Friday, 15 March 2013

Forest Green Rovers 1 v Mansfield Town 2 - BSBP

Friday 15th March, at the New Lawn, Nailsworth
Blue Square Bet Premier
Forest Green Rovers (0) 1
James Norwood 87
Mansfield Town (1) 2
Eddie Oshodi 30 OG
Lee Stevenson 47
Admission £14, Programme £3
Attendance 1,109 (inc. 166 in the away end)
Forest Green Rovers
23 Russell, 2 Hodgkiss, 3 Stokes, 15 Oshodi, 4 Bangura (Klukowski 60), 21 Racine, 22 Green, 11 Forbes, 20 Norwood,
27 Odubade (Taylor 53)
29 Burns (Fowler 83)
Unused Subs - 6 Bennett, 16 Asafu-Adjaye.
Mansfield Town
1 Marriott, 4 Dempster, 5 Jones, 17 Beevers, 29 Jennings,
21 Murray, 26 Stevenson (Howell 64), 27 Chapman,
31 Daniel (Briscoe 27), 7 Meikle, 10 Green (Rhead 75)
Unused Subs - 2 Sutton, 12 Wright
Welcome to the New Lawn, Forest 'Green Party' Rovers, a utopian new world stadium, aptly situated on a entrance drive called 'Another Way'.
Where the club recharge environmentally friendly club cars to reduce their carbon footprint, nobody eats meat ... and the Stags entrench themselves into defensive positions for the second half, to take home the three valuable points that saw them climb to the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier table tonight, with a 9th successive win.

Lindon Meikle opened the scoring after half an hour, but the ball deflected off of Eddie Oshodi en route to the back of the net and the unfortunate FGR players was credited with the goal. 
The main thing is, it was a goal for Mansfield Town.
Their was no doubting who scored the Stags second, when Lee Stevenson broke clear two minutes into the second half, from a Matt Green through ball and beat Sam Russell right in front of the travelling band of Mansfield supporters, who'd braved the crap weather and Cheltenham Festival traffic to get here, in spite of the game being televised by Premier Sports (and showing live on the screens in the Sandy Pate Bar at Field Mill).
Against teams like Barrow, it's the done thing to keep battering away at them once you've established a healthy lead.
But 2-0 up, away from home, against fellow promotion hopefuls, it's time to shut up shop.
And until 3 minutes from time, that is exactly what Paul Cox's side did.
One vociferous old Stags fan shouted out at one point "You can play down this end in front of us n' all. We've paid to watch the game too!", but nobody was really complaining as the visitors dug in deep to defend the three points.
Sure, a three goal lead would've been more comfortable, but as the fixtures rack up thick and fast, I'll take sacrificing a bit of cavalier and gung ho all out attacking football, if it means winning games.
When you're down on your luck and struggling for points, nothing seems to go your way, but when you're on a high, the reverse seems to happen.
Long before he scored, to set up a nail biting finish, James Norwood beat Alan Marriott all ends up and left the Stags defence standing like statues, but his effort crashed back off the underside of the crossbar. 
Maybe it is time to start believing that the name of Mansfield Town is destined for some silverware at the end of this season. 
But while I'm still not allowing myself to get carried away (just yet), because I know how quickly the tide can turn at this time of year, this result was MASSIVE in respect of the BSBP league positions.
A scrappy game all told, on a horrible night, weather wise, in Nailsworth. But a vital win for Mansfield Town, so I'm happy.