Saturday, 30 July 2016

Worksop Town 1 v Mansfield Town 3 - PSF

Saturday 30th October 2016
at the Windsor Foodservice Stadium
Pre-Season Friendly
Worksop Town (0) 1
Mitch Husbands 72
Mansfield Town (0) 3
Lee Collins 47
Chris Clements 62
Zayn Hakeem 87
Admission £5. Programme £1. Attendance 558
Where's Wally?
A curious post match phenomena broke out, whereby supporters from both clubs spoke openly about how happy they had been with their own teams performance; but appeared to think that the opposition hadn't played particularly well, and rubbished their neighboring teams performance and ambitions for the season ahead, in their respective leagues.
By way of an analogy, to explain why so many people from each camp suffered from a pretty severe case of tunnel vision and bias, topped off with a plague like epidemic of verbal diarrhea (I am pretty sure that there used to be a letter o in that word, though my PC spellcheck begs to differ), is that the vast majority of those present were actually genuine and loyal football supporters of a very partisan nature, who have followed their teams through some fairly thin and wafer thin times.
And as a consequence, both camps have developed a very healthy (in my humble opinion) siege mentality and 'us against the world' mindset. Hence nobody was here to coo over the relative merits of the opposition, or exchange pleasantries, each and every person present was here to check out how their own team was progressing on the eve of a new football season and the 'other lot' might as well have been invisible for all that anyone present cared.
Both teams have a good number of outspoken supporters who don't bother with any airs and graces when it comes to aiming barbed criticism at their own chosen club, but woe betide any outsider who pours scorn on those very same targets.
It isn't such a bad thing in my opinion that Mansfield and Worksop people share this same trait and don't do things by half measures.
As the saying goes: Football opinions are like eggy trumps, people can only tolerate the whiff of their own.
But for purposes of clarity, it is important to establish the facts from a point of complete neutrality, so, for the record: Mansfield Town were the better team and they won comfortably, at a canter even... and that must be true because it is on the internet now... so there! ;-)
Both mangers seemed to be pleased with their players efforts and I offer the following questions to those fans who thought that either team was crap today:
If, as it was claimed in the clubhouse after the game: "Mansfield weren't up to much, they didn't create 'owt", then why was the Tigers evergreen goalkeeper, Jon Kennedy, selected as man of the match? An accolade that does actually suggest that he must have been fairly busy all afternoon... and where did the three goals come from if they weren't creating chances?
Sun, fresh air and beer... Wad a recipe for forty winks zzzzzzzz!
A visitor from Mansfield, one of a disproportionate amount of people called Eric in the bar at the time, suggested that "Worksop had nothing in their tank, we won that in second gear and over ran them".
Well that isn't true either.
The NCEL side shut out their English Football League Division 2 visitors altogether in the first half and they only made sure of the victory when their substitute from straight out of the Under 18 ranks: Zayn Hakeem, netted his first goal for the Stags shortly before the end of the game.
Today was the best that I have seen the Tigers play this pre-season so far. Though to be fair, they were fairly average, pedestrian and if truth be told; fairly woeful the last time I watched them... not that they really needed to be anything special during their friendly games ahead of the proper stuff that commences next weekend.
All told, the 1-3 final scoreline was a fair outcome to this game, given the that balance of play overall balanced onto the Stags side of the scales and the visitors created a greater number of clear cut chances than Mark Shaw's side as the 90 minutes unfolded.
The link up play with Matt Green from Rhys Bennett, out on the right flank, looks promising... and Green was unlucky to see his attempted header go just wide of the post early on.
Mitchell Rose (twice), Mal Benning (twice) and Chris Clements (twice) all went close to breaking the first half deadlock for Mansfield.
Kevan Hurst was delivering a steady supply of ammunition into Worksop's final third and Jon Kennedy had already done enough to prevent the game being over as a contest by half time.
The Tigers best chance in the first half came via a long free kick, from the former Retford United winger Adam Scott, but his effort sailed high and wide of the target.
Right on half time Hurst saw off three challenges but having made himself the time and space to score, lifted the ball over both Kennedy and the crossbar and the Tigers captain did well to save Clements free kick from 20 yards.
HT: 0-0
The second half was less than two minutes old when Collins diverted Hurst's corner through a crowded goalmouth and into the back of the net.
Two former Stags youngsters, Adam Somes and Jack Hawkins, who must have been relishing turning out against their old team combined but as the latter crossed to the former, he turned the ball narrowly over the bar.
"He's only four feet four, he'll break your ****ing jaw!" sang the Worksop faithful, by way of a tribute to their diminutive play maker. It would have been interesting to see how Jack's dad might have reacted if his son had just scored for the opposition, because Mark Hawkins is a director at Mansfield Town.
I tried, but failed miserably to keep on top of listing all the substitutions that were being made in quick succession, moments before Bennett dribbled his way towards the Tigers goal from out on the right flank before delivering a well weighted pass to Clements, who crashed the ball past Kennedy to double the Stags lead.
Mikey Fereday went close for Worksop, when he turned well inside the Stags penalty area before forcing a save out of Scott Shearer, who up until that point hadn't exactly been overworked.
But having fired a friendly warning shot across the Stags bows, Worksop attacked again and Mitch Husbands thumped the ball past Shearer from close range after the visitors defence indulged in a game of 'after you'.
Stop trying to hide at the back Mr Eyre, this lens will always find you ;-)
"Football League? You're having a laugh!" sang the 'Tigers Barmy Army' oblivious to the fact that just moments before they had pulled a goal back, along with Jamie Maguire, the Stags manager (and for a short time a Worksop Town player) Adam Murray had unleashed his secret weapon from the bench. Ladies and gentlemen make way for a young man who is about to become a household name by virtue of his prowess in front of goal in the colours of Mansfield Town... Barry Crease!!! Err, hang on a minute, I meant... Zayn Hakeem!!!
I left my seat and moved behind the goal with Zayn's number one fan. "We can see you sneaking out!" shouted the Tigers matchday secretary and all round decent bloke Paul Stacey as we passed by. "No Paul, we're just going around there to get some pictures of Zayn scoring" I replied.
I wasn't joking pal, here they are:
The Stags won a corner kick out on the left and Pat Hoban stood over the ball waiting to take it.
Young Mr Hakeem appeared to be walking away from the goal, thus hoodwinking the Tigers right back and keeper into thinking he was just wandering around aimlessly and they didn't pick him up.
But quick as a flash as Hoban delivered a pinpoint cross to the near post, Zayn turned on a sixpence, darted into the space and forced the ball over the line. A superb piece of trickery on the part of the striker who has just progressed to the first team out of the Under 18 side, had effectively killed the game off.
Left click on the picture to enlarge it and check out the despairing actions of the full back who had just fallen for the routine hook line and sinker.
Hoban almost added a fourth just before the final whistle, but the Stags had to settle for the 3-1 win today and to be honest, Worksop didn't deserve to concede four, given how hard their defence had worked, particularly in the first half and how well man of the match Jon Kennedy had played.
FT: Worksop Town 1 v Mansfield Town 3
Cheer up Mr Tigerpants, you can't win 'em all
Two Stags wins this morning in Peterborough... and one in Worksop this afternoon. Today was being good to me so far, well at least it was until I reached my car and found that somebody had stoved one of the windows in.
Sadly, I am now minus one small (empty) camera case and a phone charger... and I won't be heading to Doncaster Belles v Birmingham City Ladies this evening any more for the 6.30pm kick off.
But even I can see the funny side, pertaining to the musical tastes of the sneak thief, who hadn't taken any of my CD's that were strewn all over the passenger seat.
I guess nobody likes David Essex, ELO, 10CC and Gilbert O'Sullivan any more, in this day and age.