Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Mansfield Town 0 v Cambridge United 4 - EFL League 2

Tuesday 17th September 2019
SkyBet EFL League Two
at Field Mill/the One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town (0) 0
Cambridge United (0) 4
Jack Roles 74, 
Sam Smith 86, 
George Maris 90, 
Reggie Lambe 90+5 pen
Attendance: 3,567 (181 away)
Thanks to Dan Westwell, for the original versions
of the photos that I've used to break up the monotony
of the barely literate text contained within this blog.
Mansfield Town:
Logan, Benning (Cook 81), Preston, Pearce (C), Bishop, Shaughnessy, Sweeney, Gordon (Khan 86), Hamilton, Sterling-James (MacDonald 75), Rose
Unused subs - Stone, Mellis, Afolayan, Smith.
Cambridge United:
Mitov, Knoyle, Taft, Taylor (C), Hannant (Dunk 53), Maris, Darling, Richards, Lambe, Smith (Dallas 89), Lewis (Roles 71)
Unused subs - Burton, Ibehre, Knibbs, Ward.
Colin Calderwood
Four goals inside the final sixteen minutes of this helter-skelter ride of a game, propelled Colin Calderwood's mid-table Cambridge United up to eighth in the table, while the Stags slumped in the opposite direction, to eighteenth place, five points behind tonight's victors and six above the solitary League Two relegation berth.
Calderwood actually started his playing career at Mansfield Town, from whom he was transferred to Swindon Town in 1985 for tribunal set transfer fee of £27,500. Subsequently, a sell on clause in the deal, meant that Mansfield Town received a further payment in 1993, when Osvaldo Ardilles paid £1.25million to take him to Tottenham Hotspur.
Tonight, the hosts were the better of the two sides during an opening forty five minutes, that saw: Ryan Sweeney, Krystian Pearce and CJ Hamilton (twice) all going close to breaking the deadlock. 
But the pendulum swung sharply the other way just after half time, when Matt Preston was deservedly red carded, for a reckless, dangerous, brutal and downright bloody brainless lunge, at Luke Hannant.
It was Preston's second straight red card this season.
To my way of thinking, his attitude demonstrates that he couldn't give a f*ck about the team he plays for, nor his fellow professionals, his beleaguered manager, the club owners and directors who pay him a handsome salary, or the supporters who stump up their hard earned cash to follow their team, week in, week out... who, to compound matters, he dismissed flippantly with a thumbs up gesture as he left the field of play.
While Mansfield were regrouping after Preston's dismissal, Marc Richards almost put the visitors ahead, but couldn't quite keep his effort on target, as the Stags faithful breathed a collective sigh of relief.
John Dempster
But Cambridge were soon making good of their numerical advantage... and in the seventy fourth minute, Jack Roles hooked a shot into the bottom left hand corner of Conrad Logan's net, after the ball found it's way out to him, after Richards had headed against the bar and the Stags failed to clear their lines.
Danny Rose almost equalised straight after United's opener, but Dimitar Mitov fielded the effort well.
As the game entered the final five minutes, Andy Cook, who'd just entered the fray from the subs bench, was put through on goal, as Rose undid the visitors back-line with a well executed back-heel, but Cook took a touch too many and squandered a great chance.
Within moments of Cook's profligacy in front of the visitors goal, play switched ends and Cambridge doubled their advantage, when CJ Hamilton scuffed a half hearted attempted clearance from a George Maris ball into the Stags area, right into the path of Sam Smith, who gratefully added the finishing touch from fifteen yards out.
Things went from bad to worse as the roof caved in on Mansfield, when Andrew Dallas advanced into the home sides area, through the right channel, before drilling a sideways ball across the face of the goal, that Logan inadvertently pushed towards Maris, who couldn't (and didn't) miss from just outside the six yard box, despite having to deal with the close attentions of Krystian Pearce.
Deep into stoppage time, Kyle Knowle put a deep cross into the Stags area from out on the right and as Otis Khan challenged Harrison Dunk beyond the back post, the visitors number eleven was knocked to the ground and the referee, Darren Handley, blew up and pointed to the penalty spot.
Reggie Lambe planted the ball firmly towards the left hand side of the goal, while Logan dived in the opposite direction... game over!
FT: Mansfield Town 0 v Cambridge United 4
If Matt Preston had not launched himself into that crazy challenge just after the break, while the Stags were still in the ascendancy, or if Andy Cook hadn't missed the sitter of a chance that Danny Rose set up for him, when the visitors were still only one goal in front; then I doubt very much if Cambridge would've enjoyed anything like the kind of final result, that the chain of unfortunate events tonight culminated in for the Stags. Even though the the visitors were the better side for the final half a hour or so, following Preston's dismissal.

But, the crux of the matter is: the Field Mill natives are getting (very) restless (yet again)... and their frustration turned into anger tonight, that rapidly spread through the stands towards the end of the game... with most of the vocal barbs and invective being aimed directly at John Dempster himself, including a few taunts that went far and beyond what should ever be deemed as acceptable, in any setting, even when the emotions of partisan football fans are running especially high.
Surely nobody really wants the Stags manager to die, do they!?
Perhaps some people need a timely reminder, that they're all actually on the same side... and that while-soever there are divisions and disparate camps emerging, the club is effectively being conquered from within... when surely, closing ranks, adopting a siege mentality... and not turning on an individual who is most definitely proven as being 'one of your own', is far more likely to provide solutions, that will ultimately be for the betterment of all concerned.
The hostile reactions on a selection of internet forums, and online supporters groups, grew worse as the night wore on too, when the angry mob swelled in size, as numerous people queued up to have a pop at just about anyone and everyone connected to the club, who, those among the vexatious hordes, had deemed to be legitimate targets. But it needs to be asked: were any of them really fair game?
Or is there possibly a clique of people who are driven by their own hate fuelled, myopic agendas putting the boot in?
Sadly, that kind of mindset is endemic, across this disunited nation of ours in the current political climate... but don't worry, I'm not going to mention that B-word at this juncture.
I wouldn't suggest for a single moment, that anybody in the public eye should be exempt from, or immune to, any kind of criticism... but a large number of people, seem to have collectively lost their sense of all proportion and failed to keep a grip on even the most tenuous kind of reality or perspective, as regards the current situation at Mansfield Town FC.
It's not a great time at Field Mill the moment, I grant you, but there were several unpleasant moments tonight, when it felt like I had inadvertently arrived at a public hanging, where the victim of the piece was being sized up for a noose, while the actual villain, had left the crime scene and was well out of the line of fire, luxuriating in an early bath. Just saying.
Back in the real world, Cambridge will be looking to consolidate their promotion push at the weekend, when Swindon Town visit the Abbey Stadium, while Mansfield face an awkward away game at Port Vale. 
No-one ever said it was gonna be easy!