NCEL: Armthorpe Welfare precariously placed after fourth straight defeat

Armthorpes Darren Mansaram shields the ball during Saturdays defeat to AFC Mansfield.
Armthorpes Darren Mansaram shields the ball during Saturdays defeat to AFC Mansfield.

Relegation-threatened Armthorpe Welfare slipped to a fourth straight defeat following a narrow 2-1 reversal at big spending AFC Mansfield.

Michael Carmody’s side have nine Premier Division games left to play and hold a three-point cushion over the bottom three.

However, the bottom three - Parkgate, Retford United and rock Barton Town Old Boys - have each played two games less. Armthorpe go to Barton Town next month followed by a home clash against Parkgate at the beginning of April.

Carmody has not been helped by the loss of key players Tom McLaughlin, Craig Aspinall and James Walker through injury. Nevertheless they put in a brave display at Mansfield which at least bodes well for the run-in.

Indeed Welfare might have scored twice before the hosts edged in front just before the break.

Liam Radford chased a through ball down inside the opening few minutes but the Mansfield keeper Jason White reacted quickly.

Armthorpe had an even better chance on 25 minutes when Darren Mansaram won the ball on the left before cutting inside and squaring to the unmarked Radford who scuffed his shot wide from just inside the area.

The home side rattled the crossbar just before the half hour mark and then Adam Stevens made a fine save to keep out Ollie Fearon’s glancing header.

However, Fearon was not to be denied as he edged the hosts in front on 34 minutes, beating Stevens to a high ball to head home.

Chris Gowen tested the Mansfield keeper with a low angled shot just after the break, while at the other end Stevens had to block a low drive with his legs.

The home side though increased the lead on 69 minutes when the Welfare defence only half cleared a free-kick, leaving Matt Plummer to pick up the pieces and slam the ball home from around 15 yards.

Armthorpe did not let their heads drop and kept plugging away, deservedly pulling one back with 13 minutes remaining.

Substitute Louis Penty made an immediate impact with a perfectly weighted pass to send Radford clear who coolly placed a shot wide of the keeper from the edge of the box.

Despite pushing forward in the latter stages Welfare could not find an equaliser.

Armthorpe are without a game this weekend. Their next outing is a home clash against Staveley Miners Welfare on February 18.

Rossington Main’s trip to Westella & Willerby was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

The net result is a mini-break for Chris Glarvey’s side, with the the next scheduled match at Eccleshill United not until a week on Saturday.

Maltby Main maintained their recent improvement with a resounding 5-2 home win against Clipstone to make it four wins and just one defeat in the last six.