A happy Christmas for AFC Mansfield

AFC Mansfield took maximum points over the festive period to remain top of the Central Midlands League North Division going into the New Year.

The Bulls started with an impressive 5-0 win on Boxing Day against basement side Welbeck Welfare.

A brace apiece for Dean Rick and man of the match Joe Naylor was overshadowed by the opening goal from Steve McGurk - a powerful header in the first half, which was his first for the club.

The score remained 1-0 at half–time due in the main to some excellent goalkeeping from Elliott Redmile. But two quick goals at the start of the second half put the game beyond the visitors and two more were added before the end.

Saturday saw the Bulls’ pip Thorne Colliery, who were fourth in the league with games in hand to become serious challengers, by a narrow 1-0 margin.

AFC welcomed back Matt Draper, Callum Green and Julian Capuano to the starting line-up and there was a start also for up and coming young full back Brad Wilson.

Thorne were a physical and hard-working side and were helped by some lenient refereeing on the day.

Welbeck keeper Julian Stevens was also in inspired form, keeping the scores level on numerous occasions.

Just when it looked as if AFC Mansfield would have to settle for a draw they won a corner on the right.

Phil Buxton delivered a perfect ball which Joe Naylor met with his head. The ball crashed against the bar, spun upwards and Nathan Whitehead headed against the bar again.

The ball dropped into a crowded six yard box and in the melee that ensued, Joe Naylor managed to force the ball home.

AFC Mansfield take a break from league action on Saturday when they entertain Linby Colliery in the League Challenge Cup third round at the Forest Town Stadium.