MATCH GALLERY: AFC Mansfield go top of the table with win over Bottesford Town

The Bulls completed the double over promotion rivals Bottesford Town on Saturday to go top of the table on goal difference from Hemsworth MW.

With manager Rudy Funk laid up in bed with flu assistant Micky Taylor took centre stage on a vastly important day for AFC Mansfield.

Second half goals from Sam O’Malley and Phil Buxton did the damage at one end and another professional performance from the back four and keeper Jason White recorded the home side’s tenth clean sheet of the campaign.

The first half was a scrappy affair with both sides showing a little too much respect to each other.

Danny Naylor nearly opened the scoring on the half hour mark when his low drive beat Leigh Herrick in the Bottesford goal, only to see it hit the foot of the post and bounce away to safety.

And that was about that in a half that was fought in the middle of the park with neither getting the upper hand.

The crowd would be hoping for more goalmouth action as the second half got underway.

But, just as Micky Taylor would have been weighing up a couple of changes to freshen things up, AFC Mansfield took the lead.

A corner from the right by Ryan Williams was met on the far post by Sam O’Malley whose volley from four yards left Herrick with little chance.

Unfortunately O’Malley’s day was to go downhill when 10 minutes later he was dismissed for a tussle off the ball with Matt Steeper.

Normally this would set up a nervy last 15 minutes for the home side, but The Bulls were having none of it.

Williams found Phil Buxton with a deft chip and the midfielder advanced into the box.

A tackle came in and Buxton rode it getting up off the floor to continue his run.

Another tackle came in and again Buxton had to get off the floor to retrieve the ball. With just the keeper to beat he dropped a shoulder sending Herrick one way and rounded him before firing home from seven yards.

There was one final chance on goal for AFC, Craig Mitchell doing the groundwork before giving the ball to Williams who’s clever chip found Naylor in the box. Naylor’s low drive was held by Herrick at the second attempt.

AFC Mansfield: White, Marriott, Jeffs, Allott, Timons, Naylor, Williams R, Buxton, O’Malley, Mitchell, Dudley. Subs: Ghaichem, Wilson, Sowter, Rick and Williams D.

Bottesford: Herrick, Gibbons, Short, Pembleton J, Johnson, Barwick, Steeper, Nichol, Boulton, Hutchinson, Pembleton. Subs: Bridge, Beedle, Donald, Calarman, Housham.

Referee: Mr Medhi Najefi (Soth Yorks).

Attendance: 89.

Man of the Match: Grant Allott.