AFC manager Matt Chatfield proud of 10-man Bulls after home draw with leaders Penistone Church

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Manager Matt Chatfield was a proud boss after 10-man AFC Mansfield came within two minutes of beating leaders Penistone Church.

Despite conceding the late equaliser, the Bulls ended a run of four league defeats with the 1-1 home draw.

Chatfield said: “Credit to our lads, they threw their bodies on the line.”

A sublime Ross Duggan goal — a fierce finish from an inch-perfect Phil Buxton cross — gave AFC a 38th minute lead, but Jamie McGuire’s straight red card a couple of minutes later put the home side under pressure.

The Bulls defended superbly in the second half and had chances to secure victory before Kieran Ryan headed in a leveller two minutes from time.

“In the first 20 minutes they had the edge and were turning us all the time, but then we got a foothold and controlled and dominated the game,” said Chatfield.

“But a stupid decision by our most experienced player, who was sent off, meant we had to defend for our lives for 50 minutes.

“The defending from our lads was class, blocking everything.

“Before the game we would probably have taken a 1-1 draw against the top of the league, but we are gutted we have not come away with all three points as it is what we deserved.”

Chatfield praised the performance of young debutant Brad Mears, who made one terrific block from Andy Ring’s point-blank effort and defended well throughout.

“We want young players who want to be here and want to play for the club,” added the manager.

Duggan twice went close to a second goal for the Bulls, before Ryan fired wide from the striker’s pull-back.

However, the Bulls were punished for missing the chances by Penistone’s late equaliser.

However, Chatfield remained positive. “I can’t be too harsh on the lads. When you talk about 10 men for 50 minutes it is hard to try to come out with the point. I am really proud of them,” he added.