Manager Rudy Funk was delighted with AFC Mansfield’s first competitive outing of the season as they strode to a 6-0 win in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
“The lads did exactly what they did in our perfect pre-season,” said Funk after the Bulls had licked Leicestershire outfit Kirby Muxloe.
“When you come to teams like Kirby, you never know what to expect and, for the first 25 minutes, they put themselves about. But they key factor was that we worked hard.”
The victory means they will face a local derby against Rainworth Miners Welfare in the next round on Saturday, August 21, and teed them up nicely for this Saturday’s opening game in the Northern Premier League’s Division One East against Pickering Town.
Lynton Karkach opened the scoring for the Bulls with 20 minutes on the clock, curling beyond the reach of Kirby ‘keeper Brandon Holgate, before Brad Wells met Cameron Dear’s looping cross at the far post with a simple header to double the advantage just two minutes later.
The game was realistically done and dusted before the half-time whistle when skipper Jimmy Ghaichem’s strike was parried into the path of Nick Guest, who only needed to tap home into a half-empty net.
A red card for Aaron Love for a stamp on Jonny Pugh on the hour mark condemned Kirby to a long and painful second half, and Karkach completed a well-earned brace in the moments which followed with a brilliant turn and run into the box before firing into the bottom corner from a tight angle.
Dear notched AFC’s fifth later on, rewarding his impressive attacking performance by hammering home an inch-perfect pass from Wells. And Dear was also the architect of the Bulls’ sixth and final goal on 85 minutes, with his off-target attempt ricocheting into the hosts’ net off the leg of Kirby skipper Jamie Cooper.
Karkach could have earned the match ball two minutes later, but let a hat-trick chance go begging when blazing over the bar from ten yards out.