AFC Mansfield and Shirebrook Town play out entertaining festive draw

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Honours were even as AFC Mansfield shared an entertaining 1-1 draw with Shirebrook Town at The Forest Town Arena on Boxing Day.

A bumper crowd of 220 saw both sides play some attractive football with both keepers being kept busy.

The home side maintained second place in the league, while the visitors kept up their push for a play-off place.

With the wind in their favour The Bulls got at Shirebrook immediately. with Ryan Williams rattling the post from a 20 yard free kick with Jamie Dean rooted to the spot.

Three minutes later Grant Allott saw his goalbound header deflected for a corner.

The Bulls however eventually went in front on eight minutes when a curling cross from the left by Luke Jeffs was met on the far post by Ryan Williams and the player/coach headed past Dean from five yards.

AFC Mansfield continued to push forward and Craig Mitchell saw his edge of the box drive turned around the post by Dean on 15 minutes.

Five minutes later Mitchell was in on goal again, but this time he lifted the ball over the advancing Dean and over the bar.

Jake Currie had Jason White back peddling on 26 minutes when his 25 yard effort went inches wide of the right hand post.

Shirebrook started to get a little more of the ball in the closing minutes of the half and, with the wind at their backs for the second half, it would be the home side’s turn to defend.

The opening 15 minutes of the half saw both sides grappling for possession, but the visitors started to exploit the wind and Matt Outram saw his 10 yard header go wide on the hour mark.

White did well to turn Curries header behind for a corner as the pressure began to mount. Five minutes later Liam Greenfield wasted a 20 yard free-kick firing high over the bar.

Another chance wasted by Tom Roebuck his edge of the box drive clearing the bar as well.

But, just as the home side thought they might record their 10th clean sheet, a cross from Rowley was met by the head of Greenfield and, despite the best efforts of White, the ball hit the back of the net.

Ryan Williams almost had the final say when his rasping drive from outside the box went inches wide of Dean’s left hand post.

But a winner at this point would have been cruel and both sides will rue missed chances and what could have been.

AFC Mansfield: White, Marriott (Spencer73), Jeffs, Allott, Timons (C), Naylor (Haslam 76), Williams R, Buxton, O’Malley, Mitchell, Dudley.

Subs not used: Wilson, Ghaichem, Williams. D.

Shirebrook Town: Dean, Johnson, Shaw, Fox, Roebuck, Cardwell, Greenfield (Lufudu 85), Getliff (C), Currie, Osborne (Rowley 58), Outram (Ord 85). Subs not used: Gibson, Gibson.

Referee: Mr David Evans (South Yorks)

Attendance: 220.

Man of the Match: AFC Mansfield: Jason White; Shirebrook Town: Andy Fox.