Manager Rudy Funk praised AFC Mansfield for overcoming a shaky start to beat struggling Staveley Miners Welfare in their latest win at the top of the Toolstation Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division.
AFC could have fallen two goals behind to Brett Marshall’s outfit before a double from talisman Ollie Fearon calmed the nerves and teed up a 4-0 victory.
“Staveley came with a battle plan,” said Funk. “They attacked us and tried to break us down from the get-go. But after a poor start, the tide eventually turned.
“Once we got the first goal, thanks to Ollie, we were able to exploit the gaps they were leaving. In my opinion, it was a very comfortable win.”
Staveley paid the price for their lacklustre finishing early on as Fearon struck with a couple of close-range efforts minutes before half-time that left goalkeeper Matthew Leese with no chance.
The Bulls continued their dominance in the second half when Connor Smythe’s whipped-in corner caught Leese off guard and slipped therough his hands at the near post to make it 3-0 on 80 minutes.
The scoring was rounded off by substitute Lynton Karkach, who cut inside with aplomb and rifled a shot that cannoned in off the far post.
The victory set up AFC nicely for this Saturday’s key clash at home to fellow title-chasers Pickering Town. Added Funk: “It’s a crucial time for us, and this win was a big step forward as we enter the final month of the season.”