A tight and tense local derby resulted in a deserved 11-5 victory for Mansfield over their high-flying neighbours Ashfield in the National League.
But Mansfield’s head coach Wayne Robinson, while pleased, was hardly doing handstands after his team’s fourth win in six games in the Midlands 3 East (North) division.
Robinson said: “Having dominated large parts of the game in terms of territory and possession, it was disappointing that we didn’t do more with it. The lads know we wasted opportunities, especially out wide.”
The stop-start match was a battle of attrition, but Mansfield did boss it for most of the time against an Ashfield side, who had won four of their opening five league matches.
They led 6-0 at half-time thanks to two penalties from the boot of man-of-the-match Regan Hubbard, but credit had to go also to the Ashfield defence, which was tenacious and committed.
The second period continued in the same vein as Mansfield enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, and they finally scored a try when Andreas Zacharia fed Zane Chiappetta, who raced 25 metres to score.
But Ashfield responded with a consolation try of their own when, on a rare journey into the hosts’ half, a long, floated pass to the wing led to their only points of the afternoon.