AFC Mansfield pulled off another FA Cup shock on Saturday (September 17) as they beat Coalville Town on their own patch, despite the home side being two levels higher then AFC on the non-league pyramid.
That pyramid seemingly means nothing to plucky AFC, who beat another side two levels above them in the last round in the form of Stratford Town.
This 2nd Qualifying Round took time to get going. A tepid first half saw little chances, with both sides cancelling each other out.
But after the break the tie exploded, and things boiled over. Coalville’s Liam Walshe was sent off for kicking out at an AFC player having seemingly been stamped on. There was no caution for the AFC player, much to the annoyance of the home bench.
Annoyance turned to frustration for Town as they dominated play but could not find the net, the post denying them their best opportunity.
As the game became an end-to-end blood and guts cup tie, AFC’s Gary Bradshaw escaped the defence and latched onto a looped ball before finishing neatly on the volley.
Knowing that a major giant killing was on the cards, even at this level, the bench exploded in jubilation. It was stark contrast to Town’s bench as they looked on bemused as a second Town man, Danny Jenno, received his marching orders for having words with the ref.
With only 9 men, Town pushed for an equaliser. Five minutes of added time was announced but despite balls pinging into the box and keeper and captain Sean Bowles coming close to getting a touch to a knock down from a corner, AFC held firm until the final whistle.
Again players and coaching staff – and a small band of travelling supporters – were ecstatic. They’d done it again.
They’re will have been dancing in the streets of Forest Town on Saturday night, and rightly so.
- AFC host Stamford AFC of the Northern premier League in the 3rd Qualifying Round next month.
When the small Leicestershire village of Ravenstone could no longer handle a successful and ever-growing football club, something had to be done.
The decision was to relocate Ravenstone Miners Athletic to Coalville in 1995, and the club adopted the new name of Coalville FC and Owen Street became their new home.
The ground is accessed by a dusty dirt track, and there’s a decent sized car park for those driving. For those relying on public transport, well Coalville is not the easiest place to visit. A train to Loughborough and a bus ride is your best bet.
The ground is accessed by just two turnstiles. More than enough considering the average attendances are one of lowest in their league (the Evo-Stik Premier Division by the way).
The turnstiles open out onto a spacious area with the club shop (cabin) to your left and what appears to be a storage cabin to your right. Inside there was a CTFC drum. But that’s where it stayed on my visit. Continue right and you pass the snack hut which serves the usual fodder for very reasonable prices plus faggots, not something you see every week on a footy club’s menu.
Further on is Jack’s Bar, a second floor bar with a pool table in the centre – making space tight – and two TVs showing Sky Sports.
Go past that and you get to the ‘coffee shop’, a tin cabin with further snacks and warm drinks. Next to this is a lively stand packed with home fans.
You’re able to walk the whole way around the ground, passing another stand on the far side of the pitch. Behind the east goal is another lively little stand; behind the west stand is woodland. Netting prevents balls getting lost in the greenery.
It’s a quaint, well set out ground with a lot of character and made for an enjoyable afternoon.
The team sheet
Things begin to get a little spicy…
AFC celebrate a fine victory