As always looking forward to reading what will be some excellent match reports later, but I think we would have taken a point before the game.
It sounded like we were very much on top in the second half and could have got all three points. Mansfield were dangerous on the break but a mixture of some good saves and a few shots blazed over the bar prevented them from taking the lead back.
I do think now that any chance we had of getting in front of Burton has slipped away be taking two points from the last six, so its all about making sure we stay in a play off place.
Some not so easy games coming up for us and as Petef said those games will be so important as to where he do finish up at the end off the season.
Our new boy seemed to grow into the game as it went on and he may just be the forward we need to get the goals we will require to win as many of the games we still have left to play.
...yep no harm done today, up there is always going to be a decent point.
It was so important to keep the unbeaten record going, confidence is all important now as we head into the last few weeks of the season. .....frustrating to listen, once we equalised you felt their was only going to be one winner although Mansfield had enough decent players to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Sounds like Marriott earnt his money in goal for them....
Good to hear that Sturrock seems to have settled in well.
As Dave says, this is probably the final nail in the coffin for Auto promotion now.....Burton's wobble was short-lived thanks to that game against Weymouths youth team 10 days or so ago ....too much to do now even if we do manage to beat them twice.
too much to do now even if we do manage to beat them twice.
Yes that is my view Justin, but as you say we keep a run going and this can only help keep the confidence high in the players.
That is going to be so important in the games ahead and if we can get some good results from those games, then we would be going into the play-offs as the form team.
We know to our cost last year that its so often the case the team with good form in the run -in up to the play-off games, are so often the ones who go up in the end.
Everything is nicely in place for us to go up this season, its still going to require a lot of hard work from our players and maybe the odd slice of luck, we have a good squad and plenty of players who can come off from the bench and have a real impact on any game.
While we need to keep our feet on the ground still, with seven games left to go still, I see not reason not to maintain real hope that we can go back to the football league, a place I have always believed we really belong.
I drove up from Mansfield to London on the A1(m) in brilliant sunshine, then hail, then torrential rain, more hail and then Grey murkiness with gale force winds. I was held up for 10-15 minutes after a big accident on the road involving a VW Golf and Ford Transit van. The Golf was missing most of the front end and there was a blood soaked white towel over the steering wheel. I might've cursed the delay further back the road but I hope everyone involved is ok.
I arrived at the ground, paid my £2.50 to park and got myself a Bovril (£1.60!!!) with a Meat and Potato pie (£2.60) after paying £16 to get in! Hyperinflation has landed in Mansfield alright.
We kicked off with a fairly orthodox formation but Dsane and Carlisle weren't given license to give us much width. We started like we did at Kettering (still on the bus) and for the first ten minutes we were being overrun everywhere. Sturrock looked energetic and tried linking up play with Sills, Dsane, Carlisle and Wroe, not much came off and then they scored. And a pretty awful goal to concede it was. One of their players made a run from the halfway line. Todd and Robertson backed off, then backed off some more and then the lad cut inside and unleashed a bobbly kind of shot towards Bevan's left, he parried the shot and it was squared back across the six yard box for Donkey Duffy to tap it in. Schoolboy defending.
Did that wake us from the Wallace Arnold slumber? Did it heck. We were extremely lucky that Bevan was alert enough to tip the ball over the bar when one of their lads had a free header a few minutes later. My mate Chris went crimson at this point and had to be calmed down by a Fruit Pastille.
We did however finally wake up after about 25 minutes and Todd headed straight at the keeper Marriott from 6 yards after an excellent Nicholson free kick. Sturrock twisted and turned and forced Marriott to tip a 25 yard dipping effort onto the bar. The ref and the lino missed it completely and the dishonest Marriott kept quiet and a goal kick was awarded. What kind of goalkeeper doesn't admit they made a good save?
The 2nd half was a much tighter affair. Wroe and Hargreaves started to get a much better grip in midfield and Wroe in particular played a couple of fantastic balls through that deserved a better reward. Dsane missed a decent chance after Wroe split the defence with an excellent pass, Carlisle squared it, Sills couldn't quite get there and Dsane blasted it over. He did force Marriott into a good save from a curling effort.
And then came the goal. A ball got played over the top, Sturrock beat the offside trap and chipped the ball over the keeper into the net. A good calm accomplished finish. I thought he had a very good debut. Stevens came off for the injured Dsane and looked bright.
I think that a draw was probably a decent result and a fair one at that. I think we looked more likely to score in the 2nd half but they had a couple of decent chances as well. There were a few heartstopping dangerous crosses and an almighty scramble after a corner. The weather played havoc at times especially in the first half.
Just got back from a long and slightly disappointing day, but after having nearly 4 hours to mull over today’s game I thought I would get it all down now whilst it’s fresh in my mind.
The journey up was strange, bright sunshine all the way to Birmingham and then the North/South arctic divide saw the sun disappear and the temperature plummet. At least after last week I knew it was coming.
The ground is very nice, well I was impressed anyway. Not to dissimilar to Oxfords in respect to only having 3 stands. The only problem is that it is built on the side of an exposed hill, and the cold wind that whistled in showed no mercy, to anyone. With the ‘missing’ stand on the side that the wind was coming from it meant that conditions were far from ideal. Numb to the bone after 10 minutes, it really needed an impressive game to warm the cockles, sadly that did not happen.
Team selection was pretty much as I expected as I mentioned earlier in the day that I thought Sturrock would start. The only surprise for me was on the bench, with Christie rather than Green. We looked to line up 4-4-2, with Sturrock replacing Benyon up front.
I think we won the toss and elected to kick into wind for the first half. The only problem was that it appeared that BOTH teams were kicking into the wind. The corner flags indicated one direction yet the ball was being held up in the other direction, very strange and certainly became the most important influence on the game.
Without doubt the worst 20/30 minutes I have seen from us since? I can’t even remember, worse than Kettering. Yes the conditions were terrible, but we were worse. We were disorganised, gave the ball away constantly, defended poorly and weren’t even second best.
Mansfield could have half a dozen in that first half hour, only some poor finishing, a couple of poor crosses and a great Bevan save kept us in the game. Also, there were a worrying amount of free headers in the box during this period.
Then out of nothing, the ball pumped up field and Sturrock unleashes a half volley from fully 30 yards that dips late and hits the bar. Magical shot and although against the run of play, deserved a goal. That and a weak Chris Todd header from 5 yards with the keeper static, were our ONLY 2 attempts in the first half and just about our only 2 ventures into their half.
Their goal was always coming. A mistake from someone on the right left one of their players clear he hit a nice shot that Bevan did well to save, but the rebound found an unmarked Mansfield player who crossed it back across the goal where two more unmarked Mansfield players were queuing up to pass it into an empty net. At this point you did fear for a bit of a drubbing and half time couldn’t come quick enough.
Second half we started brightly enough, an early chance for Todd again who could have, and perhaps should have, done better, followed by chances for Sturrock, sills and Dsane. By now Sturock and Sills had formed an impressive understanding. With BOTH capable of going for, and winning, the long ball forward. Sturrock was getting into the game more and more as it wore on. Mansfield were still having as many chances as us, but then things changed around the hour mark with an absolute peach of a goal from Sturrock. A through ball by Hargreaves found Sturrock in space slightly to the right and with the keeper advancing towards him, sturrock placed a delightful chip over him into the net.
This changed the game from us being completely on the back foot to now looking the more likely to go on and win it, and win it we might had Dsane converted 1 of his 2 chances or Robertson his chance and Sills had a glorious header well saved, whilst Sturrock had a few half chances. Mansfield were not without their own chances and a good save from Bevan and some last ditch defending from us meant that it finished all square.
I thought the referee had a good game, don’t remember any mistakes? And not sure there was any “You don’t know what your doing” from either sets of supporters. More like him would be good.
Ryan Williams had a great game for them. How on earth is he still plying his trade in this division? He looked head and shoulders above everyone else (actually is it his lack of height that is stopping him from playing in League 1?). Everytime he got the ball, and Dsane let him have half the pitch, the Mansfield fans would gasp in anticipation and he rarely let them down. He was double marked at times but still lead us a merry dance. Let down by a couple of wayward crosses and the inability to finish off from 18 yards when beating 3 men meant that we weren’t looking down at a heavy defeat. Why didn’t we mange to get him to sign for us when there was talk about it when he left Weymouth, what an asset to the team he would have been.
I would be interested to hear whether others thought we deserved a draw??? To be honest I am not sure either way. I would imagine they had a lot more shots on goal than us, but you just felt that after we scored we might go on a nick another.
The crowd was announced at around 2400 and something with 241 from us. A good turnout really.
The warmest person in the ground had to be Steve Adams. Did anyone else notice that he ‘warmed up’ for the WHOLE game. At one point he went to sit down, but the management team sent him back out. I couldn’t work out whether he was used as a warning to the players on the pitch or he had BO.
Bevan; Good game, made 2 or 3 vital saves and so commanding in the box. The amount of crosses he manages to intercept is unbelievable. In Bevan we have a keeper who we can be confident with. His contribution to our league position should not be underestimated, today he ran Sturrock close for my Man of the Match.
Nicholson; Made a few mistakes, gave away possession more than usual but also made a couple of important interceptions. His dead ball delivery and throw ins were much better than Tuesday night, particularly bearing in mind the windy conditions.
Robertson; Williams tore him apart just about every time, although Dsane didn’t help his cause by not covering that right hand side properly. Whilst its unlikely he will have to defend against a player of Williams quality again this season, he is not a right back. We NEED Mansell back as soon as possible and possibly move Robertson back inside with Todd. Had a chance in the last minute with a looping header back across goal but it just went over.
Todd; Good game, won just about all of the headers he challenged for. Strong in the tackle and but for 2 weak finishes would have a couple of goals today. He is getting better and stronger y the game, great to have him back, he just needs a decent partner right now.
Hodges; Chosen the wrong time to lose a bit of form. Gave the ball away to much, didn’t win enough and looked a bit slow. IMO he hasn’t played well in the last 3 games, which is a shame really as before that he looked so solid. Might be time to sit him on the bench for a game and give a start to Ellis or move Robertson in from Right Back.
Carlisle; Funny game really looked decent and not so good in equal measures.
Dsane; Woeful. Where to start? I would NEVER condone the way he gets treated by the rogues in the crowd, but it is easy to see why he gets the stick he does. Hopelessly out of position for most of the game, doesn’t win 70-30 balls let alone 50-50 balls. Allowed Williams way to much time and space. Could have won the game for us after a Sturrock shot had been saved by their keeper, leaving Roscoe a relatively simple (compared to his wonder strike on Tuesday) shot from 6 yards with a virtual empty net. It ended up in Row Z. Saying that he did have one shot on target that produced a great save from Marriot. What we would give to have Williams on that left hand side of our midfield.
Hargreaves; He looked a bit tired and jaded? He wasn’t his usual snappy, aggressive self, lacked a bit of bite. Made little impact on the game, hardly surprising in the first half as the ball went over the midfield from both directions.
Wroe; With the ball missing out the midfield in the first half, it was difficult for a playmaker like Wroe to get into the game and he didn’t really untillater in the second half. I can’t remember that many telling passes from him, but can’t remember any mistakes either.
Sills; Another who looked a bit jaded, which is understandable as he looked like he hadn’t fully recovered from his illness. However, the really pleasing thing for me was the way he linked up with Sturrock. They already look the ideal partnership to get us goals and into the play-offs. Had a superb header (ala Northwich) tipped around the post, from a fantastic whipped in cross from Sturrock. I would be VERY surprised if these two don’t start every game between now and promotion.
Sturrock; Unquestionably my Man of the match, great acquisition. Took 10 minutes to settle in and then treated us to a master class of how to play centre forward. Came back to look for the short ball, went long for the flick-ons when required, ran the channels and won his fair share of headers. Scored a Fabulous goal, latching onto a Hargreaves through ball, saw the keeper advance towards him and lobbed him from 25/30 yards, quality. Also hit the bar with a dipping shot in the first half. Wasn’t afraid to shoot, but also got some telling crosses in. Made a nuisance of himself all afternoon. For the first time this season the 2 centre forwards actually looked like they could play together. Sturrock looks like he should be playing way above this league. I hope I haven’t over hyped him too much as I’m not sure if he is as good as I said or that he just shone today because of so many average, at best, performances from other players.
Stevens: got about 10 minutes at the end. Had a few good runs, even won a header, but not long enough to have any influence on the game.
For me it was slightly disappointing because I felt that only 3 of the players performed well enough today; Bevan, Todd & Sturrock. It wasn’t good enough in the first half and although a massive improvement in the second half, it was barely acceptable. Excuses can rightly be made about the weather conditions but we can do without so many players having a bad day at the office at the same time.
That said there were encouraging signs up front and when Mansell is back I would expect us to tighten up at the back again.
Whilst there were many negatives today, there were also a couple of positives and those positives outweighed the negatives in regards to the rest of the season. Automatic promotion may now be gone but I certainly expect us to comfortably make the play offs.
Post by ohtobeatplainmoor on Mar 29, 2009 9:29:11 GMT
Great reports and photos. 3 sides of the ground have change (well, one has been boarded-up) since my last visit there!! I do remember tramping-up the hill from the carpark and thinking that it was exposed.
Tufc01, like many others I have seen Ryan Williams tear us apart (I think Chesterfield, Hull, Bristol Rovers and Weymouth) and would have loved to have seen him sign for us. It was going to be unlikely though as his family live back up in the midlands and he is a "Mansfield lad". He is a joy to watch.
I'm encouraged by the result yesterday - particularly by the positives of Sturrock's play with Sills. Hopefully that bodes well for the remainder of the season.