Outstanding defence extends Mansfield’s home run

Action from Mansfield's fine 12-7 victory at home to Belper on Saturday.
Action from Mansfield's fine 12-7 victory at home to Belper on Saturday.

On-song Mansfield made it four wins from four home games this term when beating Belper in an entertaining National League match that swung to and fro.

A tough and determined Belper side provided testing opposition, but Mansfield edged it 12-7 to stay fifth in the Midlands 3 East (North) table, only three points off second spot.

Ahead of this Saturday’s trip to Birstall, head coach Wayne Robinson said he was delighted with the consistency of his side’s home performances. “I was happy with the win,” he said. “There are still bits we need to work on in attack, but I thought our defence was outstanding.”

Most of the early pressure belonged to Belper, who came out with all guns blazing and were rewarded for their efforts with a handful of penalties. But the opening score belonged to Mansfield as they regained possession from a lineout in their own half, and Emmanuel Ogunode skipped through the visitors’ defence before offloading to Ricky Wild, who fed Zane Chiapetta for a try, which was successfully converted by Adam Rowbottom.

Belper enjoyed most of the possession and territory for the rest of the game, but the hosts’ defence held firm and helped by a dominant scrum and some tenacious tackling, they restricted the visitors to only one try, which helped to level the scores at 7-7.

Ogunode, Phil Pogmore, Andreas Zachariah and man-of-the-match Joe Ducker all contributed to the blue-and-whites’ robust wall of defence before the win was achieved with the last play of the game. A couple of phases after regaining the ball, they took full advantage of an overlap to send Zacharia down the left wing, where he forced himself into the corner for a matchwinning try. The resulting conversion was missed but, moments later, the final whistle rang around the ground.

BEFORE the match, the club staged a special service to mark the upcoming Remembrance Sunday. It featured a wonderful performance from the Mansfield branch of the Royal British Legion.