More misery for Clipstone, more joy for AFC Mansfield. That was the outcome of of the big local derby in the Premier Division of the Toolstation Northern Counties East League.
In front of a crowd of 132 at The Lido Ground, a hat-trick by AFC striker Ollie Fearon sentenced pointless Clipstone to their 14th consecutive defeat at the bottom of the table. Ian Cotton’s team are now 11 points adrift of safety, and it’s clear a minor miracle is required to avoid relegation.
In contrast, AFC are now unbeaten in all ten league games they have played this term and sit a handy fifth in the table, nine points behind the leaders but with two games in hand and poised to mount a promotion challenge.
Fearon broke Saturday’s deadlock with a penalty, awarded when a marauding burst into the box was halted by a foul and neatly tucked away to ‘keeper Levi Owen’s left.
AFC had also created the pick of the other chances in the opening half before all but sealing the points with two more goals in the first eight minutes of the second. Fearon shrugged off the attentions of two defenders to force the ball home as he attacked the right side of the area, and then he bundled the ball home after a cross into the box had been flicked on at the near post.
Clipstone were given some consolation by scoring the best goal of the game as Olly Ashton cut in to the box from the left and crashed a shot into the roof of the net in the 70th minute. And as they finished the game strongly, they should have reduced the arrears further when given a penalty after Gareth Curtis was brought down by ‘keeper Jason White. But as if to sum up their season so far, the kick was brilliantly saved, low to White’s left.