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Bulls return to winning ways ahead of vital clash

AFC Mansfield's Matty Plummer (red).
AFC Mansfield's Matty Plummer (red).

Management duo Rudy Funk and Mark Ward praised AFC Mansfield’s response to two winless games after they won 2-0 at Maltby Main 2-0 .

“Both goals were taken very well and any negativity from the past couple of weeks has dissipated,” said Funk.

His assistant, Ward, added: “What pleased me most was the reaction the lads gave us.

“The togetherness was there to see — and, despite Maltby’s efforts in the second-half, we kept pushing to ultimately put the game to bed.”

After Penistone Church and Liversedge had halted the Bulls’ rampant run at the top of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, goals in either half from Connor Smythe and Matty Plummer secured all three points.

While the hosts threatened to get on the scoresheet themselves, keeper Jason White earned his side their 14th league clean sheet.

The Bulls began confidently as Smythe netted his 12th league goal of the season in the 19th minute, firing past the keeper after the ball fell kindly to him inside the area.

Top-scorer Oliver Fearon and Plummer were both denied before the interval, but the latter made amends mid-way through the second-half.

As Maltby were threatening to snatch an equaliser, Plummer pounced on a weak clearance to drill home in emphatic fashion.

The win left the Bulls 13 points clear of third-placed Pontefract Collieries — having played seven more games — ahead of their crucial clash at the Forest Town Arena on Saturday.