AFC Mansfield come from behind to beat Lincoln

AFC Mansfield won 3-1 at Lincoln United.
AFC Mansfield won 3-1 at Lincoln United.

An inspiring performance saw AFC Mansfield come from behind to beat promotion hopefuls Lincoln United 3-1 in a New Year's Day battle full of thrills and spills.

Joe Iaciofano scored a sensational five-minute hat-trick after Andy Hutchinson had put the hosts ahead early on.

With just two minutes played, Hutchinson fired a sweet dipping volley into the bottom corner of Jason White's net to earn an early lead for the Whites.

The Bulls struggled to get going for the first 25 minutes, but Rudy Funk's side eventually kicked into gear and Iaciofano levelled from the spot after he was brought down in the Lincoln penalty area.

Only three minutes later, the Northampton Town loanee turned the game completely on its head, closing down a long ball and muscling past his defender before cutting in and dinking superbly over 'keeper Philip McGann.

Iaciofano's incredible five-minute treble was complete on 34 minutes, when Ollie Fearon squared the ball past the out-rushing McGann for his strike partner to tap home and score his tenth goal in seven games.

Brick-wall defending at the back and expert goalkeeping from White ensured the visitors' two-goal lead would remain intact in the second half, with White blocking Johnathan Williams' low effort from inside the penalty area with his legs.

The Bulls could have been out of sight with 70 minutes gone, as Iaciofano brought down a long ball before knocking it past McGann, but Phil Buxton was unable to convert and fired wide of the half-open net.

The hosts struggled to break down a stubborn AFC defence, and the Bulls held on for a second consecutive win and a first three points of 2019.

The victory sees AFC climb out of the Northern Premier League East Division relegation zone by a point, with the Bulls now within touching distance of as high as 14th in the table.