Coach more cautious than happy after Mansfield’s third win on bounce

Sam Holmes in action for Mansfield during their victory over Sleaford.
Sam Holmes in action for Mansfield during their victory over Sleaford.

Head coach Wayne Robinson sounded a note of caution, even though his Mansfield side strode their third win on the bounce in the Midlands 3 East (North) division of the National League.

Mansfield beat struggling Sleaford 23-8 to move up to fifth in the table, but only in the final ten minutes did they really make their superiority count.

Robinson said: “There is more work to be done. I thought we lost concentration for large parts of the game.

“Credit to Sleaford, who were relentless. We need to react better.”

Mansfield dominated the first quarter and a mazy run by man-of-the-match Zane Chiappetta earned an early penalty that John Ross Ward slotted.

Not long afterwards, full-back Adam Rowbottom jinked through the visitors’ defence for the game’s first try that Ward converted to make it 10-0.

However, Sleaford hit back so well that the next hour or so belonged to them. Wave after wave of attack battered the home defence numerous times, but all the scoreboard showed for their efforts was a successful kick at the posts to make it 10-3 at the interval.

The visitors exerted more constant pressure in the second half and scored their first try while Mansfield were down to 14 men because of a yellow card. The conversion was missed, leaving the blue-and-whites clinging to a 10-8 advantage.

As drizzle started to fall, errors crept in because the ball became slippery. The hosts seemed to cope better and finally managed to link together successive phases of play and earn a series of penalties.

One of those penalties saw a lineout drive set up, from which Nathan Hill received the ball, sidestepped an opponent and darted over the line for a crucial try that Ward converted to give Mansfield breathing space at 17-8.

More pressure resulted in two more successful attempts at goal to complete the home team’s win over tenacious opposition.

This week, a break in league action sees Mansfield travel to Warwickshire to play Berkswell and Balsall in the RFU Intermediate Cup.