Guest double helps the Bulls to continue charge

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Rudy Funk shared his festive delight after his AFC Mansfield defeated Hemsworth Miners’ Welfare 5-1 to top the Northern Counties East League table at Christmas.

The away win left Funk’s side eight points clear of nearest rivals Handsworth Parramore after 24 games.

The AFC Mansfield boss said: “First of all I’m freezing — but I’m really warm inside because the lads delivered a great Christmas present for everyone.

“Hemsworth are always an organised side so you could argue it’s a bit of a surprise that we came here and dominated.”

A frantic start saw Philip Buxton give the Bulls an eighth-minute lead with an effort from outside the penalty area.

Nick Guest, returning to his old stomping ground, netted either side of what was ultimately a consolation goal for the hosts.

Latching on to Jason White’s long ball, Guest rounded the keeper and slotted into an empty net on 14 minutes before heading in from close-range nine minutes later.

Top-scorer Ollie Fearon turned in a corner on 69 minutes.

Man-of-the-match Matty Plummer completed the Bulls’ rout as he latched onto Connor Smythe’s through ball in added time to make it 5-1.