Saturday, 7 April 2012

Kettering Town 0 v Mansfield Town 3 - BSBP

Saturday 7th April 2012, at Nene Park
Blue Square Bet Premier
Kettering Town (0) 0
Mansfield Town (1) 3
Meikle 14, Green 63, Rhead 86
Admission £18, Programme £2
Attendance 1,818 (877 Stags fans)
The Stags pre match hokey-cokey is working wonders for team morale

Kettering Town:
Jack, Sangare (Gray 45), Kelly, Westwood, Ralph, Mills, Bridges, Noubissie, Wyke (van Engle 77), Joyce, York.
Subs not used - Ford, Petranyuk.
Mansfield Town:
Marriott, O’Neill, Riley Geohaghon, Sutton, Briscoe (Rhead 61), Roberts (Worthington 78), Howell, Meikle; Green (Hutchinson 75), Dyer.
Subs not used - Redmond, Andrew.
Kettering Town were relegated from the Blue Square Bet Premier today.
Mansfield Town, with 6 wins and a draw in their last 7 games, are still third in the table, 7 points ahead of York City, Kidderminster Harriers & Southport, and 10 in front of Luton Town and Gateshead, as the hunt for play off places intensifies.

Ceramic owls on top of the stands at Nene Park, scare
pigeons away and stop them crapping on the seats

Kettering were very poor today.
And they went down, without any kind of fight at all, in front of less than a thousand of their own fans. Out with a whimper instead of a bang.
Mansfield barely had to break into a sweat today, to easily beat the Poppies.
If this is typical of how the home side have been playing this season, it's no wonder they didn't beat the drop.
Kelvin Jack was excellent in goal for Kettering and he deserved a bit more effort from some of his team mates, to match his own performance.
Besides Jacks heroics, with a bit more application and sharpness in front of goal, this win could've been far more emphatic for the Stags.
Ross Dyer and Matt Green both ought to have scored in the first half.
But hey ho!
A three nil away win, coupled with other results going the Stags way, so no harm done!
The Stags celebrate Lindon Meikle's opening goal

Whenever the Poppies did have possession of the ball, Mansfield barely had to put a tackle in, because Kettering were wont to give the ball away and play stray passes all afternoon.
Some people feel sorry for Kettering's plight, but when a club charge £18 to watch Non League football from behind a goal, have a crap attitude towards early arrivals at the door to their bar, charge £3.20 for a pint of cheap n' nasty Fosters lager in a plastic pint pot inside the ground and offer their captive audience ropey looking sustenance called a 'Poppy Burger' (it's cheeseburger with a small slither of bacon in it) for a princely sum of £4.10, it's hard to feel any sympathy for them.
I had spaghetti and meatballs simmering in the slow cooker for when I got home, drinking and driving is a no no, so screw 'em, eh!?
At those prices, arrests for drunkenness must be zero at Nene Park this season.
The Stags fans celebrate Matt Green's goal, two-nil

Though I have no truck with Luton Town fans, it is scandalous that these prices were hiked up even higher when the Hatters visited Nene Park.
Surely, when you are playing in exile, at an out of town stadium, miles away from any other place where supporters can eat and drink and you're struggling to make ends meet, you want to be encouraging visitors to spend, not pricing them out and making them think twice about ever coming back again.
Not that any BSBP teams fans who's team aren't going down with Kettering will have to worry about the outlay next season.
I quite like Nene Park as a venue as it happens, but I'm not made of money, so goodbye and good riddance Kettering Town.
I know football is expensive everywhere now and food and drink in all grounds is overpriced, but being frank ... Kettering Town, you take this piss!
Luke O'Neill cues up a corner,

The very talented James Williamson waits eagerly with his camera
Matt Rhead heads O'Neill's corner over Kelvin Jack and into the back of the net,
3-0 game over!

Now where was I?
Oh yes ... there is a football match I ought to mention too.
The Stags were without captain Adam Murray, but the home side didn't put out much of a team either and only had four subs on the bench, all four of them were inexperienced too.
But I don't want to take anything away from Paul Cox's side, after all, they can only play what's put in front of them.
The Stags did a professional job on hapless Kettering and won at a canter.
Right at the death, it would've been 4-0 as Danny Rhead surged forward into the box, leaving his marker for dead, but the referee blew for time as he was about to shoot.
Kettering weren't the only poor side out on the pitch today, by any stretch of the imagination, the match officials were just as bad.I suspect that this pre match photograph, shows the three of them looking for their contact lens' which they had all lost on the pitch during the warm up and deciding to try blagging it, when they realised they couldn't be found.
One of the linesman seemed so desperate to help Kettering stay up by giving every single decision their way, that the referee had to keep over-ruling him to stop it looking too blatant.
Granted, I'm biased too.
But anybody else who saw what I did today will know exactly what I mean.
I'm usually sympathetic towards the plight of match officials, unless they're especially bad. It's not a job I envy and there wouldn't be a game with out them, but FFS!
Today's men in black gave ineptitude a bad name.
So anyway, on with the goals:
Poppies 0 v Stags 1, 14 minutes.
Lindon Meikle, in the starting line up today, justified his place with a great performance and headed home the opening goal. Nathan Ralph gave the ball away to Gary Roberts, who's deep right wing cross was nodded home at the back stick by the stooping Meikle.
Lindon Meikle was the Stags man of the match today.
However, overall best performance by any player out on the park award goes to Kelvin Jack, the Kettering keeper, who had a blinder of a game and kept the score down to a respectable looking 0-3, when it could have been much worse for the Poppies.
Poppies 0 v Stags 2, 63 minutes.
Anthony Howell knocked the ball forward from inside his own half into the path of Matt Green, who collected the ball, dropped a shoulder to wrong foot the defence, feigned a shot to commit Kelvin Jack and drilled the ball home under the Kettering keeper.
Poppies 0 v Stags 3, 86 minutes.
With the Stags fans already embarking on a conga behind the goal to celebrate their victory, Luke O'Neill floated a right wing corner into the box that Matt Rhead powerfully headed home.
And the goals that should have been scored:
Give over, I'd be here 'til midnight.
Final indignity:
In stoppage time at the end of 90 minutes, Kettering's caretaker player manager Ashley Westwood was sent off when he got a second yellow card for a foul on one of Mansfield's second half substitutes, Ben Hutchinson.
Have you ever had one of those days!?
We were straight off at the final whistle to my car, parked in pole position on the starting grid.
The stewards and police tried making it awkward for us to get out of the car park, but we were too happy with the result to take issue with them, and just nipped off all the way round the back of the ground and out of the home fans exit instead.
One good thing about the ground being right on the outskirts of Irthlingborough, is the quick access to the northbound A roads.
There was hardly any other traffic in our way, especially on the virtually deserted A1 and getting a head start on the other 875 Stags fans at Nene Park, meant the two of us were home in the people's republic of Retford by 6.20pm, even though I observed the speed limit all of the way back.
Thought for the day:
You can still see the outline of the old Rushden & Diamonds crest behind the Poppies badge outside the stadium.
I wonder, what ever happened to all the Rushden Town, Irthlingborough Diamonds and the amalgamated R&DFC's supporters?
They sure as hell aren't watching Kettering Town this season.
Goodbye Nene Park, you were possibly a good idea, once upon a time.
Next up - Bank Holiday Monday, two games:
Blackwell Miners Welfare v St. Andrews, an ECML Noon kick off, followed by Mansfield Town v Stockport County at what is now officially called the One Call Stadium, though most people will still call it Field Mill.