AFC Mansfield manager Rudy Funk praised his side’s patience as they finally saw off Dronfield Town 2-0 with two quickfire second half goals in their NCEL Division One win on Saturday.
Funk said: “Dronfield had done their homework and came with a game plan and it worked well for the first 45.
“But we are a patient side and we believe in our ability to score. We do keep the ball well and teams wear themselves out trying to close us down, but eventually we always find a way through.”
This game was never likely to match the entertainment dished out in midweek with six goals scored in the first half in the 5-3 win at AFC Emley, and so it proved.
The first half ended goalless and there were very few chances to speak of.
The home side had their best chances in the opening 15 minutes and they all came through Craig Mitchell.
Firstly he pulled a 15 yard low drive wide of the far post on 10 minutes.
Next the striker forced a superb save out of Steven Booth on 14 minutes, the opposition keeper acrobatically turning Mitchell’s edge of the box drive over the bar.
Mitchell then hit the sidenetting a minute later after good work from Dean Rick.
Dronfield worked very hard to deny the Bulls any attacking space and the game got a little scrappy as the half wore on.
All the crowd could hope for was a little more goalmouth action in the second half – and it was just six minutes old when the home side finally took the lead.
A poor throw out by Booth found the feet of Rick who raced into the box. With Booth closing him down the striker calmly squared the ball to Mitchell to fire home from about 12 yards.
Four minutes later and the Bulls had doubled their lead.
A Ryan Williams corner was met on the far post by Grant Allott. He headed the ball back across goal and Joe Cheeseman rose above the pack to plant his header beyond the hands of Booth.
With Cheeseman and Allott in commanding form, keeper Jason White had an easy day and didn’t really have a save to make.
Further chances came AFC’s way, and on 65 minutes Williams saw his 25 yard free kick come back off the bar with Booth well beaten.
In the final minutes a trademark run from Carl Haslam should have brought a third goal, his slinking run taking him past three defenders and,with the keeper beaten, his low drive went inches past the far post.
The Bulls now turn their attentions to tonight (Wednesday) and a local derby against Teversal.
Due to the unavailability of the Forest Town Arena, the game will be played at Clipstone FC’s Worksop Van Hire Stadium.
AFC MANSFIELD: White, Marriott, Dudley, Allott, Cheeseman, Naylor, Williams (Haslam 75), Park (Buxton 56), Rick (Brewin 84), Mitchell, Ghaichem. Subs not used: Sowter, Wilson
DRONFIELD TOWN: Booth, Dickinson, Butler, H. Wilson, Hague, Darlow, Anthony, Sezarano, C. Savage (Mulgrew 74), Naylor (Bebbington 56), J. Savage (Hoyland 66). Subs not used: Morley, Massey.
REFEREE: Mehdi Najefi of South Yorkshire.
BULLS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Joe Cheeseman.