Below-par AFC Mansfield are beaten at Maltby Main

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Goals in the first five minutes of each half sealed AFC Mansfield’s fate as a disjointed performance saw them lose to Maltby Main.

Manager Rudy Funk shuffled his side and in came Brad Wilson at centre half, Glyn Cotton in the middle of the park and Lynton Karkach up front with Gary Bradshaw, Matt Plummer and Danny Patterson dropping to the bench.

All the planning went out of the window on five minutes when Maltby captain Steven Hopewell was allowed time and space to rifle an edge of the box effort past Jason White to open the scoring.

Two minutes later Lawrence forced a great save out of White with a low rasping drive that the keeper got a hand to, forcing out for a corner.

The visitors went in search of an equalizer and it duly came on 14 minutes.

Previously Lynton Karkach looked dangerous on a couple of occasions.

But this time picking up a Glyn Cotton pass he wriggled past two defenders and advanced into the box. Keeper Danny Rushling tried to close the angle but Karkach drilled the ball past him and into the far corner to bring the teams level.

AFC Mansfield’s defensive frailties were once again exposed on 21 minutes when a cross to the far post saw Hopewell climb above Jordan Annable to head home his second goal of the game.

Annable had been left with two players to mark after his midfield had failed to track back.

Once again The Bulls were playing catch up and Karkach was chief instigator. His stinging drive beat Rushling on 35 minutes but also went wide of the left hand post.

On 41 minutes he turned provider, dancing past two defenders before pulling the ball pack for Ollie Fearon who fired over the bar.

Just before the break and Williams and Karkach linked up down the right and provided Fearon with a chance that went inches wide of the post.

Two minutes into the restart and AFC Mansfield went further behind a poor back pass from Annable was pounced on by Gregg who squared the ball to Hopewell who had the simplest of finishes to complete his hat-trick.

The Bulls made three changes on 55 minutes in an effort to get back into the game and five minutes later Gary Bradshaw hit an effort straight at Rushling from 20 yards.

Maltby began to sit deep and invite their visitors on. Bradshaw’s delivery into the box was met by Karkach, his header was blocked and then the loose ball was hooked away by Hill.

AFC Mansfield huffed and puffed but could not blow the Maltby defence away. Rushling was at his best to deny Fearon on 85 minutes with a full stretched dive.

In the dying minutes Williams and Ghaichem linked up to provide Jon D’Laryea with a chance but the midfielder hoisted his effort over the bar.

And with that the points had slipped away with a combination of poor defending and a hard working Maltby side who battled to the final whistle.

Maltby Main: Rushling, Mitchell C, Hill, Wesley, Reilly, Mitchell S, Lawrence, Snodin (Greeves 67), Hopewell, Gregg (Hemmingway 70) (Semley 77), Stacey. Subs not used: Binney, Cheetham.

AFC Mansfield: White, Annable (Plummer 55), Dudley, Allott (Bradshaw 55), Wilson, D’Laryea, Williams (C), Cotton (Patterson 55), Karkach, Fearon, Ghaichem. Subs not used: Madin & Wright.

Referee: Mr Edward Pidduck (Notts)

Assistants: Mr Jamie O’Connor (Notts) & Mr Glen Whitehead (South Yorks)

Attendance: 57.

MoM: Lynton Karkach.