AFC Mansfield lose ground in title race after AFC Emley draw

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Title-chasing AFC Mansfield drew 1-1 at fellow high-fliers AFC Emley as both sides lost ground on the top.

The draw allowed Pontefract Colliers to stretch their lead at the top and leaves AFC four points behind the leaders having played a game more.

The Bulls were without Ryan Williams who was starting a 3 match ban and top scorer Dean Rick due to work commitments.

Emley, who were playing down the slope, took the lead after just nine minutes when a half cleared ball fell to Max Leonard 20 yards out, who beat an outstretched Jason White.

Craig Mitchell had a chance to get The Bulls level on 15 minutes but fired his effort high over the bar.

White was in action on 27 minutes as he turned Leonard’s 15 yard effort around the post.

The last chance of a fairly even first half fell to Tommy Hannigan who’s volley from the edge of the box looped just over the bar.

With the advantage reversed AFC Mansfield began to pile on the pressure in the second half and it was only going to be a matter of time before they scored.

On 57 minutes a Jimmy Ghaichem cross found Mark Ward on the back post, who turned his man only to see his goal bound effort turned around the post by Sam Jerome.

The equaliser came on 63 minutes after a short back pass was pounced on by Craig Mitchell and he drilled the ball past the stranded Adam Lawlor from 12 yards.

Mitchell had the ball in the back of the net 10 minutes later, but the goal was chalked off for an infringement back on the half-way line.

Declan Brewin was sent clear by Mitchel on 75 minutes and, with just the keeper to beat, he fired over from the edge of the box.

It really was all AFC Mansfield now and cross after cross were delivered into the home box.

Ash Kitchen’s long throw skill was also utilised and the Emley defence took a pounding.

But, a combination of brave goalkeeping from Lawlor and some superb defending from captain Paul Sykes kept The Bulls at bay.

Glyn Cotton thought he had made the break through on 78 minutes as he was went clear by Brewin, but his low drive was superbly forced around the post by Lawlor.

Joe Naylor fired wide on 80 minutes from another corner that was half cleared.

The referee found more added minutes than were comfortable for the home side but they held on and took a share of the points.

AFC Emley: Lawlor, Ingham, Starkey, Leech, Jerome S, Sykes (C), Townend, Leonard, Kenworthy (Flynn 74), Tunnacliffe (Podmore 74), Jerome R.  Subs not used: Brook & Brown.

AFC Mansfield: White, Hannigan (Wilson 45), Dudley, Kitchen, Timons (C), Naylor J, Naylor D, Cotton (Buxton 83), Ward (Brewin 74), Mitchell, Ghaichem. Subs not used: Whitman & Vilums.

Referee: Mr Ian Thornton (west Yorkshire).

Assistants: Mr Paul Saunders (Sth Yorks.) & Mr Tony Clubb (Sth Yorks.)

Man of the Match: Craig Mitchell.

Attendance: 150.