Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Rotherham United 1 v Mansfield Town 1 - Central League

Tuesday 30th October 2012, 2pm kick off
at Roundwood Pavilion, home of Parkgate FC
Central League
Mark Bradley 31
Louis Briscoe 52 
Admission free, Team sheet 20p, Attendance 90 ish
 Left click for enlarged image

Not exactly the New York Stadium, but Parkgate FC's enclosure at the Roundwood complex, just through the well tended conifers from Rotherham United's training ground, isn't without a certain charm.
The Rotherham fans who'd turned out were a friendly and jovial lot and we enjoyed some 'inter club banter', but it never became heated or unduly impolite and it wasn't me who threatened to dig Jimmy Saville up to deal with a cheeky youngster.
They all shared the opinion that they would like to see Mansfield Town back in the Football League, but I suspect that's got more to do with them being fed up of too many long journeys down south, than 'owt else me 'owd flower, ee' by gum, chucky egg, tha' knows!!!
In fact they were just as entertaining as the end to end and open game of football, that these two respective teams put on.
Steve Evans, the much maligned Rotherham United first team manager was stood nearby too. 
I make no apologies at all, for dispelling the stereotypical myths this man's critics circulate about him at every given opportunity. He's a really nice bloke, with a good sense of humour and a great line in patter too.
Oh ... and he won the meat pack in the half time draw, which possibly wasn't fixed.
Both teams were committed to attacking and with Steve Evans and the Stags first team manager Paul Cox both looking on, many of the players were out to impress.
Mansfield Town striker Ben Hutchinson stood out, which won't have escaped anybody's attention. 
But what's a guy to do? 
If Paul Cox perseveres with Matt Green as his main striking option until he regains his goal scoring touch then he's going to get crucified by sections of the Field Mill crowd, who aren't entirely renowned for being either patient, or entirely rational at times.
But, if he rests Green and gives Hutchinson a run out instead (and Hutchinson has earned his chance, with some great performances in Andy Todd's reserve side), then he's going to get slaughtered for dropping 'the main man' too, probably by the same section of the crowd too.
Saturday's potential banana skin, in the FA Cup game against Slough, is as good a time as any to make a few changes and shake things up a bit. But that's easy for me to say when my livelihood doesn't depend on Mansfield Town's results.
The Stags nearly opened the scoring when Louis Briscoe shot narrowly wide from a Lindon Meikle cross, but after weathering a lively start from the visitors, Rotherham found their stride and it was their turn to go in search of a goal. Liam Mitchell in the Stags goal got plenty of shot stopping practice in over the 90 minutes, as did his opposite number Tony Thompson, in an evenly matched game that saw both the Stags and the Millers, dictate passages of play for lengthy spells, almost as if they had pre arranged things between themselves, to alternate practising attacking and defensive formations.
Jason Taylor knocked the ball over the Stags defence, for Mark Bradley to run on to and having made himself a bit of space, the Millers number 4 wasn't ever going to miss the target from eight yards out.
"One nowt! Happen tha's pillocking tha' sen if tha' thinks tha's gerrin 'owt arta this now!"
Indeed goodly sir :-O
Though I'm a proud son of Nottinghamshire, I was only born about fifteen miles from Rawmarsh, or Roamish as the locals call it, but by heck, they don't just have a different dialect round this parts, it's a different tounge all together.
"Get away. We're a second half team. Wait n' watch us go after the break", I said with as much optimism as I could muster.
And you know what? Be it banter, kidology or whatever, it were 'reet grand', when the Stags came back at Rotherham after the break and pulverised them for a while, because, for a while, it was Rotherham's turn to be in the ascendancy again and it looked as though I'd be having to eat humble pie.
But, right on half time, Ben Hutchinson rattled the ball against the home side's woodwork and Lee Stevenson put the ball wide from the rebound.
"Ooh, saved by the woodwork, but it's coming" I muttered.
Incidentally, I know the goal posts are actually made of PVC coated aluminium, but I would've sounded even more of a prat if I'd of said "Ooh, saved by the PVC ... etc. etc."
HT - Rotherham United 1 v Mansfield Town 0
I smiled a smug smile, borne from the optimism of knowing that the mighty Mansfield Town would soon be putting their South Yorkshire opponents to the sword and I recalled the words to that song 'Mansfield Magic', that the Stags team recorded to mark the occasion of them reaching Wembley in the 1987 Freight Rover Trophy final, "You know Mansfield Town will never let you down".
Aye right, so straight from the break, they initially completely rubbished my come back predictions and it took two glorious saves from Liam Mitchell to keep them in the game.
But then, even when even I had begin to waiver in my faith, Lee Stevenson played Louis Briscoe in on goal and "YEEEEAHHH!" it was one apiece.
The goal was almost identical in it's creation, execution and juxtaposition as the one that Rotherham had scored. Except that it was loads better, obviously.
The first half had been very entertaining, but the second half was even better.
I even kidded myself into believing, that I was 100% correct with my 'second half team' theory.
Though to be honest, I was bouncing up and down with childlike enthusiasm one minute as the rampant Stags marauded forward and then wincing through my fingers the next as Rotherham came straight back at them. It was end to end stuff.
There are those amongst my circle of friends and associates, who think I'm completely mad for travelling to midweek away games to watch the Stags reserves play (for the record, that's not why I'm completely mad), but the game justified my decision to travel over to the Roundwood Pavilion and all the underhanded logistical planning it had required, for me to be 'oer Parkgate way' this afternoon, proved to be wholly justified.
Two attacking sides carried on taking the game to each other at will, right up until the very last minute and it beggars belief that the game only finished one apiece, given the amount of chances both sides had, especially the two that Nick Wright (called Nick Bright on the team sheet) and then Chris Clements, nearly won the game for Mansfield right at the death.
FT: Millers 1 v Stags 1
Next up: 
Got home to find 'our lass' was very poorly, so I won't be at either Frickley Athletic or Gainsborough Trinity tonight, because I'd feel guilty about abandoning her when she's so ill.
Get well soon my love.
Because I'm not bloody stopping in tomorrow night as well xxx