Saturday, 22 October 2011

Mansfield Town 3 v Alfreton Town 2 - BSBP

Half time

Saturday 22nd October 2011, at Field Mill
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town (0) 3
Matt Green 75 pen, Lindon Meikle 86, Andy Todd 90+2
Alfreton Town (2) 2
Aaron Brown 13, Paul Clayton 21
Admission £15, Programme £3
Attendance 2982
Full time

Alfreton were cruising at 2-0.
The Stags, who had squandered numerous chances, looked to be heading for a defeat, until the visitors had two players sent off in the second half.
The Derbyshire side have a shocking disciplinary record this season, their manager should be taking a serious look at that instead of blaming opposition players, match officials, Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all ... because with 11 players on the pitch, they would undoubtedly have won this game today.
The Nottinghamshire side ... hmm, will the real Mansfield Town please stand up, please stand up, please stand up!?
How can the same team that went away to table topping Wrexham and beat them hands down a few weeks ago, play as disjointed and unconvincingly as this at home, against a team struggling one place above the foot of the table?
The truth is out their somewhere.
A lucky win for Mansfield today, even their own manager conceded it was fluky in his post match interview.
Mansfield Town
1 Marriott,
3 Kendrick (Todd 62), 6 Riley, 16 O'Neill, 17 Sutton, 11 Murray, 14 Bolland, 9 Connor, 10 Green, 15 Dyer, 24 Meikle
Unused Subs - 23 Redmond, 22 Day, 4 Worthington, 21 Howell

Alfreton Town
21 Day,
2 Law (Jarman 32), 5 Young, 12 Franks, 25 Potter, 7 Brown, 8 Moult, 14 Hall, 19 Mullan (Hawes 63), 9 Clayton (Senior 66), 15 Wilson
Unused Subs - 17 Mackin, 22 Ellison
Sent Off - Wilson 48, Young 60, both for second yellow card offences
Bloody hell young 'un, your hands are massive!

Mansfield were lively from the off, but were wasteful in front of Alfreton's goal three times before the visitors went on the attack themselves.
Greg Young picked out Anthony Wilson with a long throw (this pair feature heavily as the story of this game unfolds) and the Reds number 15 flicked the ball on to Anton Brown who stunned the majority of the Field Mill crowd by heading home the opening goal from the edge of the six yard box.
He'd ghosted in completely unmarked and unchallenged.
The unmarked Anthony Wilson heads Alfreton in front on 13 minutes

Within 8 minutes Alfreton were two in front.
Jake Moult crossed the ball into the box from out on the left wing, it wasn't cleared or dealt with as it flew across the face of the goal ... Jamie Mullan had the time and space to knock the ball back across the goal line, where Paul Clayton had the simplest of tap ins to put the relegation threatened North Street side further ahead.
If they come up against defending like this on a regular basis they won't go down.
Sutton, Green and Dyer all had chances to half the deficit before half time, but the visitors were having none of it ... and the age old tradition of results going against the form book in local derbies, looked more and more like being continued as the game wore on.
Half time came, the visitors were still in the ascendancy ... and though they had created plenty of chances themselves, the Stags were still chasing the game.
Sloppiness in front of both goals was costing Mansfield dearly, but take nothing away from Alfreton, they deserved to be in front.
Play nice!

Early in the second half, Anthony Wilson led with his arm as he challenged Martin Riley ... it was a yellow card offence, not a red, but the referee had no option but to dismiss Wilson because he had already been booked earlier.
Alfreton's lack of discipline was ultimately going to cost them all three points in the long run.
As Wilson left the pitch, Greg Young talked himself into a booking for remonstrating with the ref.
Unbelievably, already carrying a yellow card, on the hour mark,Young then scythed down Lindon Meikle out on the right wing ... and as a consequence he didn't have far to walk to the players tunnel when the red card came out.
The Stags fans wave cheerio to Greg Young

Whatever Nicky Law, the Alfretom manager, might be saying about the referee in the aftermath of defeat, his own players lack of responsibility at crucial times turned the game.
Alfreton packed out the defence in a bid to preserve their lead.
There ensued a period of play where Mansfield threw everything at the visitors, but they were frantic in their efforts, rather than being patient and trying to press home their numerical advantage in a calm and measured way.
To be frank, the air kicks, skew-with shooting and panic measures the Stags resorted to for a short while, was embarrassing to watch.
Surely it was only a matter of time until Alfreton's defence was breached, with two extra platers attacking them, so why did the Stags players let the nerves creep in?
Paul Connor homed in on goal and was fouled by Adie Hawes ... ironically Hawes was a sub who had come on the shore up the visitors defence.
Matt Green made no mistake with the penalty ... and there was a tangible sigh of relief from the home fans that their team was back in it.
A flash of individual skill and composure from Lindon Meikle, with just four minutes remaining, saw the home side pull level.
It was a quality strike after Meikle had made himself a yard of space in the crowded Alfreton penalty area.
It looked as though Nicky Law's side were going to have to settle for a draw, after being in front for so long and in spite of their stubborn refusal to cave in under the numerical disadvantage.
It's a trick photograph, this one actually went wide.

But the visitors were undone, deep into injury time, when Andy Todd chased down an over hit cross from Matt Green and hit it low and hard back across the goal from the left by-line.
Joe Day, the keeper who is on a month's loan at Alfreton from Peterborough United, dropped down at the near post to block the cross cum shot and it hit is body and spun into the net.
Even though I wanted the Stags to win and I wouldn't ever be considered for the position of Nicky Law's fan club secretary (to say the very least), I couldn't help but feel a tinge of sympathy for Day and the 8 remaining players in red ... they had bust a gut to keep their team in the game and were now going home empty handed.
I still cheered anyway and made two fingered gestures at Law himself, of course ;-)
At the final whistle, the fans in our end applauded the nine men of Alfreton off the pitch as well as their own team for their comeback ... but the Stags had made bloody hard work of it, especially when you consider the visitors had just played out the final thirty minutes, plus four minutes stoppage time with two players missing.
I'll leave the final words to Paul Cox, the Stags manager, quoted verbatim from the post match interview I heard in the car on the way back home.

"We fluked a win.
Did we get away with it?
Did Alfreton deserve to lose?

NEXT UP: GOLDBLADE, plus support bands, tonight at York 'Fibbers', doors open 7.30pm, new material being showcased.