MANSFIELD faced a much changed Broadstreet outfit on Saturday and struggled to contain the power of their forward pack and the precision that their 8, 9 and 10 brought to the game.
It was clear from the start that the home side intended to use that forward power to dominate and a penalty after three minutes was punted into the corner for a catch and drive.
It failed to yield anything this time, but just three minutes later the same tactic brought a try for Broadstreet.
The conversion was missed and as Mansfield tried to run the ball back Aiden McGregor broke away up field and in being hauled to the ground injured his back.
There was a lengthy delay whilst he was stretchered off and taken to hospital. It is wise not to take risks with injuries of this nature but thankfully treatment has revealed that there is no permanent damage.
Andy Simms replaced him and play continued. Although the visitors did run hard at the opposition when they could they couldn’t break them down and the frustration mounted.
On the half hour mark the home side attacked again and their ability to recycle the ball quickly proved decisive as they constructed phase after phase of possession.
Eventually the blue and whites ran out of defenders out wide and Broadstreet crossed again in the corner. Although the home stand-off ran the game well he had clearly left his kicking boots at home and the lead stayed at 10-0.
An unsavoury incident occurred just before half time as a result of holding on to a player in the scrum, which provoked a prolonged brawl. When the dust settled Andy Simms had to leave the field with a cut and swollen eye.
He was replaced by Ryan Croll, whose versatility allows him to switch between centre and second row. A Lee Shaw penalty narrowed the gap to 10-3.
A few minutes later Mansfield were awarded a penalty and for the second week running as Adam Shaw was about to take a quick tap and go, the ball was knocked out of his hands by a retreating opposition player.
The match official marched them back 10 metres which made the penalty kickable but, like last week, did not award a yellow card.
Lee Shaw struck the ball perfectly again to close the gap further and a 55 minute half ended 10-6.
It is fair to say that this was as close as the visitors got to disrupting Broadstreet’s flow.
As the second half started Mansfield gave away far too many penalties as the pressure mounted and the home side had four penalty opportunities inside the first nine minutes - all of which were unsuccessful kicks at goal, save one kick to the corner.
The referee lost patience on the 15 minute mark and awarded another penalty and this time a yellow card for Tom Calladine.
Broadstreet opted for a scrum and they forced their way over the line near to the posts. The conversion made the score 17-6 and it was looking ominous for the visitors.
It took just five more minutes for Broadstreet to mount another attack and, aided by some poor defending, they scored again under the posts to convert and stretch the lead to 24-6.
Ryan Hough had to leave the field with a suspected broken nose. With four minutes of normal time to play, and what turned out to be another 10 minutes of injury time, Ryan Croll also left the field with a damaged elbow.
With all replacements used and a glut of injuries Mansfield were forced to play out the rest of the game with 14 men.
Broadstreet enjoy a healthy relationship with the National League One neighbours Coventry and their player exchange strategy clearly paid dividends as this much improved outfit were simply too strong for the away team.
Battered and bruised, the final score came all too easy for the home side and, although the conversion was somewhat predictably missed, the game ended 29-6 with 50 minutes played in a punishing second half.
Mansfield will have to lick their wounds and regroup for this weekend as they face the longest journey of this campaign for the game against Hereford.
Mansfield U9’s will grace the Twickenham turf before England face Ireland in the final game of the Six Nations campaign.
They will take part in a ‘Shaping the Game’ pilot which will be rolling out in the Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire (NLD) Constituent Body in the 2012-2013 season.