Late goals extend Bulls’ 12-match unbeaten run

Lynton Karkach
Lynton Karkach

Assistant manager Mark Ward was pleased with AFC Mansfield’s performance after battling tricky, windy weather conditions to earn a 2-0 victory against Barton Town.

Ward said: “The plan was to kick into the wind in the first half and the way the game was going I thought we would get something out of it.

“There was no doubt we would get the win – it was all us (in the)second half.”

Connor Smythe provided the Bulls’ breakthrough as he slotted away a calm effort from outside the area in the 79th minute.

Smythe’s willingness to venture forward paid dividends as he cut inside from the left to leave the Swans’ goalkeeper, Jody Barford, helpless.

Six minutes later substitute Lynton Karkach scored his second in successive games. A neatly-worked opportunity with fellow substitute Phil Buxton inside the 18-yard box resulted in Karkach finding the same corner as Smythe.

The win extended AFC Mansfield’s unbeaten league run to 12 games — joint best in the NCEL Premier Division.

Regarding the windy conditions, Ward added: “We’ve seen the game out but it put a lot of pressure on us.

“Players who prefer to get forward had to take on a defensive job because in the first half we couldn’t really get out.

“Sometimes, when a goal goes in it deflates the opposition and I think you could highlight that today — especially as we nicked a second goal not long after the first.”