Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Wrexham 1 v Mansfield Town 3 - BSBP

Tuesday 27th September 2011, at the Racecourse Ground
Blue Square Bet Premier

Wrexham (0) 1
Lee Fowler 64
Mansfield Town (1) 3
Danny Wright 41 OG, Matt Green 66 pen, Paul Connor 90 (+5)

Admission £17, Programme £3, Attendance 3,478
Maxwell, Obeng, Ashton (Morrell 90), Creighton, Harris, Fowler, Keates, Knight - Percival (sent off), Wright, Speight (Tolley 69), Pogba (Cieslewicz 62)
Unused subs - Maybei, Little
Mansfield Town
Marriott, Naylor (sent off), O'Neill, Sutton, Futcher, Worthington (Bolland 75), Murray, Todd, Howell, Green (Connor 82), Dyer
Unused subs - Redmond, Riley, Meikle

In my absence on Saturday, the Stags had been on the wrong end of a three nil defeat at home to Kidderminster Harriers ... it pays not to underestimate anybody in this division.
Wrexham's manager Dean Saunders has recently left the Racecourse Ground to take over the reigns at Doncaster Rovers.
Senior Wrexham player Andy Morrell (ironically, he is from Doncaster) is the interim caretaker boss for the North Wales side ... his first game in charge saw the Reds pick up three points with an impressive 3-1 win away to Grimsby Town.
Mansfield Town and Wrexham were relegated together from the Football League at the end of the 2007-08 season and both have been beset with a mountain of off field problems for more years than most other clubs would've endured, but thankfully they have survived ... just and by the skin of their teeth at times, but they're still here never the less ... consequently there is a lot of mutual respect between the fans, which culminated in a joint protest attended by supporters of both clubs at a recent game.
Not that this had any influence on the doormen at the Turf's decision not to allow any more away fans into the pub once four of us were already in there.
It's just as well everything was amicable then ... because some of their older, time served faces, were bloody huge to say the least.
Today had been a bit of a disaster for me, but it ended on a high note thanks to the result of tonight's game ... and more importantly, the 'bouncebackability' of Paul Cox's side after Saturday's reversal.
On my way to work this morning I'd been in quite a lot of pain, but hey ho, I have an appointment at the hospital to sort out that problem tomorrow morning, so it was grin and bear it time. Alas, the tiny but stubborn kidney stones decided they were going to make a bid for freedom instead of waiting for a surgeon to disintegrate and ... I'll spare you the details, but nature took its course and I made a rather undignified exit from work not long after my shift had started.
It was more of a severe discomfort than actual pain, but it's a very tiring experience ... so I drank loads of water and went to bed to try and sleep it off.
By the afternoon I was still very lethargic, but just about up to navigating while my friend drove, so at around 3.15pm we were on our way, no hold ups, no wrong turnings (there's a first time for everything) and we were stuffing our faces in the Turf before 5.45pm
Once inside the ground, a woman from Mansfield commented on how quiet, subdued, distant and reserved I was.
Apparently that is out of character for me, or so I am told.
Thankfully the remainder of the Stags away support were kicking up a hell of a racket and along with the always vocal Wrexham fans they created a great atmosphere.
3,478 is a great attendance for a BSBP game, it's just a shame it was in midweek and more than the 150 or so Mansfield fans who had made the trip over couldn't get there.
As early as the second minute, Alan Marriott had kept out Wrexham's Lee Fowler with a brilliant one handed save from beneath the bar, from a free kick 18 yards out.
High flying Wrexham were red hot favourites to win this game and en route we'd already agreed that a draw would be a great result ... but, we have to keep pinching ourselves as a reminder of just how bloody resilient Mansfield Town are becoming under Paul Cox.
The 4-5-1 formation Mansfield employed, soaked up the expected early pressure and slowly but surely the visitors turned the tables on their hosts and began to get a foothold themselves.
On 20 minutes Tom Naylor had a shot cleared off the line ... Naylor, a Stags Academy produced player, is subject to a lot of transfer speculation at the moment with two championship sides vying for his signature. The Mansfield Town chairman John Radford has said any money raised from selling the player will go back into strengthening the team ... good man!
Ben Futcher picked up a booking that'll mean he's now accumulated enough penalty points to earn himself a one match ban. However, not many of the visiting supporters minded too much, because he'd clattered Jake Speight, an ex Mansfield player who has a big black mark against his name for beating his girlfriend up.
There's a song dedicated to his crime, go and look it up on Google if you want to know the words, this is a family blog.
I really hope Big Ben's foul hurt Speight though!
Adam Murray (my man of the match) and Matt Green were all over Wrexham like a rash, and right back Luke O'Neill was putting in his best performance since joining the Stags ... it was O'Neill's cross into the mix that Danny Wright headed home to put the Stags in front on 39 minutes ... it's immaterial that Wright is actually a Wrexham player ... it seems the goodwill between the supporters extends on to the pitch.
HT 0-1
As anticipated Wrexham came out all guns blazing and looking for an equaliser ... they almost got it on the hour, but Jake Speight missed an absolute sitter ... that was popular with the travelling Mansfield fans, who left their former player in no doubt whatsoever about how badly thought of he is in their locality.
However four minutes later, after withstanding a lot of pressure from the home side, Alan Marriott could only get a hand to Lee Fowler's powerful shot and Wrexham were level.
The volume of noise made by over 3,200 Northern Welsh die-hards joining together to let out a roar expressing communal tangible relief is ear splitting.
Incidentally, the biggest Wrexham fan we encountered in the pub before the game coined the phrase 'Northern Welsh' as in "Us Northern Welsh don't mind the English, except for them c***s from Chester, it's them tw@ts down south, Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and those b******s we hate!"
So if you have a problem with the grammatical inaccuracy of this geographical distinction, then you can go and take the matter up with him yourself.
And while your at it don't forget to tell him I think he has a fine vocabulary, I'd be happy if he was dating my daughter and I'm sorry for sitting where I did, I didn't realise that seat belonged to him, gulp!
Two minutes after the locals had cleared their throats and raised the roof, Mansfield were back in front, demonstrating that they had well and truly got the hang of this 'bouncebackability' lark now.
Nat Knight-Percival, already on a yellow card, pulled Matt Green back in the penalty area and became the first player to get his marching orders tonight.
Matt Green shrugged off being impeded on his run up and knocked home his spot kick on 66 minutes.
The Wrexham manager lamented after the game, about how well his side had played for the remainder of the game, to say that it was 10 men against 11 for the remainder of the game after the penalty.
He must've been looking away when Tom Naylor was sent off with 7 minutes of normal time remaining then ... mind you, I don't think anybody but the referee saw why Naylor was dismissed, so it's hardly surprising Andy Morrell missed it too.
Naylor was apparently sent off for a second bookable offence on 83 minutes, after winning the ball from Adrian Ciesiewicz. No Wrexham player, supporter or anyone on their bench appealed for a free kick, the linesman never flagged, but the referee Richard Wigglesworth blew for a free kick and sent the Stags player off anyway.
You sir, deserve a fecking daft surname for making a crap decision like that.
Wrexham pushed forward looking to pull level and Ben Futcher nearly returned the OG compliment when he sliced the ball inches wide of the goal he was defending. Phew!
The fourth official signalled that there would be 5 minutes of stoppage time and Andy Morrell came on himself to in a bid to force the issue.
Paul Connor came on for Matt Green late in the game, Ross Dyer hit a measured ball through to him in the 95th minute and the big striker buried the ball beyond Chris Maxwell, to finally make the three points safe in what had become a nail biting finish.
Wrexham are a very good side and were well up for it, they'll be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
But Mansfield played exactly the right system to overcome the 'Northern Welsh' side and deserved their hard won three points tonight.
Wrexham are still third in the table, the Stags are now a point behind in fourth.
The police fenced off the walkway that leads to the main road after the game to keep the Wrexham and Mansfield fans apart, but after a few minutes they realised that both sets of fans in the Yale Stand had come out the same way and effectively all they had done was pen us all in together ... great organisation from the boys in blue/fluorescent green.
Just as well we all get on, isn't it!?
Overnight roadworks on the way back held us up for 50 minutes or so, but I've already booked Wednesday off work and having cancelled my now unnecessary hospital appointment, I now have all morning to recover, thankfully.
Very tired but very happy.
Next up ... some sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz