Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Cambridge United 1 v Mansfield Town 5 - Blue Square Premier

Tuesday 28th December 2010 - at the R Costings Abbey Stadium
Blue Square Premier
Cambridge United (0) 1
(Wilmott 66)
Mansfield Town (2) 5
(Murray 33, Smith 37, Duffy 73, Coulson OG 90, Mitchley 90+3)
Admission £14, Programme £3, Attendance 2505 (281 away fans)
Hmm, every single game I had pencilled in to watch on the 26th and 27th was postponed, but this one more than made up for all of those.
Football ... it's worth the wait sometimes :-)
The ticket said £16, but the notice on the gate said £14 ...
the latter price applied.
Welcome Duncan Russell, who was recently installed in the Stags managerial hot seat, until the end of the season at least, following a short spell in control in a caretaker capacity.
A few more results and performances like this and the Stags fans who've questioned the wisdom of his appointment might have to revise their estimation of this guy. Only time will tell.
Both teams had opportunities to take the lead before Adam Murray thumped Mansfield ahead from the edge of the box with a powerful and unstoppable shot on 33 minutes.
And with the home side still knocked out of their stride, Adam Smith surged forward and scored what must already be a contender for the best goal I've seen all season just four minutes later to put the Stags in control.
Don't just take my word for it, go to the Mansfield Town website and check out the footage that has been posted there. Sublime technique, worthy of winning any game but there was more to come after the break.
Wilmott pulled a goal back for Cambridge on 66 minutes, which under David Holdsworth (the Mansfield boss who recently moved on by 'mutual consent') would've signalled an ultra cautious defend at all costs formation being implemented and an open invitation for United to get back into the game being issued.
But Duncan Russell decided the best form of defence is to attack and the two goal cushion was soon restored.
Rob Duffy tapped home the simplest of chances when Louis Briscoe back heeled the ball into his path in the box with the home defence in disarray.
Briscoe was a thorn in Cambridge's side all afternoon and put in a great shift from start to finish.
Danny Mitchley had a say in both the late goals that capped off this fine attacking performance.
John Coulson had just been announced as the sponsors man of the match over the tannoy when he failed to get out of the way of a Mitchley cross and could only look on despairingly as he put the ball into his own net.
Then deep into stoppage time, Mitchley found himself in yards of space in the box ... the resultant action would make a great coaching DVD 'how not to man mark opposition players in dangerous positions' ... and he made no mistake.
Prior to this afternoon, Cambridge had lost only one game out of eleven, against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup ... on paper this was never going to be an easy game for Mansfield.
So credit where it's due, they arrived with a game plan of taking the game to their hosts, stuck to it and both teams got exactly what they deserved from this highly entertaining contest.
Thanks very much to Philip for driving today, I was seriously unwell over Xmas and wouldn't have fancied making this journey behind the wheel.
The ale and bacon cobs in the Cambridge United Supporters Club bar were up to their usual high standard - I unselfishly sampled their fare solely for the purpose of reporting back to you all.