Late penalty not enough for AFC Mansfield

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AFC Mansfield boss Mark Ward blamed his side’s slow start for a 2-1 defeat to Stocksbridge Park Steels.

“I don’t think we got out of the blocks very well,” the boss said. “Stocksbridge were on the front foot and caused us a few problems, and we couldn’t get a foothold.

“We went 2-0 down and rightly so, but in the second half I thought the lads stuck at it and we put them under a lot of pressure.”

Without suspended key striker Ollie Fearon up front for the Bulls, Ward admitted their task was made a little more difficult: “When a striker is playing week in, week out, it does make a difference.”

The visitors took the lead when Luke Mangham’s pull-back was expertly diverted into the top corner by Scott Ruthven, before Mangham himself headed home.

Charlie Dawes’ late penalty set up a nervy finish.