to beat.

But the home side were definitely in the ascendency, the visitors were next to go close a Hughes cross was met by Bradshaw who’s header clipped the right hand post with Townsend beaten.

It was the home side who finally broke the deadlock on 56 minutes, a Moxam cross was missed by two defenders and fell to Poole who fired past White from 8 yards.

A bit of a scare for Rainworth Captain Phil Buxton when cutting out a Ghaichem cross he was inches from putting the ball into his own net.

Rainworth went two up on 65 minutes when from an AFC free-kick the home side broke and almost a carbon copy of the 1st goal but this time it was Moxam applying the finishing touch.

At this point Manager Rudy Funk made two changes bringing on strikers Lynton Karkach and Ollie Fearon and you could feel a change in the game. Rainworth still posed a threat on the break but their own goal came under increasing pressure.

At this point some know it all had decided the game was over and yelled “Unlucky tonight” giggling as he said it and showing his total lack of football knowledge. The game is not over until the final whistle.

We had just 5 minutes left when some neat passing around the home box saw Bradshaw hit a low cross that Karkach finished on the far post from close range.


Just before the end of normal time a clever turn by Bradshaw saw a clumsy challenge by Buxton, who had been Rainworth’s man of the match, the referee again immediately pointed to the spot. Up came White again but this time he made no mistake as Townsend dived to his right White smashed the ball home slightly to his left.

There was still time for both sides to win the game but it remained level, excellent entertainment all round and you should never write off AFC Mansfield.

RAINWORTH MWFC: Townsend, Widdowson, Sykes, Barnett, Buxton, Cheeseman, Brewin (Mansell 86), Poole, Moxam, Topliss, Claxton. Subs (not used): Clarke & Watts.

AFC MANSFIELD: White, Plummer, Wilson (Fearon 65), Allott, Timons (C), D’Laryea, Williams, Hughes (Naylor 78), Patterson, Bradshaw, Ghaichem (Karkach 65). Subs not used: Wright & Annable.

Referee: Andrew Dallison (Notts.)

Assistants: Mr Mark Thomas (Notts.) & Mr Ibrahim Arsali (Notts.)

Attendance: 122

MoM: Gary Bradshaw

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