NCEL: Knaresborough Town boss Paul Stansfield rues lengthy wait

Knaresborough captain Will Lenehan holds off a tackle (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)
Knaresborough captain Will Lenehan holds off a tackle (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)

Knaresborough Town boss Paul Stansfield has lamented a “nightmare” 10-day break which is halting his side’s unbeaten momentum.

Knaresborough came from behind to make it an impressive seven league games without loss on Saturday after securing a 1-1 draw at league leaders AFC Mansfield.

But the issue for Stansfield, however, was the scheduled gap the club now faces before playing third-place Bottesford at home on Tuesday night.

It is the second time in the space of a month that Boro have been forced to miss playing on a Saturday afternoon, with other teams still in cup action elsewhere.

Stansfield said: “Bottesford have been a good team for a while now but we’ve got a nightmare 10 day gap until we play them.

“It doesn’t come at a good time because we want to keep the momentum going.

Gary Collier celebrates scoring for Knaresborough (Photos: Craig Dinsdale)

Gary Collier celebrates scoring for Knaresborough (Photos: Craig Dinsdale)

“It’s important to keep ticking over so we’ll play a practice match on the weekend and train plenty to keep the everyone match fit.”

The gap comes after a good away point at AFC Mansfield.

Will Lenehan’s seventh minute header nearly provided Stansfield’s Town side with the perfect start against the table toppers but it was headed off his own line by a Mansfield defender.

It was the home outfit who took the lead in the 17th minute when a corner from the right was headed home by Chris Timons.

Will Lenehan heads goalwards

Will Lenehan heads goalwards

AFC Mansfield were on top at this stage and Mark Dudley’s free kick went over the bar and Phil Buxton shot wide.

“The first half they edged but in the second half I thought we dominated and looked more likely to win the game” said Stansfield.

A penalty for Town in the second half looked like the perfect route back into the game but Graham Whithead’s spot-kick was saved by the legs of the Mansfield keeper.

Town rallied though and got the equaliser in the 79th minute thanks to Gary Collier’s fierce drive which left Jason White in the Mansfield goal with no chance.

A late George Eustance shot, after he broke free of the back line, was tipped wide by White as Knaresborough kept pressing for a greater return but had to settle for a point.

Stansfield added: “We missed a penalty in the second half and could have easily felt sorry for ourselves but we stuck at it and got the goal we deserved.

“We’ve got a very resilient bunch of lads.

“It was a good result against a strong side who have one of the highest budgets in the division.”

The point left Knaresborough in eighth place after their opening 15 matches, but Stansfield was confident of pushing towards the top five play-off places over the winter period.

The boss added: “The run we’re on now is giving the team plenty of confidence and providing them with the belief that we can compete with anyone in this league.

“The target for the season would be to try and reach the play-offs and with the form we’re in I don’t see why we can’t get there.”