Under the new management of Paul Rockley, and with a host of new faces joining the club recently, the Bulls sensed an opportunity and took the game to the Greens in a first 20 minutes that saw Akeel Francis dismissed for a tackle – but not before Brontae Wint had put the home side ahead when he was on hand to slot home after Liam Flitton’s initial save from Mohammed Barre.
The Greens responded well on a challenging surface and were level just after the half hour mark when Mitch Griffiths crossed for Ryan Rushen who took a touch and calmly slotted the ball past Mitch Leivers in the Mansfield net.
The game ebbed and flowed for much of the second half before good work on the break saw the Bulls steal the points with Kamani Wilson on hand to tap into an empty net after Flitton had once again been left exposed after making an initial save.
And Ward, who resorted to playing himself up front in the closing stages with the score at 1-1 in search of a winner, was left lamenting the defeat after the game.
He said: “I don’t think it’s about them [AFC Mansfield] today. It’s about us. I thought we were poor and got exactly what we deserved out the game.
“We’ve not learned lessons about playing football in bad areas when we know it won’t happen. We tried to play cute and tidy stuff in the middle of the pitch where there’s no grass so it was never going to happen.
“It was 1-1 and it was always going to be 1-1 if we didn’t do anything. But 1-1’s a loss here. With our current momentum and what we’re trying to do a draw isn’t good enough so I’d rather have tried to go for the three points and that was on me, that was my decision.”
Ward vowed to bounce back quickly and promised his charges a challenging week in training this coming week.
“I’m looking forward to training because training is going to be horrible. These lads are going to have to appreciate how easy they’ve had it. We get all the plaudits when we are doing well but today was not good enough and they’ll find out about that on Wednesday.”
The Greens will now look to bounce back quickly with UCL Knockout Cup progression on the line when they visit Rothwell Corinthians on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.