Last second goal sees AFC Mansfield progress in FA Cup
AFC Mansfield progressed in The FA Cup after a last second goal from Craig Mitchell gave them a 2-1 win against fellow NCEL opponents Hall Road Rangers.
In truth, this game should have been over by half-time with AFC Mansfield squandering a series of chances as they dominated the first 45 minutes.
Straight from the kick off Ollie Fearon saw his cross come shot cannon of the crossbar.
Fearon went close again on nine minutes with an ambitious overhead kick from the edge of the box that went wide of the keeper’s left-hand post.
Considering all the chances he had it came as no surprise when Fearon opened the scoring on 14 minutes after a superb turn from Cameron Dear inside the box.
Nick Guest latched onto a superb route one ball from keeper Jamie Green and beat Birch and head just over the stranded keeper but inches wide of the post.
But the visitors pulled level through Josh Batty, who got in front of Connor Smythe to glance a header past Green from a well-placed free kick.
On the hour mark Fearon headed into the side netting from a Phil Buxton free kick.
Desperate defending from the visitors on 72 minutes saw two goalbound efforts blocked as the home side looked for a winner.
As the game edged closer to the final whistle all the talk was about the replay at Haworth Park.
But this was interrupted when Birch came out to clear a through ball but only succeeded in knocking it to Lynton Karkach who seeing the keeper out of his goal immediately hoisted his 30-yard effort towards goal.
Craig Mitchell was quickest to react and fired home from just outside the 6-yard box despite a frantic attempt from Birch to save.
The referee blew the final whistle leaving some in the crowd confused and wondering whether the goal would stand.
But the reaction from the players showed that The Bulls had indeed won the game in the most dramatic way.
AFC MANSFIELD: Green, Annable, Smythe, D’Laryea, Cheeseman (Dudley 45), Wilson (C), Fearon, Buxton, Guest (Mitchell 75), Ghaichem, Dear (Karkach 64). Subs not used: White, Wall, Wetherer & Cullingworth.
Hall Road Rangers: Birch, Belcher, Binns, Bruce, Harman, Piercy James (C), Bennett T, Fox (Crane 68), Worton (Whittingham 83), Spinks (Bennett K 79), Batty. Sub not used: Piercy Joel.
Referee: Mr David Jones (Scunthorpe).
Assistants: Mr Matthew Maddison (Scunthorpe) & Mr Andrew Pointon (Scunthorpe).
MoM: Jon D’Laryea.