Buxton’s late strike secures win for AFC Mansfield

Phil Buxton (red) scored AFC Mansfield's late winner.
Phil Buxton (red) scored AFC Mansfield's late winner.

Long-serving Phil Buxton scored his second goal in two games to secure the points for AFC Mansfield three minutes from time as they defeated Garforth Town 2-1.

The late home victory left the Bulls eighth in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division with five matches remaining.

It looked as if Garforth were going to frustrate Rudy Funk’s men after they cancelled out Callum Lloyd’s fifth-minute breakthrough for the hosts through Mark Simpson 10 minutes before half-time.

AFC Mansfield looked better in possession and had much more of the ball than their visitors. However, the Bulls were playing without a recognised striker and at times were missing that sharpness in the box.

Jamie Yates delivered some superb crosses and Mark Dudley and Jimmy Ghaichem work extremely hard down the left flank.

The Bulls went in front after a quick throw on the right found Ghaichem, who fed Lloyd just outside the box. His first-time curling effort caught keeper Paul Hagreen unawares and the ball sailed over his head and into the net.

AFC continued to dominate but in a rare lapse of concentration two defenders missed chances to clear and Simpson, playing his 100th game for Garforth, pounced on the loose ball to prod it past the advancing Dale Sheppard.

Minutes later the home side almost regained the lead. A goalmouth scramble from a corner saw the ball blocked on the line after Hagreen had fumbled, but the pressure was relieved by the referee’s whistle for a foul on the keeper.

Both Matty Plummer and captain Ghaichem fired over the bar for the Bulls, while Yates’s fierce effort was collected by Hagreen at the second attempt as the home side ended the first half on top.

Ten minutes into the second period Garforth’s Jack McMurrough went down under a challenge from Lloyd, which earned the midfielder a booking and forced the visitors into a change.

In a rare Garforth attack, Mitch Hamilton found space on the right but with just the keeper to beat he stumbled.

Buxton, who has played more than 150 matches for the Bulls, thought he had scored on 70 minutes when his close-range drive was turned over the bar by a defender.

The man-of-the-match then turned provider, crossing for Lloyd whose effort was blocked by an increasingly-pressured Garforth defence.

As both sides chased a late winner, substitute Simon Poole fired wide for the visitors.

At the other end, however, the hosts found the vital goal. Another excellent delivery from Yates found Buxton on 87 minutes and he wriggled past two defenders before firing home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Unlike the previous week at Parkgate, AFC then held on to the lead.

The Bulls visit Staveley Miners’ Welfare on Wednesday. The two sides are level on 62 points with Staveley having a slightly better goal difference.

AFC Mansfield: Sheppard, Plummer, Dudley, Allott (Wilson 88mins), Timons, D’Laryea, Yates, Lloyd, Naylor (Karkach 82mins), Buxton, Ghaichem. Subs not used: Williams, Paling, Annable.

Garforth Town: Hagreen, Leach, Allsop (Kitson 66mins), Beaston, Donaghue, McCrum, McMurrough (Poole 57mins), Rose, Simpson (Hunter 79mins), Hamilton, Dhesi.

Sub not used: Turner.