The Bulls bowed out of the FA Vase courtesy of a John Butler goal 7 minutes before half time at The Forest Town Arena. The goal had more than a whiff of offside and although Sunderland RCA were the better side AFC Mansfield were left frustrated at several poor decisions from the match officials.

The visitors settled into their game quickly and took the game to their hosts. As early as the 2nd minute they had the ball in the back of the net from a Colin Larkin finish the joy was short lived the referee cancelling it out for an obvious push on Chris Timons in the box.

Sunderland’s main threat came from Jon Davis who was making some great runs down the right flank. Jason White dealt with most of the crosses and was well placed to save from Charlton on 17 minutes.

Larkin, Michael Charlton and Davis continued to pose a threat but in a rare AFC attack a Ryan Williams free kick is headed over the bar by 19-year-old Jordan Annable.

The goal came on 38 minutes the home side had pushed out and a Charlton through ball found Butler who looked yards offside, even his own supporters said so. But with no flag the striker had time to fire past White from 10 yards to as it turned out win the game for RCA.

Jon D’Laryea charged down an attempted clearance by Jonathan Carmichael, the ball spun across the 6-yard box before bring holed away to safety. Another Williams free kick just before the break was easily held by keeper Carmichael.

White was in action minutes into the restart as he mopped up a promising run from Butler.

James Armstrong broke up an attack from AFC with a confident clearance and minutes later fired a 20-yard free kick wide and high.

Efforts from Butler and Charlton were blocked and with around 20 minutes left the game changed slightly RCA seemed eager to hold onto their slender lead and AFC upped the ante searching for an equaliser.

A big incident on 72 minutes when 2 penalty appeals within 5 seconds of each other. Firstly, Gary Bradshaw was clipped in the box and as Ollie Fearon chased the loose ball he was unceremoniously shoved in the back. Both looked clear cut penalties but the referee waved play on.

RCA broke and White did well to block Charlton’s effort but with the goal at his mercy Butler fired wide from 10 yards. As the Bulls pushed on another free kick from Williams is cleared by the RCA defence. At the other end, Mark Dudley succumbs to a muscle pull in his thigh just as he is playing the ball back to White. Too much power sees it zip past the keeper but thankfully the outside of the post.

Another free kick from Williams goes just over the bar after a foul on Bradshaw. And finally, a Jon D’Laryea cross is headed away and the referee blows for the end of the game.

These sorts of games invariably are usually dogged and dour with a place in the last 16 the fear of losing takes over. In fairness Sunderland RCA were the better side and had they taken their chances would have won the game comfortably, but in the back of the mind the decisions from the officials will dominate after match discussions.

AFC Mansfield now move on and will welcome Harrogate Railway Athletic to The Forest Town Arena next Saturday. Just before that our U21 side entertain Sherwood Colliery U21 in a local derby.

AFC Mansfield: White, Annable, Dudley (Paling 83), Plummer, Timons, D’Laryea, Williams, Patterson (C), Fearon, Bradsaw, Ghaichem (Karkach 72). Subs not used: Naylor, Cullingworth & Wilson.

Referee: Mr Sam Mulhall (Norwich)

Attendance: 140

MoM: Jon D’Laryea

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