Mansfield see off home fightback to ease to win at East Retford
Mansfield saw off a home fightback to cruise to a deserved 39-13 victory at East Retford on Saturday, reports Duncan Wells.
Eight minutes into a game played at a frantic pace, Mansfield won a line-out on the Retford 22 line and set up a driving maul.
The ball was distributed along the backline at speed with a try finally being scored by Connor Taylor, duly converted by John Ross-Ward.
Retford’s restart led to a penalty for a tackler not releasing.
From this Mansfield swiftly kicked to touch for another line-out.
Quickly taken, Mansfield caught Retford off guard and Ross-Ward this time sailed under the posts to score and went on to convert.
Retford’s pursuant restart took play to Mansfield’s 22 line.
The ball swung to the right then a quick change of direction and a 40m sprint, again by Connor Taylor, only to be tackled 5m short of the try line.
Retford cleared their lines, taking play back into Mansfield’s half.
But a penalty was awarded to Mansfield for a Retford player going in off his feet, which led to John Ross-Ward calling for a shot at the posts.
Ross-Ward converted the penalty to make the score a healthy 17-0 after 22 minutes.
However, on 29 minutes missed tackles allowed Retford to score an unconverted try.
Retford got the second half underway and immediately put Mansfield under pressure.
Playing deep in Mansfield’s 22 they looked a different side and would have quickly scored but for a fantastic tackle and turnover by young Harry Brough.
He took play back up to the halfway line only to be stopped by a ferocious Retford tackle.
Mansfield then made some substitutions with Ian Coleman and Liam Grant replaced by Mark Wallace and debutant Joshua Floyd.
The game quietened down, and the pace slowed.
Retford were next to score a converted try on 50-minute mark.
Mansfield then make a further substitution with Nathan Hill replaced by Adam Rowbottom.
An unfortunate injury to a Retford player stopped play for 10 minutes. Then on 58 minutes Mansfield player Lee Dentith was issued a yellow card for a high tackle.
Retford were now having all the play, camped in Mansfield’s 22, which led to a converted penalty on the edge of the 22 on the hour which brought them just four points adrift with all to play for.
Taken as a wake-up call, Mansfield restarted with more zest and three minutes later Retford also had a booking with 10 minutes in the bin and a penalty opportunity for Mansfield.
Ross-Ward again stepped up to the plate to kick for goal, on this occasion unfortunately nudging it wide.
The game restarted with a Retford 22m drop out. This led to another high tackle by Retford in which Ross-Ward successfully kicked to goal, making the score 20-13 in the 66th minute.
The last 14 minutes were all Mansfield’s.
Retford’s restart was kicked short of the 10m line, but quick-thinking Richard Lindsay played the ball, catching Retford off guard once more.
He offloaded to sub Mark Wallace who ran 30m to score, though the conversion was missed.
Two more beautiful tries were added before the end of the game.
Young scrum half Reece Flowers-Lane put one down under the posts with a brilliant solo effort and Zac Walters powered over, both converted by Ross-Ward.
This weekend Mansfield travel to Bourne to play Round One of the Midlands Senior Vase Competition. You can follow the action on Twitter @Mansfieldrugby