But we still managed to see two very good games today, so I can't grumble!
And when I get a spare ten minutes or so, over the next couple of days, I'll post match details and photographs from both games and some salacious gossip to corroborate that claim.
Incidentally, for the benefit of the gentleman who asked earlier ... Handsworth FC Under 19's will play Sheffield FC Under 19's at Staveley Miners Welfare on Monday 30th April, 7.30pm in the NMU19L League Cup Final.
Monday 9th April 2012, at Primrose Hill, 12.00 Noon
East Midlands Counties League
Blackwell Miners Welfare (2) 2
Jamie Spiers 12, Simon Wilkinson 20
St. Andrews (2) 3
Dan Henfrey 27, Kris Stevenson 44, Elliot Wright 82
Admission £4, Programme £1, Attendance 62
And the programme is so good, I'm going to turn a blind eye to the fact that editor pinched a photo from THE66POW to use in it. Feel free, any time BTW ;-)
Blackwell Miners Welfare:
Smith, Davies, Salmon, Brake, Leak, Spiers, Ellis, Rhodes, Wilkinson, Cox, O'Donnell
Subs - McShane, Reid, Davey, Campbell, Bacon
Butlin, Banton, Williams, Hodgkinson, Hawker, Surridge, Wright, Henfrey, Stevenson, Robinson, Trevor
Subs - Wooley, Cooper
Blackwell, playing today in all yellow instead of their usual red and white strip, will be disappointed not to have got something out of this game.
They deserved at least a draw, particularly for the way they came flying out of the blocks for the first twenty five minutes.
But if you don't take all your chances when you're in the ascendancy and then let your opponents back into the game, whys and wherefores don't win football matches, goals do.
And the home side should have been racking them up, long before St. Andrews pulled their first one back.
Following a succession of early corners that had the visitors on the back foot from the off, Stephen Cox broke free on the right flank and played the ball square to Simon Wilkinson, who steered the ball home, despite the last ditch efforts of Matt Banton in the St. Andrews goal.
Stephen Cox was proving to be a real handful for the visitors defence, as Blackwell kept piling the pressure on, without being able to find the final touch.
Cox himself fizzed a shot narrowly over the bar.
Shortly afterwards, he dribbled into the area, went round the keeper and unselfishly passed the ball to Wilkinson, it was a duplicate of the chance Blackwell went in front from, err, almost!
This time as 'Wilko' teed up his shot, he got his feet tangled up and fell over instead.
On twenty minutes, Blackwell's captain, smashed a low drive from 25 yards out, that caught everybody on the pitch out as it nestled into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-0, but seriously, the Primrose Hill side could've been four or five ahead by now.
The Barclay Premiership sign shows Blackwell are a seriously ambitious clubBut as often happens when a team has been dominating a game without making their lions share of the possession count, Blackwell were pegged back on 27 minutes, when Dan Henfrey diverted Elliot Wright's effort on goal past Wayne Smith and into the net.
It was a critical touch because Smith was already on his way down to block Wright's shot.
Shortly afterwards Ryan Hawker crossed the ball over from the right but Ross Trevor's header was cleared off the line, as St. Andrews pushed for an equaliser.
Wright's goal had certainly had an uplifting effect on the visitors and Blackwell must've really regretted not being a bit more clinical with their finishing, when Kris Stevenson slotted home St. Andrews' second goal from just inside the box smack on the the stroke of half time.
After the break, the tempo of the game was still high, in what must have been strength sapping conditions.
Rogues galleryThe cold rain didn't let up for a moment, but both sides kept plucking away and were providing those who had turned out on a horrible day with some great entertainment.
Their weren't nearly as many goalmouth incidents in the second period as the first, but it was still a full bodied, nip and tuck encounter, flowing one way, then the other.
There were only 8 minutes to go when the 2-2 deadlock was broken.
Amidst a frantic scramble on the edge of the Blackwell area, the referee Robert Massey played an advantage and Elliot Wright managed to stay on his feet long enough to fire the visitors in front.
A word about the referee, he is young and learning his trade, but put in a steady shift today and wasn't knocked out of his stride by one or two of the senior players offering their 'advice' to him, or one of the benches in particular, who's vocals must've been clearly audible to passing motorists on the nearby M1.One of Blackwell's subs, Campbell Adam, put in a couple of inviting crosses from the right wing, but the St. Andrews defence scrambled the ball away to safety.
Right in the very last minute Adam dropped a right wing corner inch perfectly into the six yard box, that was just begging to be executed. But amongst a crowd of flying feet, Matt Banton dived bravely into the fray and held onto the ball for dear life.
It was as much a match winning moment as any of the St. Andrews goals.
Final score: Blackwell Miners Welfare 2 v St. Andrews 3.
10 out of 10 for entertainment and 10 out of 10 for the programme too, especially the quality photography on page 8, ahem!
Primose Hill is only a few minutes off the M1/A38 junction.
If you follow the A38 away from the M1, ignore the signs to Mansfield Town FC as you approach the town centre and turn right at the traffic lights by the Sir John Cockle pub instead. You reach Quarry Lane, where the One Call Stadium stands, far more quickly that way.
Note* The Stags haven't relocated, they're still at Field Mill, but the chairman John Radford has decreed that he wants the stadium renaming after his company.
And frankly, after all the time and money he's invested in getting rid of Keith Haslam and in light of the promises he's made, and delivered on, that is his prerogative.
It'll always be Field Mill to me, but there's room for the heritage of the past, the optimism of the present and the (hopefully) brighter future, to live side by side, so que sera sera, whatever will be, will be.
Monday 9th April 2012, at the One Call Stadium, 3pm
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town (0) 2
Adam Smith 47, Louis Briscoe 53
Stockport County (0) 1
Jordan Rose 89
Admission £15, Programme £3,
Attendance 3,883 (506 from Stockport)
Marriott, O’Neill, Geohaghon, Riley, Sutton, Briscoe, Murray (Roberts 74), Howell, Smith (Meikle 73), Green, Rhead
Unused Subs - Redmond, Andrew
King, Nolan, Hattersley (Rose 68), Sheridan (Darkwah 55), Newton, Halls, Mainwaring (Rowe 68), Elliott, Piergianni, Turnbull, Connor
Unused Subs - Ormson, Whitehead
Stockport, fresh from thrashing David Holdsworth's Lincoln City 4-0 a couple of days ago, put up a stubborn resistance in the first half and had certainly turned up intent on giving Mansfield Town a game today, cheered on by their 506 fans and one especially large mouthed individual in the directors box.
The Stags couldn't break County down in the first half, though there were a few close calls.
You could see why Stockport have put a few decent results together of late.
In the not so distant past the home crowd at Mansfield, would've become frustrated if the goals weren't coming early on and got on the team's back; but it seems they've learned to trust Paul Cox and know that somewhere down the line, the Stags manager will make a few tweaks and adjustments to find a way around whatever kind of obstacles opposition teams have been creating.
IN PAUL COX WE TRUST, to coin a phrase.
Psychologically, it effects all players when their own fans are giving them grief.
But the new psyche amongst the faithful at the One Call Field Mill Soccerdome (or similar), is one of patience, belief and encouragement and it works wonders.
Sure enough, right on cue right at the start of the second half, the Stags embarked upon what sports fans in the US of A would call a 'power-play' and before long, Stockport were reeling from falling two goals behind.
Exodus Geohaghon, lovingly polished all the rain from the FILA matchball with a towel passed to him by a young supporter, targeted the Mansfield forwards jockeying for position on the edge of the area ...
... and the ball fell for Adam Smith who thumped it narrowly past the buttocks of Anthony Howell and into the roof of the net.
Advantage 'Team Mansfield'.
Adam Smith. "One nil, to the Mans-fee-uld!"Adam Murray, knocked the ball out to Louis Briscoe on the left of the box. Everybody expected the Stags number 7 to cross it, but he whipped in a sublime shot across the face of Stockport's goal that went in off the far post.
The second goal was a moment of sheer class.
The Stags were seemingly home a dry now ... well, they were soaked to the skin actually but you get my drift.
With the clock running down and the Quarry Lane End fans singing their team home, the home side seemed to switch off right at the end, allowing Jordan Rose to nip in and fire home a consolation for Stockport from 18 yards out.
It was the first and only time Mansfield have conceded in three games.
While paying lip service to the fact that there is no such thing as a good goal against Mansfield Town, I'll have to concede that Rose took it very well.
Having done the hard part, it would've almost felt as bad as a defeat if Stockport had drawn level now.
But, despite a late flourish from the visitors, the Stags held on to the three vital points, that have now all but assured them of a play off place.
I'm not counting my chickens until the maths are water tight, but for Christ-sake, if Mansfield fans aren't entitled to feel optimistic and confident now, they never will be.
A final word of praise for Matt Rhead, who played his first full 90 minutes up front in a Stags shirt today ... he was immense.