Rudy Funk praised everyone affiliated with his AFC Mansfield side after they concluded their league campaign with a 2-1 victory at home to Athersley Recreation.
The Bulls were able to claw their way back from a one-goal deficit to end the season on somewhat of a high – bouncing back from Wednesday’s defeat to Pontefract Collieries.
However, his side must wait to know their promotion fate. Rivals Pickering Town need a minimum of five points from their remaining three games to condemn AFC to another season of football in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
Funk said: “To finish with a total of 96 points is a great achievement and it stems from everyone involved with this great club.
“The lads have been absolutely amazing at times, but I do think we lost our nerves a little towards the end. Since November, sitting at the top of the table means everybody wants to have a good game against you and that’s just how it is.
“I can’t say that I’m disappointment but whether promotion comes our way or not, we’ll regroup and try and make AFC Mansfield proud.”
In what was a relatively strange game at the Forest Town Arena, Athersley’s Joe Singleton gave his side the lead on 27 minutes. A towering header from an in-swinging corner left Jason White no chance.
AFC searched for a route back and their talisman, Oliver Fearon, bore fruit just shy of the half-time whistle. Tussling with the visitors’ goalscorer, he latched onto a long ball and lifted it over the on-rushing ‘keeper.
Matty Plummer then turned the game on its head after hooking a bobbling ball into the top corner on 52 minutes.
Things looked relatively comfortable before White lashed out at Danny South – subsequently receiving a straight red card for violent conduct in the 54th minute.
With no substitute goalkeeper, the Bulls saw out the remainder of the match with none other than 45-goal-man Fearon between the sticks. Keeping a clean sheet and a couple of saves to accompany it, the home side held out for all three points.