Thursday, 27 July 2017

Clipstone 3 v Mansfield Town U21 2 - PSF

Thursday 27the July 2017
at the WVH Stadium/Lido Ground
Pre Season Friendly
Clipstone FC (1) 3
Tim Gregory 34
Adam Somes 87 pen,
Gareth Curtis 89
Mansfield Town U21 (1) 2
Cameron Healey 10
Jordan Graham 72
Admission £3
You never lose it pal.
The legend that is Michael Whitlow.
Tonight's Stags squad was made up of what constituted as players from last season's title winning Under 18 team, who are still at the club, a couple of decent prospects from Mansfield Town's Brooksby Academy (second year) side and two very useful looking newish additions in Lewis Collins (no silly, not that one) and Jordan Graham, who both put it really solid performances over the ensuing ninety minutes.
It was Collins who got the ball rolling for the opening goal, digging it out in a midfield tussle, before laying the ball out wide to Teddy Bloor who tore off down the right flank before drilling a low cross across the Cobras area that Cameron Healey met with a thumping shot into the bottom right hand corner.
The sun was shining and the banter flowed with the Mansfield Incorrigible Ladies Firm (or Milfs as they are more commonly known), who I spent many an enjoyable hour with on my tour of obscure football enclosures over the last two seasons with the Stags youth team. They're complete headcases, which is probably why we all get along so well.
The Stags captain, Tyler Blake (who by way of a coincidence played one game for Clipstone last season) led the attack, in tandem with Jordan Graham, while Zayn Hakeem tucked in behind them, with Ali Smith and Collins flanking him and Healey covering box to box duties a few yards behind the youngster with the shoutiest parent at the club.
Pre season preparations have obviously been going well for Mike Whitlow's team, who purred into action like a well tuned Rolls Royce engine, while threatening to rack up a whole load of goals, but the Clipstone defence had other ideas and dug in to repel a wave of attacks, with Jacob Lowe in particular making a couple of timely interceptions.
The paucity of incisive final touches around the hosts goalmouth, wasn't too much of a concern for the visitors while they were enjoying most of the possession, but as often happens when a team doesn't make the most of their chances, they get floored by an unexpected sucker punch... and after the Cobras had enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy themselves, Mansfield made hard work of clearing a left wing corner, that Tim Gregory met at the back stick with a powerful header into the roof of the net in the thirty fourth minute.
Hakeem, whose hard work training to build up his  fitness during the short Summer break is evidently reaping results, left a clutch of players struggling to catch up in his slip stream and put the ball on a plate for Graham, who finished well but was denied by a brilliant reflex by Andy Francis down to his right.
With half time approaching, the Stags upped the tempo as they sought to regain their lead before the break, but Francis did well to keep another shot from Thomas out, despite it taking a wicked deflection right in front of the Cobras keeper.
Collins showed good feet and some irresistible close skill, before dropping a weighted ball into the path of Thomas, who smashed the ball into the darkening night sky as the first half came to a close.
HT: Cobras 1 v Stags 1 
Gary Doncaster, who had suffered the outrageous slings and arrows of misfortune with brass knobs on, when I had last watched him between the sticks for Clipstone against Shirebrook Town earlier this month, came on for the second half, but the diminutive 'Donk' had put that particular nightmarish experience behind him and actually played really well tonight, to shut up the big gob on the sidelines who had mocked his lack of height with a taunt of "Welcome to Lilliput goalie", when he assumed his position.
Hakeem broke free down the left flank with a lung busting run, but as he turned towards the Clipstone goal found that the home side were defending in packs and he was crowded out. The same happened to Ali Smith when the ball broke free to him from Collins' left wing corner too.
The Cobras had looked like a bit of a pushover when Shirebrook visited them, but they have certainly been working hard to fix any failings that they showed that night.
But the law of averages dictates that if you keep peppering the oppositions goalmouth with crosses and through balls, eventually... Bloor put a cross into the mix, Clipstone failed to clear it and Thomas put the Stags back in front on the half volley from just inside the Clipstone area.
Sam Wilson saved a spanking shot from Rob Paling, before play switched back to the other end and Collins smashed the ball against the left hand upright from just outside the area.
The home side broke forward from Doncaster's long kick, but Adam Somes missed an absolute sitter from close range. 
Though the Cobras striker hadn't exactly been sin binned earlier in the game, but it had been suggested by the match officials, to the home sides manager, Ian Cotton, that the player might benefit from taking a break from the action for a while after a couple of 'challenges'.
Sadly for the visitors he came back on and his impact right at the death was immense.
Somes is indeed a decent and very powerful player, but sometimes his temperament lets him down.
Back in amongst the thick of it, Somes was doing what he does best, i.e. demonstrating a single minded determination to get to the visitors goal in a straight line, regardless of who or what happened to get in his path. 
He muscled his way through the right channel and crashed the ball across the face of the Stags goal, where it struck Kane Baldwin, who was guarding the near post, on the shoulder (that'll leave a bruise in the morning) and in spite of the fact that the young Stags defender couldn't get out of the way of the ball, a penalty was awarded... and Somes thumped the resulting spot kick home, off of the underside of Wilson's crossbar, with just three minutes remaining.
The Stags were going to be left to rue not applying the finishing touch to the string of chances, that went begging in the first half a hour of the game and when Hakeem pushed forward straight from the restart and caught 'Donk' who was advancing from his line, stranded in no man's shot with a well struck long range effort, that skimmed inches, nee millimetres wide even, it looked as though the visitors were going to have to settle for a draw.
Rumour says that the strapping on his wrist
was caused by an extreme solo sex incident
But inside the last minute, Somes, the former Stags youth team player, who was on the verge of turning pro before falling out with the club, had other ideas. 
As he advanced towards Mansfield's crowded goalmouth, he slipped the ball to Gareth Curtis who, not to put too fine a point on it, belted the bloody thing, bulged the back of the net with a thumping shot and claimed the victory for the NCEL Premier Division side.
FT: Clipstone 3 v Mansfield Town XI 2
Tonight's lesson mien Stags brethren, is stay focused until the final whistle and pay double the amount of attention that you usually would to any striker who used to play for you and possibly still feels that he had a point to prove.
A decent night all told, even though I never enjoy seeing any Stags side lose, it was an entertaining game and Clipstone FC were great hosts.