Nicholson crowns Vase debut with Bulls opener

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AFC Mansfield progressed into the second round of the FA Vase with a 2-0 win over Holwell Sports.

With injuries and suspensions, manager Rudy Funk handed a debut to 18-year-old Jake Nicholson and the youngster repaid the faith by opening the scoring for the Bulls.

Without Fearon, Allott, Madin, Wilson and Williams, AFC Mansfield had to regroup with Lynton Karkach, 19, starting up front and Nicholson wide right.

Another teenager Jordan Annable started at right-back as the Mansfield side took on a more youthful look. The bench was filled with the walking wounded and Jimmy Ghaichem started the match but was unlikely to finish it.

The game started cautiously with neither side getting a foothold in the game. Holwell captain Chris Hibbitt blasted an effort over the bar and Ghaichem shot was deflected for a corner.

Ghaichem had given his team a vital 45 minutes but was clearly beginning to struggle and was replaced by Danny Naylor. The change paid dividends almost immediately.

Jason White took a free kick in his own half on 47 minutes and lifted into the Holwell box. Chris Timons won the header and the ball looped to the back post where debutant Nicholson volleyed home from six yards.

Karkach fired into the side netting on 60 minutes after good work from Gary Bradshaw.

AFC Mansfield doubled their lead five minutes later, Bradshaw challenged in midfield the ball falling to Naylor who quickly gave it back to Bradshaw. The striker looked up and from 25 yards hit an unstoppable drive that flew into the top right hand corner of the net, with keeper Jamie Witham a mere spectator.

Anything Holwell had to offer going forward was starting to bounce off the brick wall defence of Plummer, Dudley, Timons and Annable.

Karkach raced clear on 84 minutes, rounded the keeper but his shot cannoned back off the post from a tight angle. Holwell did have a couple of opportunities in the dying minutes but failed to pull the trigger and the danger was cleared.

AFC Mansfield: White, Annable, Dudley, Plummer, Timons (C), D’Laryea, Nichol;son, Patterson, Karkach, Bradshaw, Ghaichem (Naylor 45). Subs not used: Lorimer, Wright, Wilson and Williams R.