AFC Mansfield’s guard of honour for worthy champions

AFC Mansfield players line up in a guard-of-honour tribute to champions Cleethorpes Town.
AFC Mansfield players line up in a guard-of-honour tribute to champions Cleethorpes Town.

Generous AFC Mansfield paid tribute to champions Cleethorpes Town before becoming their latest victims in the Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division.

On the day when Cleethorpes received their league-title trophy in front of a crowd of 326, AFC’s players gave them a guard of honour as they walked out on to the pitch, while chairman Andy Saunders presented them with an engraved tankard to commemmorate their success.

The Bulls went on to make them work hard for their 4-1 victory, but few can doubt that the seasiders are worthy champions. This was their 19th victory from 21 home games and even took them past the 100-point mark for the season.

It was goalless for half an hour before Leigh Hutchinson gave Cleethorpes the lead, which was doubled by the same player just before the break. AFC started the second period strongly and halved the deficit when substitute Ellis Wall fired a low drive from outside gthe area past goalkeeper Liam Higton. But although they had chances to draw level, the champions turned the screw in the last 20 minutes.

First Luke Mascall headed into an empty net after ‘keeper Dale Sheppard had parried, and nine minutes from time, Andy Taylor chased down a ball played wide before crossing for Brody Robertson to net number four.

AFC LINE-UP -- Sheppard/ Yates, Dudley, Allott (Wilson 76), Plummer, D’Laryea (Williams 70), Buxton, Lloyd, Fearon, Naylor (Wall 57), Ghaichem.