AFC Mansfield come from behind to pick up three big points at Penistone Church

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AFC Mansfield picked up a vital three points with a hard fought 3-2 victory at Penistone Church.

In doing so the Bull kept up their unbeaten record away from home in the league and halted the hosts’ five game unbeaten run.

This was always going to be a competitive game if the previous encounter was anything to go by.

Penistone ran out 2-1 winners at The Forest Town Arena in October to inflict AFC’s first defeat in the league.

The Bulls were out of the traps straight away with Adam Rhodes doing well to hold Sam O’Malley’s header on four minutes.

Craig Mitchell then headed over from a Ryan Williams cross, before Luke Jeffs fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box on 8 minutes.

The breakthrough came on nine minutes when Mitchell calmly rounded Rhodes before firing home.

A dangerous low cross from Oli Fearon went across the six yard box and only needed a touch, but no-one was on hand to apply the finishing touch.

Craig Mitchell then hit the top of the net with a 25 yard effort and at the other end Danny Joynes had his shot saved by Jason White’s feet before blazing the follow up well wide.

White then made a superb save to deny Fearon on 22 minutes when his 20 yard drive looked destined for the top corner.

O’Malley had a header hooked off the line from a Williams free-kick and, on 28 minutes, the striker saw his edge of the box shot beat Rhodes only to cannon back off the post.

More drama followed on 35 minutes when Brett Lovell’s header was blocked by Allott. The ball dropped to Fearon six yards out and he looked certain to score. But somehow White managed to save at point blank range to turn the ball around the post.

The second half was just six minutes old when a half clearance fell to the feet of Ash Ellis, who drilled his low drive through a crowded box and into the back of the net to level.

Four minutes later and Fearon went one better, again capitalising on a loose ball to fire past White to put the home side in front.

Around the hour mark the home side had big appeals for a penalty waved away by the referee. Most would agree that this was a let off for the visitors.

AFC Mansfield took full advantage of this when, five minutes later Perry Marriott met a Ryan Williams corner to power home his header.

With the team’s starting to make changes and players getting weary on the heavy pitch both teams would have probably settled for a draw.

Mark Dudley had other ideas, colleting a pass from Danny Naylor Dudley took one touch and from 25 yards unleashed an unstoppable drive that Rhodes got a hand to but the power of the shot took it into the net.

Substitute Danny Williams had an effort turned around the post with about three minutes remaining, but there was to be one last piece of drama.

The home side thought they had scored a last minute equaliser, but joy turned to despair when an assistants flag was raised for offside.

Manager Rudy Funk said: “Over two games Penistone are probably the best side we have played this season.

“Had a penalty been awarded we would have had a mountain to climb.

“But I have to be proud of my players in the way they bounced back from being behind to take all three points with two wonderful second half goals”.

Penistone Church: Rhodes, Cadzow, Young, Ellis, Whitehead, Lovell, Howes (C), Fearon, Kenworthy, Barlow, Joynes.

Subs: Lee, Riley, Moore, Dickinson & Ring

AFC Mansfield: White, Marriott, Jeffs, Allott, Timons (C), Naylor, Williams R, Buxton, O’Malley (Williams D 76), Mitchell (Ghaichem 89), Dudley. S

ubs not used: Sowter, Park, Wilson

Referee: Josh Bramhall (Sth Yorks)

Attendance: 122.

Man of the Match: Jason White.