AFC Mansfield bow out of FA Cup to higher-league opposition

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AFC Mansfield bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup with defeat to higher-league opponents Barwell.

BetVictor Southern League Premier Central outfit Barwell ran out 4-1 winners in Saturday’s first qualifying round tie.

Ross Duggan dragged the Bulls back into the tie from the spot after goals from Dominic Brown-Hill and Tolani Omotola gave the hosts a comfortable half-time lead.

A brilliant ball from Jamie McGuire almost led to a shock opener but Ross Duggan’s lob fell on the wrong side of the crossbar from 25 yards out.

The hosts took the lead, perhaps against the run of play, as Dominic Brown-Hill’s 20-odd-yard free-kick looped into Hugo Warhurst’s far top corner. Warhurst then he got down to block Tolani Omotola one-on-one effort spectacularly.

Jordan Annable was forced off with a concussion on the half-hour mark, and moments later the Canaries doubled their advantage whilst the Bulls had one less man on the pitch, as Warhurst spilled Eliot Putman’s longe-range effort and Omotola tapped home the rebound.

Matt Chatfield’s side refused to give in and were handed a lifeline when Putman was adjudged to have handled the ball inside his own penalty area, and Ross Duggan stepped up to tuck home his 14th of the season from 12 yards.

The hosts should have instantly restored their lead down the other end, but Brady Hickey’s close-range header crashed against the woodwork.

Richard Williams became AFC’s second casualty of the afternoon and was forced to be replaced by Connor McMillan on 71 minutes, with the stoppage doing anything but aid the Bulls’ momentum.

Shortly after Cain Thomas’s longe ranger skimmed the crossbar, the game was put to bed when substitute Tritan Dunkley backheeled a throw-in from a few yards out.

Just as the game was about to enter stoppage-time, Henry Eze rounded off a superb move as he chested a long ball down and dinked past Warhurst to put the result beyond doubt and end Bull’s resistangs.