Runaway leaders Bulls on course for success fightback again to stretch

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Substitute Cameron Dear was AFC Mansfield’s match-winning hero for a second successive week as he completed their second-half comeback in a 2-1 victory over Barton Town at the Forest Town Arena.

Dear, who had struck a 93rd-minute winner the previous weekend against Hemsworth Miners’ Welfare, claimed the vital goal in the 71st minute.

Philip Buxton held the ball up for Dear on the counter attack and he skipped round the last defender and slotted in his sixth goal of the campaign.

The Bulls had levelled just five minutes earlier. Barton defender Fraizer Papprill directed the ball backwards and, much to the delight of AFC Mansfield, into his own goal from a lofted free-kick into the penalty area.

The hosts pressured and harried Barton from the outset but it was debutant Ben Flowerdew who broke the deadlock on 26 minutes for the visitors.

After being set-up by teammate Callum Terrell, he struck the ball into the top corner, leaving Jason White helpless.

Manager Rudy Funk was also hit with an injury blow midway through the first-half as in-form striker Nick Guest was stretchered off.

This was not the first time that Funk’s side had fallen victim to an early setback, but where they would previously only be rescuing a point that has now turned into three.

Their fight, determination and resilience could easily see the Bulls over the line by April as they extended their lead at the summit of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division to 11 points.