AFC Mansfield extended their winning run to eight matches as they moved into the Central Midlands League Challenge Cup quarter-finals at the expense of Linby Colliery with a 2-1 win.
Leading goalscorer Dean Rick scored both goals, one in each half, while Kyle McDermott scored for the visitors on the stroke of half-time to send the teams in level.
In truth, although the scoreline suggests a close game it really wasn’t.
Had the home side taken some of their numerous chances in front of goal and had two further goals from Rick not been ruled out for offside, the win would have looked a lot more convincing.
The first real chance in the game didn’t come until the 19th minute when Phil Buxton saw his effort blocked on the line after good work down the left from Rick and Mark Carter.
It was Rick who opened the scoring on 29 minutes with a low drive from the edge of the box from a Joe Naylor through ball.
Watkinson did well to deny Rick with his legs a minute later and on 34 minutes Rick rounded the keeper to put the ball in the back of the net only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.
The Bulls sat back for the final 10 minutes of the half and allowed Linby time and space and the enevitable happened just seconds before the half-time whistle, the ball played to Kyle McDermott who fired home from inside the box to level the scores.
Ten minutes into the restart and Craig Cantrell had his effort denied by the keeper’s legs, Rick’s follow-up was them scrambled off the line by Tom Coupe.
Danny Naylor saw his 20 yard effort zip past the post on 64 minutes before it all went terribly wrong for Linby on 68 minutes.
Matt Peberday made a clumsy tackle on Joe Naylor inside the box and the referee signalled a penalty kick.
Peberday received a yellow card for the tackle but was shown a red after his vocal disagreement with the decision.
Rick then took the opportunity to collect his 29th goal of the season by firing the spot kick past Watkinson.
Rick again found the net on 75 minutes and once again was denied by the flag.
Rick saw another effort cleared off the line on 88 minutes, then Declan Brewin picked up the loose ball and got to the line and delivered a perfect cross to the back post where Phil Buxton missed an open net from a couple of yards.
The Bulls return to league action on Saturday, when they make the short journey to Hall Road Corner to take on Glapwell.
AFC MANSFIELD: Sheppard, Wilson (McCann 74), Meehan, Draper, Holmes, D. Naylor, Cantrell, Buxton, Rick, J. Naylor, Carter (Brewin 81). Subs not used: Whitehead, Fletcher, McGurk.
LINBY COLLIERY: Watkinson, Frizelle, Coupe, Winfield, Peberday, Henshaw, Mitchell, Fox, Murphy (Butler 76), McDermott (Niblett 80), Davies (Murray 83). Subs not used: Slawson, Marlow.
REFEREE: Mark Senior.
BULLS MAN OF THE MATCH: Sam Holmes.
In Central Midlands League North Division action, Thoresby CW beat Bentley Colliery 3-1, but Ollerton were thumped 7-0 at Phoenix Sports & Social.
In the South Division, title-chasing South Normanton Athletic surprisingly lost 4-2 at home to Real United.