Management duo Rudy Funk and Mark Ward echoed positivity and elation following AFC Mansfield’s dramatic 2-1 comeback against Thackley at the Forest Town Arena.
Phil Buxton, the Bulls’ longest-serving player, snatched a 92nd minute winner to claim all three points and lift the Bulls, who had missed a late penalty, to third place in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
Funk demonstrated his delight at full-time, saying: “I am absolutely buzzing!
“What a great, great end to the first half of the season. With their quality the lads stick together, work together, and what a fantastic way to win the game.”
Apart from a short spell at Rainworth Welfare, the match-winner has clocked up more than 200 appearances after joining AFC Mansfield when the side was formed in 2012.
A powerful performance from central midfield was rewarded at the death with his first league goal of the season, dribbling past two players and sending the ball into the far corner.
Ward then set his sights on the second half of the season, saying: “Hopefully we can use this to kick-start something even better than what has already occurred.”
After AFC Mansfield dominated the first period, Thackley struck on the stroke of half-time. Jordan Hendrie drilled the ball past the near post after Jason White wrongly elected to punch in the 44th minute.
Ollie Fearon then tucked home the first of two penalties after being chopped down in the 51st minute — but could not convert a second two minutes from time.