Sutton Town came out on top of the battle between the two AFC’s with goals from James Whitehead and Dale Gilliatt enough to sink a lacklustre Mansfield side in their final pre-season game.
The experimenting is now over and both sides will have to trim their squad in readiness for the first league game next week.
Sutton would seem to have things worked out and should go into the season with confidence.
AFC Mansfield still have a few problems to iron out and manager Micky Taylor will look for a much improved showing from his team next Saturday.
Sutton went in front after just seven minutes, Whitehead volleying the ball from 40 yards past Mark Frost in the AFC Mansfield goal after the keeper misjudging the flight of the ball thinking it was going wide.
Carl Haslam latched onto a Danny McLane through ball but his 20 yard effort was always going wide.
Sutton looked like doubling their lead on 23 minutes when Craig Mitchell saw his effort parried by Frost and McGurk hooking the ball away from danger.
Mansfield thought they had equalised on 38 minutes when Mark Carter met McLane’s corner, but Nathan Hollingworth was on hand to clear off the line.
Another chance came a minute later when Gavin Saxby superbly tipped Haslam’s goalbound shot around the post for corner.
The second half began with the Bulls unable to string 2 passes together and when they did the final ball was woeful.
This eventually saw Sutton double their lead when poor marking at the back allowed Dale Gilliatt time at the back post, his shot was a scuffed but it was enough to fool Frost and the ball bobbled into the back of the net.
Both sides made multiple substitutions a luxury they won’t have next week. The game turned scrappy and wasn’t helped by some inconsistent reffing by Rob Jackson. I suppose referee’s need a pre-season as well.
The man in the middle’s performance though was slightly better than AFC Mansfield’s who’s frustration boiled over and both captain McGurk and Pete Stubley found their way into the book for dissent.
Sutton manager Dean Short came on in the final few minutes for a cameo role and found himself in on goal. The years unfortunately caught up on him and he was dispossessed by a quicker Steve McGurk.
AFC Mansfield: Frost, Witton, Cox, Pride, McGurk (c), Buxton, Staniforth, Naylor, Carter, Haslam, McLane. Subs: Chambers, Stubley, Roy, Armstrong, Hartshorn, Kearney.
Sutton Town AFC: Saxby, Batty, Hollingsworth, Hunt, Charlesworth, Atkinson, Whitehead, Gilliatt, Townroe, Mitchell, Ward. Subs: Sweeney, Rhodes, Guest, Watson, James, Short.
Referee: Rob Jackson.
Assistants: Matt Jackson and Ryan Fletcher.
TRAVEL WITH THE TEAM TO BRODSWORTH
AFC Mansfield compete in their first ever competitive game this saturday when they travel to Brodsworth Welfare near Doncaster. To encourage team building and the club pulling together as one the fans have been given the opportunity to travel with the players, management team and directors on the coach.
The coach will leave Forest Town Welfare at 12.30pm and it is only £5 to travel. Expect plenty of fun and banter on the coach as The Bulls travel north in what will be a journey into the unknown.
We dont know what to expect from Brodsworth but i am sure Micky Taylors men will be giving their all in this historic day for the club. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact any of the directors via facebook to book your place.