AFC Mansfield off to a great start after beating Staveley on opening day
Manager Phil Buxton tasted victory in his first competitive game in charge as Bulls got off to the perfect start to the season with a 1-0 away win against Staveley MW.
A ninth minute Kian Sketchley goal proved to be the winner in a keenly contested game.
Buxton said after the game: “It is always nice to get off to a winning start and especially against a side who will be challenging for honours at the end of the season.
"I thought the players attitude and work rate were excellent today and they thoroughly deserved the win.”
Jason White was called into action on six minutes to save superbly from Cameron Foulkes header.
AFC Mansfield took the lead on nine minutes Sketchley slotted home from 10 yards after Lynton Karkach played him in.
Luke Walker saw his 35-yard free kick turned around the post by Rio Alberry after 26 minutes and Sam King heads the resultant corner over the bar.
Staveley’s Tucker Poole saw his low drive go wide of the upright on 27 minutes.
Another great cross from Karkach saw Walker fire agonisingly wide on the far post on 33 minutes.
Karkach then got on the end of a Jack Gibb cross but his header was well wide of the mark.
Dan Howe found space down the left before bringing a good save out of White.
Mitchell Langton’s 30-yard free kick curled around the wall and narrowly wide of the post on 44 minutes.
It was no surprise that Staveley came out for the second half with renewed intent.
A cross from 40 yards delivered into the box found a Staveley head in a crowded area but the effort was always going wide after just 4 minutes of the restart.
There was more pressure from Staveley as Poole’s cross was palmed away by White and then hooked away for a corner by Gibb.
Karkach had a chance to double to extend The Bulls lead 12 minutes from time when he raced clear only to see his stinging drive saved by Alberry.
Two minutes later he again wriggled clear only to see a lobbed 30-yard effort beat the keeper but drift wide of the far post.
But AFC did enough to hold on and bag the win.
Staveley MW: Alberry, Bell, Oglesby, Lindley (c), Eades, Foulkes, Poole, Langton (Parkin 80), Howe, Boocock (Gibbons 65), Webster (Tansley 65). Subs not used: Jones & Worrall.
AFC Mansfield: White, Gibb (Dudley 62), Rajter, Slone, King (c), Cropper, Appiah (Hobson 62), D’Laryea, Walker, Karkach (Noon 85), Sketchley. Subs not used: Hough & Pipes.
Referee: Joshua Drake (S&H FA)
Assistants: Clare Thompson (S&H FA) & Carl Gibson (S&H FA)
Man of the Match: Sam King