Battling Bulls sunk by former striker

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Rudy Funk praised his AFC Mansfield team for an inspiring second-half performance in bitterly cold and wet conditions, despite a 2-1 home defeat to Spalding United.

Ex-Bulls striker Kieran Wells bagged what proved to be the winner to leave AFC Mansfield bottom of the Northern Premier League East Division.

“I have to say that both sides in conditions worked tremendously hard,” Funk said.

“We’ve had a good go at Spalding in the second half.

“We can’t fault anybody. They’ve been terrific, and although we’ve lost the game I think it’s a learning curve for us. We’ll have to wise up in different departments.”

Assistant manager Mark Ward said spirits inside the dressing room were more upbeat after a much-improved performance.

“In the last couple of games I don’t think the performances have been there, but today the performance was there and we could have got something out of the game.”

The visitors went ahead in bizarre fashion as James Hugo’s corner kick crept in at the near post, before former AFC striker Kieran Wells coolly slotted underneath Jason White to double the advantage after just 28 minutes.

Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Iaciofano halved the deficit after the break when he cut past Michael Duggan before firing into an empty net.

Spalding were pinned back for a large portion of the second half but, despite some excellent football from the hosts, United held on to all three points.

The Bulls host Marske United in their penultimate home fixture of 2018 on Saturday.