Monday, 28 December 2015

Mansfield Town 2 v York City 2 - SkyBet League 2

Monday 28th January 2015
at the One Call Stadium (Field Mill)
SkyBet (Football League) League
Mansfield Town (1) 1
Krystian Pearce 31
York City (1) 1
Dave Winfield 10
Admission £18. Programme £3.
Attendance 3958 (635 from York)
Mansfield Town
Jensen, Rose, Pearce, Collins, Chapman, Clements, Green, Westcarr (Yussuf 78), Blair (N Thomas 56’), Lambe, Adams
Unused subs - Shearer, Beardsley, Tafazolli, J Thomas, McGuire
York City:
Flinders, Ilesanmi, Berrett, Nolan, Summerfield, Oliver, Penn, Winfield, Boyle, Fewster (Carson 76’), Galbraith
Unused subs - Ingham, Straker, Swan, Godfrey, McEvoy, Kitching
The Stags final game of 2015 was played at the One Call Stadium this afternoon, where they have rather alarmingly only won three of their home games thus far this season.
Psychologically it is a mindset that they must snap out of ASAP and they have the opportunity to tackle this unwanted habit immediately, because Adam Murray's side are at home on the first two Saturday's of the New Year too, against Accrington Stanley (2nd January) and Stevenage (9th January).
At the outset of the season I predicted that the Stags wouldn't be involved in a relegation battle this season (and they definitely won't be) and that they would finish round about the halfway position in the table.
Four months in, it needs to be said, that if they could match their away form when they turn out in front of their home crowds, they could actually aspire to greater heights. Today's performance was hopefully not an indicator for what is still to come this season. The Stags have the players within their ranks who can do so much better, but they need to start proving it more regularly.
At times today, Mansfield looked disjointed, stifled by their own fear of failure in front of their own fans, too tentative and severely short of any inclination to put League 2 strugglers York City under the cosh.
The Stags were the better side all told, over the duration of the ninety minutes; but that is probably just a more polite way of trying to say... the visitors were even more awful.
As early as the first five minutes it looked as though the Minstermen would've been happy with a 0-0 draw and were already running the clock down, when the referee had to warn their goalkeeper Scott Flinders about time wasting.
But although they weren't ever going to be ripping any trees up and putting the home side to the sword, York took the lead on ten minutes with a bit of a fluke goal; but they all count.
Luke Summerfield (below) hoisted a long free kick into the Mansfield area that bounced up just in front of the six yard box and when Dave Winfield couldn't get enough contact on the ball to change it's trajectory, it nestled in the back of the net with Brian Jensen and his defence completely wrong footed and deceived by the flight of the ball.
If Winfield had put his foot through it, Jensen was well placed to make a save, but hey ho! These things happen.
Anyway Jensen had the opportunity to redeem himself with the critics in the stand who were quick to blame him for the goal, when he showed no small amount of agility to claw Vadaine Oliver's dipping header away and over the bar.
Chapman went close with a twenty yard free kick as Mansfield pushed for an equaliser and Matty Blair had a shot deflected over after evading three tackles, before they were level on 31 minutes when Krystian Pearce headed into the bottom left hand corner of Flinders goal from Chapman's right wing corner.
The turning point, where Mansfield got to grips with the game and upped the ante, err... didn't happen!
HT: Stags 1 v Minstermen 1
During the interval, the strains of 'Roadrunner' by Johnathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, boomed out over the public address system, which apart from Pearce's headed goal was the highlight of the afternoon so far.
The Stags looked better in the second half.
Nowhere near up to full speed but there was a marked improvement on their first half showing.
Matt Green appeared to have won a penalty when he was wrestled to the ground between two York defenders, but the ref had obviously read the recent rule updates that the FA have issued and was aware of the new amendment that Greco Roman wrestling techniques are permitted to restrain players in the eighteen yard box, on the proviso that it is a bank holiday.
At least all three teams, including the match officials, were all getting an off day out of their system at the same time.
The introduction of Nathan Thomas in the 56th minute, heralded an improved spell of play for Mansfield and Reggie Lambe was having a decent enough game too, and for a while it looked as though the Stags were overcoming their 'One Call Stadium jitters', but as Thomas rolled an inch perfect pass across the face of York's goal, Green managed to knock the ball over, off the crossbar from no more than a foot out.
The current critical estimation of Matt Green is a subject that is dividing opinion among Stags fans; half of them are backing him to recapture the kind of form he showed when he helped to shoot Mansfield back into the Football League, the other 50% who are far more vocal, obviously have no room for any such sentiments in their hearts. "Get off his back!" somebody called out, before adding the acidic barb "It's someone else's turn for a donkey ride!"
I feel compelled to add, that I don't subscribe to the latter camps theory and would like to point out that Green won the fans player of the month last month. He is a confidence player and the manager keeping faith in him should be the spark that ignites his return to form. Just maybe it might be the right time for him to be 'rested', but I'm backing Green to regain his form any time soon.
Thomas drilled a shot narrowly wide and Lambe saw his effort crash off the bar as the home side picked up their momentum, but as the clock ticked down, the cautious approach returned and Mansfield had seemingly settled for a point, when they really ought to have been forcing the issue today.
Right at the death, there was almost a twist in this tale, when York's Russell Penn hit an ambitious shot from all of thirty five yards out, that flew inches wide of the post. That would've really hurt.
FT: Mansfield Town 1 v York City 1
Happy New Year to all of my pals at MTFC, see you in 2016.