Monday, 13 July 2015

Retford United 1 v Mansfield Town XI 0 - PSF

Monday 13th July 2015
PSF at Cannon Park
Retford United (0) 1
Adam Lee 76
Mansfield Town XI (0) 0
Attendance 138
Admission £5/£2. No programmes, free team sheets
Retford started the game on the front foot.
But once the young Stags side got going, if truth be told, had it not been for some steadfast defending from the home side's back line and one top draw save by Dave Reay from Corban Shires goalbound header, then the game would (and should) been over as a contest by half time, given how dominant the away side were in spells.
The Badgers goal led a charmed life at times in the first half, but if this fledgling Mansfield squad players have taken anything from tonight, they will have learned a valuable lesson, inasmuch as, no matter how well you play and how many chances you create, goals win games. 
Of course, at this level it is all about player development, not results, especially in friendly games, but I would imagine that the Stags lads will be feeling despondent about not having won tonight. 
Not that I want to take anything away from Retford defence, who dealt very well with a first half onslaught and deserve a lot of credit for staying focussed and repelling wave after wave of Mansfield attacks.
The home side made a real go of it after the break and early in the second half Shires had to be alert when he made a last ditch clearance, after the Stags keeper Adam Bishop had been beaten all ends up.
Mansfield went down the other end and back on the attack again straight after their close call, but from then on in their forward play became more sporadic, as Retford decided they had been giving the young Stags too much time and space and set about imposing themselves on the game a 'little' more robustly.
Some people were of the opinion that United were possibly a bit too intent on indulging in the physical stuff, particularly in a friendly match. While others said the visitors should toughen up and get on with it because it is a 'man's game'.
Me? All I will say, from a position of (almost) complete neutrality, is that the Stags were certainly knocked out of their stride by a few heavy challenges. But, if you go running amok and passing your opponents off of the pitch, by rule of thumb they will invariably want to save face and bring you down a peg a two, in the time honoured way.
Retford's attempts to close the visitors down, may not have wooed the purists, but they proved to be very effective and while the Stags could claim that they were bullied out of the game, as opposed to having been beaten fairly and squarely, they maybe should shoulder at least some of the blame for this defeat themselves, for failing to put the finishing touches to the one way traffic lion's share of possession they enjoyed for around thirty five minutes of the first half.
If football ever stopped being a contact sport with 'real' tackles it would be all the poorer for it. Thundering slide tackles and 'winning' the ball in a firm but fair manner from behind your opponent have already been outlawed, so please, lets not make the game any more 'tippy tappy', eh!?
Adam Lee pounced to take advantage of a misunderstanding between Craig Spencer and Adam Bishop, to put Retford ahead on 76 minutes.
Geed up by going a goal ahead the home side upped the ante and were, perhaps, in the ascendancy for the remainder of the game as the youthful visitors looked like a side who knew they were beaten, but who also knew they wouldn't have been in this position if they had been more assertive in the first half. But pre season friendlies are the place to learn these things and if the lesson was taken on board, then no harm done.
FT: Retford United 1 v Mansfield Town XI 0
Last of the Summer Wine