Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Lincoln City 1 v Mansfield Town 1 - BSBP

... and a great Stag too!
I hadn't charged my camera batteries tonight ... a Mr Forgetful moment!
So my picture of this tribute to the late, great Keith Alexander didn't take :-(
Many thanks to Dan Westwell for letting me use his photograph, cheers mate!

Tuesday 18th August 2011 at Sincil Bank
Blue Square Bet Premier
Lincoln City (0) 1 Gavin McCallum 76
Mansfield Town (0) 1 Matt Green 86
Admission £18, Programme £2.50
Attendance 2,944 (inc. 981 Stags fans)

At the weekend I visited the posh and respectable end of the county of Lincolnshire, where the locals are perfectly normal and well versed in the protocol of social etiquette.
But tonight we ventured slightly further into the red-neck quarter of yellow-belly land ... so I packed my guitar just in case the young local musical talent fancied a 'duel'.

Alas, I didn't see 'Banjo Boy' tonight ... apparently he was out hunting possum with his 'maw n' paw' in a woodland copse near Cherry Willingham.
But Adam, a guinea pig 'fancier' and author of the 'The mind of an Imp' blog was there, sat with his Retford Imps posse and several hundred empty pink seats in the Stacey West Stand.
His blog is always worth a read ... and his dance steps in the above video (wearing his lucky hat) demonstrate that the lessons he's been having were well worthwhile.
Lincoln City
1 Anyon, 3 Nutter, 4 Watts, 13 Sinclair, 16 Nelsony, 8 Power, 10 Fuseini (Christophe 53), 17 Nicolau, 25 Cunningham (Thomas 85), 30 McCallum, 14 Smith (Perry 83)
Unused Subs - 21 Draper, 6 Hone

Mansfield Town
1 Marriott,
3 Kendrick, 6 Riley, 16 O'Neill, 17 Sutton, 11 Murray, 14 Bolland, 9 Connor, 10 Green, 15 Dyer (Briscoe 78), 24 Meikle (Todd 90+2)
Unused Subs -
23 Redmond, 22 Day, 4 Worthington

Though it is only 35 miles or so between Mansfield and Lincoln, the fact that 981 Stags fans (plus the ones who sneaked into the home seats to avoid the queues) were willing to make the journey on a miserable midweek night, even though their side have only scraped one win in their last three games, shows the kind of potential Mansfield Town still have, despite them being a non league side these days.
I'd only expected half of that number to travel over ... and the majority of them weren't just here to enjoy Lincoln's great selection of pubs or to get involved in the minor skirmish that took place before the game outside the ground either.
At £18 a head, that's one hell of a following ... though there are a few reservations being expressed about certain non football related incidents, that have happened at the club over the last week or so, you can't fault their support, or the efforts of Paul Cox and his team tonight.
The first half was a bit scrappy, but Mansfield just about shaded it possession wise, although Lincoln did make one or two dangerous runs into the box that went worrying unchallenged.
Lindon Meikle came closest to breaking the deadlock for the Stags when his in-swinging long shot beat Joe Anyon and the City defence but crashed against the upright.
The Imps are sitting near the wrong end of the table at present and finding the adjustment on their return to non league football more difficult to deal with, than most people thought they would.
Currently manager-less (and by all accounts penniless), Lincoln City will have been happy with a point tonight as they bid to claw their way up the table to a position of safety.
The Stags are toughing it out in between mid table and the play off places after dropping six points from two of their last three home games.
Tonight's performance shows they are trying to address that blip in form and check their recent mini decline though.
The chasing pack aren't too far ahead to start panicking just yet ... and the support they took to Sincil Bank, shows that the Stags faithful are putting their trust in Paul Cox, after initially being split over whether he was the right man to get the manager's job.
Lincoln's keeper Joe Anyon earned his man of the match award in the second half.
Not only did he pull of a couple of quite outstanding saves, he also set up the Imps goal, that had all the hallmarks of a John Beck era Lincoln City goal about it.
Anyon ventured from his goal area to clear the ball upfield from out near the touchline, to avoid a throw in as much as anything.
But his wind assisted long punt towards Alan Marriott's goal was misjudged by the Stags centre half Martin Riley, which let Gavin McAllum nip in to put the home side ahead.
On the balance of play, Lincoln were lucky to be in front, but all the statistics and percentages in the world count for nothing when offset against goals scored, so it was time for Mansfield to get their sleeves rolled up and try salvaging something from a game they should've been winning by now.
With just four minutes to go Paul Connor unselfishly opted to play the ball across the face of the goal instead of shooting, Matt Green slid in and the Stags finally had the ball in the net
"JOE ANYON ... City stopper goes under the spotlight"
He did tonight and emerged with flying colours.

Lindon Meikle almost forced the issue in stoppage time but his effort flew over the bar and both sides had to be content with a point apiece.

NEXT UP - Staveley MW v Frickley Athletic (friendly) at Inkersall Road tomorrow night.