Thursday, 30 July 2015

Shirebrook Town 4 v Mansfield Town XI 0 - PSF

Thursday 30th July 2015
at Langwith Road, Shirebrook
Shirebrook Town (3) 4
Blake Owen 10, Richard Mintoft 35,
OG? 43, Jamie Smith 89
Mansfield Town XI (0) 0
Admission £3/£1
Ta very much to Chris Millington
It's not even August yet and I have already visited Langwith Road three times this season.
If that's penance, then I must be repenting for having been really naughty in a previous life.
Although the Stags fielded a youthful line up and it was quite literally a case of men v boys all over the Langwith Road pitch tonight, that shouldn't detract from the result gained by and the performance put in by Shirebrook, particularly in the first half when they built up a thoroughly deserved three goal cushion before the break.
When you are a spritely teenage prospect, who usually pits his wits against similar opposition from the academies of other Football League clubs, then it must be a pretty steep learning curve to come up against a no nonsense 'firm but fair' centre half such as Paul Sykes.
Welcome to the real world of men's football!
Devante Reittie troubled the home side's keeper a couple of times and Louis Danquah almost grabbed a goal for the Stags (and looked to have done from some angles) when he shot into the side netting, but it was Chris Millington's side who were finding their range inside the last third.
The highly rated young Mansfield custodian Sam Wilson, who hereby wins the award for pulling the scariest face seen at a football match in Shirebrook all night, showed again why so many local talent spotters are turning out to run the rule over him, with a string of decent stops, but he could only do so much as Mansfield withstood a lot of pressure from the NCEL Division 1 hosts.
Shirebrook took the lead after ten minutes, when Blake Owen was given a second chance to knock the ball home from close range after his initial effort had been blocked.
Richard Mintoft added a second on 35 minutes when he shot across the face of the goal from a very tight angle out on the right byline.
And just before half time a Shirebrook player (???) at the far end of the pitch from me, unleashed a shot from just outside the box, that took enough of a deflection en route to crossing the line to be deemed an own goal. Nobody has stepped forward to claim the 'assist' so I guess we'll never know, eh!?
As is the norm at this stage of warm up matches during pre season preparations, managers like to give all of the players available to them a run out, so the frequent swapping and changes disrupted the flow and the game became a bit of a scrappy, stop/start affair after the break.
Shirebrook already had the game won anyway and the side Mansfield finished the half with seemed to be content with containing their opponents while leaving one man up front.
Jamie Smith added a fourth goal in the final minute that had a few comedy elements attached to it, with the Mansfield defence all stood ball watching as it rebounded off the post and trickled back towards the field of play, Jamie Smith dashed forward and got to it first before sweeping the ball into the exposed Stags net.
FT: Shirebrook Town 4 v Mansfield Town XI 0
You can only beat what is in front of you and  credit to Shirebrook grafted well for this thoroughly deserved win, while the Mansfield youth side will have learnt a few valuable lessons from being given a bit of a going over... but that is what these games are all about. Aren't they?
The Stags first team have a behind closed door friendly against West Bromwich Albion to look forward to next, while a mixture of experienced players and academy lads head for Heanor Town next Tuesday night. Shirebrook Town on the other hand, have a home friendly against Worksop Town on Saturday.