AFC Mansfield

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Hednesford Town 0 AFC Mansfield 1

The Bulls recorded a very impressive victory over step 3 side Hednesford Town in the FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round replay last night at Keys Park.  A very impressive stadium which deserves to hold matches with an attendance much higher than the 174 brave people who ventured out to watch this game. 

The Bulls named an unchanged side from the side which drew at the Forest Town Arena on Saturday, with Hednesford Town making one change to their team in central defence.  It was yet another master class of executing a game plan to perfection for Rudy Funk as his side made it very uncomfortable for a Hednesford side who were comfortable with playing the ball on the floor rather than being involved in a game of long ball. 

In the end, a ball over the top of the Hednesford defence for Kieran Wells to run on to and slide past the Hednesford keeper in the 37th minute was the deciding factor in this game but there was much more to this game than the only goal.

The Bulls could have named any player from number 1 to 11 as man of the match as all the boys stuck to their tasks and worked hard over the 90 minutes to ensure that the Bulls progress.  Man of the Match Jack Broadhead was outstanding at the heart of the defence alongside to ever dependable Jordan Annable. 

The opening 10 minutes of the game belonged to the Bulls with them piling pressure on the home goal but with little to show for their attacking dominance.  It took Hednesford a little time to grow into the game but again their chances in the first half were few and far between but probably should of scored when Jack Broadhead slipped and let them in but the ball was fired high and wide of Jason White's goal.  The only other chance of note in the first half for Hednesford was again well save down low to Jason White's left. 

The bulls though kept sticking to the game plan and Hednesford looked uneasy when the Bulls kept pushing the ball forward and turning their defence.  The Bulls had numerous changes in the first half which could of made the score more flattering for the bulls going in at the interval.  Pat Lindley went into the referees note book in the first half and was in some eyes lucky to complete the 90 minutes after another hard challenge in the second half. 

It was fair to say with the Bulls one goal up at half time that some of the locals were not happy with the performance of their side.  It was surely a matter of time before we saw a reaction from Hednesford Town.  It came in the opening minutes of the second half with Hednesford piling the pressure on to the visitors goal, however the backline stood firm as it did for the whole of the 90 minutes.  Hednesford had more chances in the second half which they should possibly have taken to level the tie. 

The Bulls had one massive let off in the second half when Hednesford had a shoot which was goal bound blocked by their own player on the goalline.  However, in the process Jason White injured his hamstring and led to the last 10 minutes being rather nervous for the visitors as Jason White went down a number of times for treatment.  However, he did finish the game.  Jason did say afterward if the game had gone into extra time he would not have been able to continue. 

In addition, to the injury to Jason White, Jordan Annable also limped off and was replaced by Ellis Wall.  This saw D'Leyra move into the backline to partner Jack Broadhead to finish the game.  Kieran Wells also made way for Cameron Dear to add a little but of pace up front for the final 10 minutes.

The bulls had one chance of note in the second half a low left foot shot by Brad Wells which the keeper did very well to get down to and palm away to safety, 

The Bulls had to endure 6 minutes of time added on mainly due to the stoppages in  play for keeper Jason White but they held on even though Hednesford had most of the ball in the Bulls half but were generally wasteful in front of goal.

I think of the crowd of 174 around 164 of them went home disappointed but the 10 or so Bulls fans in attendance certainly had smiles on their faces. 

7 games from Wembley do you dare dream????

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