Stand-in coach Harry Roberts oversaw a tremendous victory away to strong Lincolnshire outfit, Sleaford, for inspired Mansfield in the National League.
Roberts, who is employed as the club’s forwards coach, took overall charge because Wayne Robinson was on enforced leave to attend to domestic duties.
So he was delighted to see the blue-and-whites triumph 27-18 to move up to sixth in the 13-team Midlands 3 East (North) division. “We put a great deal of effort into this game,” said Roberts. “I’m pleased for the lads that it went our away and we returned home with some hard-won league points.”
Adding merit to the performance was the way Mansfield recovered from a scary opening 20 minutes in which Sleaford were the only team in the running. They soon scored the first try and although John Ross Ward reduced the deficit with a penalty, the blue-and-whites spent most of the first half defending manfully.
However, they kept the score at 5-3 and really turned the tables in the second period, which opened with another Ross Ward penalty to edge them ahead. Sleaford responded with one of their own, but then Mansfield’s scrum became the dominant force and Gareth Wagstaff went over in the corner after Bobby Ogunode and Ricky Wild had combined.
The hosts pulled it back to 13-all before further tries from fly-half Ross Ward and promising youngster Kyan Johnson, plus Ross Ward conversions, put Mansfield in charge.