Penalty save dents Bulls Premier title charge

Ollie Fearon headed AFC Mansfield level to earn a point, but also saw a penalty saved.
Ollie Fearon headed AFC Mansfield level to earn a point, but also saw a penalty saved.

AFC Mansfield assistant manager Mark Ward vented his frustration after a 1-1 draw at Garforth Town saw the Bulls lead at the top of the table cut to five points.

Pontefract Collieries also have five matches in hand at the top of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

It was an unwanted dent in the title hopes of a side that play neat football at times and came despite Ollie Fearon’s 39th goal of the season hauling the visitors level. A saved penalty did not help AFC Mansfield’s cause either.

Ward said: “We simply didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. It’s not anybody’s fault but the keeper has made five or six unreal saves, and they’ve put their bodies on the line .

“We didn’t just come here and expect to win but it’s a frustrating result.

“The lads know we’re still in with a title challenge so it’s about moving on to the next game.

Despite dominating the game, a string of fine saves throughout by Peter Lawrie kept the Bulls at bay.

Mark Simpson opened the scoring with a 40-yard effort in the 10th minute. After intercepting a loose pass by Cameron Dear, he spotted Jason White off his line and lofted in.

Referee Daniel Jarvis awarded AFC a penalty in the 61st minute for a pull on Matty Plummer but Lawrie was equal to Fearon’s spot-kick, diving low to tip the well-placed strike round the post.

Nine minutes later Fearon got his revenge, looping a header into the top corner to level.