AFC Mansfield fight back to deny ten-man Rainworth in FA Vase thriller

Jordan Annable, who started AFC's fightback by scoring their first goal on the stroke of half-time.
Jordan Annable, who started AFC's fightback by scoring their first goal on the stroke of half-time.

Plucky Rainworth Miners Welfare gave AFC Mansfield a fright, even when reduced to ten men, in a stirring FA Vase, Second Qualifying Round local derby.

Rainworth led 2-0 at one stage, only to go down 3-2 after the 30th minute dismissal of Jermaine Palmer, who was deservedly shown a red card for an elbowing offence.

A crowd of 120 lapped up the end-to-end action at the Forest Town Arena, where Rainworth might have had the Vase pedigree, having memorably reached the Wembley final of 1982, but AFC were very much the favourites, given that they play one level higher than their visitors on the non-league ladder.

It was hard to split the two sides, though, and Rainworth snatched the lead in the ninth minute when a mistake at the back allowed Callam Lytham to go through and beat advancing ‘keeper Hugo Warhurst.

Chances and saves then came at both ends, with the speedy Lytham a constant menace, but not even Palmer’s sending-off could prevent Lewis Saxby’s side doubling their advantage in the 33rd minute.

This time, Lytham’s shot was blocked and the ball fell to Declan Brewin, who netted at the second attempt after Warhurst had parrioed his initial effort.

Rainworth were seconds away from going in at the break two up when AFC started their fightback. A terrific ball by Ross Duggan found Jordan Annable ghosting in at the far post to defy appeals for offside and halve the deficit.

The goal set up a pulsating and dramatic second half, with the home team equalising within eight minutes of the restart when a poor goalkick by ‘keeper Warren Squires fell at the feet of Duggan, and the prolific striker needed no second invitation to find the net.

Even with ten men, Rainworth continued to threaten but, eventually, they tired, and AFC grabbed the winner eight minutes from the end.

A cross from the right appeared to have been cleared, but the ball dropped to Brandon Webster, whose shot flew through a sea of legs and into the bottom corner.