Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Mansfield Town 0 v Doncaster Rovers 1 - Friendly

Tuesday 19th July 2011, at Field Mill
Mansfield Town (0) 0
Doncaster Rovers (0) 1 (Billy Sharp 78)
Admission £10, Programme 2 in 1 issue with Notts County game
Attendance 1576 (inc. 195 Doncaster fans)

Mansfield Town
: Marriott, Sutton (O'Neill 81), Kendrick (Horne 63), Murray (Bell 85), Riley, Thompson (Pejic 70), Briscoe (Smith 65), Stevenson (Howell 52), Connor (Mitchley 79), Worthington, Meikle (Dyer 67).
Subs -
Redmond (GK), Dyer, Smith, Horne, Todd, Bell, Howell, O'Neill, Pejic, Mitchley.

Doncaster Rovers:
Sullivan, Dumbuya, Friend, Gillett, Hayter, Brown, Baxendale, Vine, McDonald, Deeney, Trialist.
- Woods (GK), Hird, Naylor, Bouherra, Spurr, Oster, Coppinger, Sharp, Quinn.
The last time this gentleman featured on THE66POW, he was the stand in assistant referee at last season's Evo-Stik Premier Division game between Retford United and Worksop Town at Cannon Park.
That night he was completely neutral, tonight he was in Mansfield to cheer on the team he's devoted almost his entire life to, Donny Rovers ... it takes all sorts.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my old mate (he's my mate and he's old) Paul Mayfield, pictured here pre-match in the Sandy Pate Bar, under the West Stand at Field Mill.
In my humble opinion, this was a much improved performance from the Stags tonight compared to last week when Notts County rolled into town looking for a bit of rough and tumble ... and finding it.
The Stags more than held their own against their illustrious Championship opponents tonight, until just after the hour when a large turnover of substitutions disrupted the pattern of play they had settled into.
If anybody was ever going to break the deadlock, it was always likely to be the prolific Rovers striker Billy Sharp ... and his inevitable strike came on 78 minutes, when he bustled his way through a couple of defenders and slotted the ball home, just inside the post.
There were lot of new names in the Mansfield squad tonight, including several débutantes, as Paul Cox really starts to stamp his mark all over the team rebuilding plans.
And they're not "All from bloody Eastwood Town", despite what some people never seem to tire of saying.
I've often said that when Louis Briscoe plays well, Mansfield play better as a team, tonight he put in a solid shift. He played so well that one of my 'Donny' supporting mates rang me during the game to ask, "Who's your number 4? He's playing well" ... The same can also be said of Adam Murray, who's performance tonight won him the plaudits as man of the match.
I felt a bit deflated after the Stags v County game, but saw the makings of quite a few reasons to be optimistic for the season ahead out there tonight ... and I'm really glad that I returned to see with my own eyes, that lessons had been learned and taken on board from Friday night's encounter.
Doncaster had some real quality players on display tonight, but The Stags were never found wanting against them ... Rovers probably shaded the last half hour of the game and just about deserved the victory, so I won't begrudge them that.
Rovers being a Championship side these days, after spending time as one of the Conference's least convincing sides for a while, when they had plummeted out of the Football League, serve as a source of inspiration for how things could be for the Stags in the future.
Things are starting to shape up, in spite of the result.
There are some big hitters in the Conference (BSP) this coming season, who are probably more likely to be title contenders than Mansfield Town, but ... you've got to have a dream, if you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?
Yes, I'm being sensible!