Thursday, 23 July 2015

Grantham Town 2 v Mansfield Town 1 - PSF

Thursday 23rd July 2015
at the South Kesteven Sports Stadium
Grantham Town (1) 2
Gio Carchedi 22, Stefan Bilyk 73
Mansfield Town XI (1) 1
Simon Heslop 38
Admission £5, free teamsheet, no programmes
I've seen told on this here t'interweb information superhighway thing, where we are all supposed to believe everything we read; that tonight's game was a fairly evenly balanced affair.
You what!? You what!?
You what!? You what!? You what!?
Fessing up time folks... I am (massively) biased towards all things Mansfield Town and so are the people I watched tonight's game with, namely: Michael Cook (Retford Stags, lifetime and founder member), Andy Saunders (ex Mansfield Town director and Stags diehard, currently the chairman of AFC Mansfield) and Darren Shaw (Stags fans rep. on the current Mansfield Town board). And we all agreed unanimously that, as the teams went in level at 1-1 after 45 minutes, Grantham deserved to be 4-1 ahead already by that time and should have had a penalty midway through the first half.
Although it wasn't exactly a Rorke's Drift situation, the Stags back four, ably marshalled by Adam Murray, had to adopt a 'self preservation society' approach to defending, to prevent their lively Evo-Stik League hosts blowing their bleedin' doors off.
Ironically, it was the young and highly regarded Stags goalkeeper Sam Wilson who set up Grantham's opening goal when he inadvertently miscued a goal kick straight into the path of Gio Carchedi, who took a couple of strides forward before gratefully rubbing Wilson's nose in it by knocking the ball home from ten yards out.
I won't chastise the unfortunate keeper at this juncture, it is all about learning good habits at his age and these are the sort of games that you need to use to get that sort of thing out of your system. And besides “it looks bad in the newspapers and upsets civilians at their breakfast.”
Want-away Stags player Simon Heslop, equalised with a speculative shot from outside the area shortly before half time, but I hadn't noticed any scouts from other clubs up in the stands paying much attention, so hopefully we witnessed the start of a boom season for the player at the South Kesteven Sports Stadium tonight... for the Stags!
Stranger things have happened y'know.
HT: 1-1
Grantham Town used to play on London Road, they had a cracking little ground there, where I can just about recall seeing the original Retford Town FC play.
At half time I was conversing with an octogenarian Grantham fan who could also remember those halcyon days of yore and seemed to be very knowledgeable about and proud of his local team, but he couldn't recall how his favourite football team acquired the nickname 'The Gingerbreads' when I asked him, “Not a lot of people know that!” he quipped.
The second half was more finely balanced, but Stefan Bilyk scored the goal that gave Grantham the victory their efforts deserved on 72 minutes, when he toe-poked Lee Beeson's deep right wing cross into the back of the Stags goal via right hand upright, demonstrating two things; namely: The Stags development side are vulnerable from right wing crosses into the hole around their own penalty spot... and toepoked is a word that needs to be hyphenated when your laptop has got a decent spellcheck app downloaded onto it.
Finally, the Stags came to life, took the game to their hosts and upped the ante for the final ten minutes, but the Lincolnshire side defended well to repel a series of corners and crosses from both flanks.
And right at the death, Mansfield were denied the goal that would have pulled them level, by a great reflex save from Jake Turner, the Grantham keeper, who somehow kept Drew Gibson's thumping close range volley out.
If I'm being honest... and I really do strive to be when overviewing football matches for this blog... then a draw would not have been a fair result anyway, given the balance of play.
Well done Grantham, good luck for the season ahead and thanks for the warm welcome and friendly (but never hostil banter.
FT: Grantham Town 2 v Mansfield Town XI 1
Dear Highways agency roadworks co-ordination officer. Piss off! And leave the A1 around Retford well alone until after midnight, some of us want to get home at a reasonable hour. Stop it!