Hall Road Rangers vs AFC Mansfield
Tuesday September 5
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
By Ollie Harsley
Hall Road Rangers will face their toughest test of the season so far when AFC Mansfield are the visitors to Haworth Park tonight.
The Bulls arrive on the back of a five game unbeaten run in all competitions, a run that stretches all the way back to the opening game of the season.
Hall Road will be looking for revenge after they lost 2-1 with the last kick of that game at The Forest Town Arena, when the sides previously met in an FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round match.
Hall Road have never beaten AFC Mansfield in seven attempts, but they could break that duck with a win tonight.
Rangers will receive a huge boost as Josh Batty, who scored in that August cup-tie, is back in contention as his three match ban ended at the weekend.
They will also be very confident going into this game after securing back to back league victories over Harrogate Railway Athletic and Barton Town Old Boys, and unbeaten themselves in four matches.
That confidence will be tested though by this free scoring AFC Mansfield side who haven’t hesitated in tearing their previous opponents defences apart.
Hall Road’s defensive rearguard will certainly have to be on the ball at all times.
The main goal-scoring threat, will again come from winger Ollie Fearon who already has four league goals to his name so he is someone to keep quiet from a Hall Road point of view, whilst Nick Guest and Jimmy Ghaichem are also likely to be lively.
They’re a couple of familiar names in the AFC Mansfield side that are recognisable from their time with North Ferriby United, another non league side in the local area.
The Bulls’ captain Matt Wilson had a successful spell at Church Lane whilst Jonathan D’Laryea is another who played in North Ferriby colours.
Another AFC Mansfield player, Matty Plummer, started his career at Hull City before moving onto Scarborough Athletic and a spell with Hull United.
Both sides are on unbeaten runs coming into this match so it should be a good spectacle.
Both managers, Dave Ricardo and Rudy Funk, will want their teams to build on their good run of form and keep a good sense of positivity around their respective camps.
Hall Road have the advantage of being at home and they hope a good crowd can cheer them on at Haworth Park but it will be down to the players to entertain them and come out with a positive result in the first of a home game triple-header.