Sky Bet League Two, Game 1 – Saturday 12th September 2020, The One Call Stadium [Behind Closed Doors]
After months of waiting and countless changes, Mansfield Town finally began their next chapter with a goalless draw with Tranmere Rovers.
The Stags put in a solid display and were very unlucky not to finish as winners, performing well in all areas of the pitch in a vast contrast to the previous season.
I actually hate comparing, it’s a completely different squad for a start – but it’s a natural thing to do to see just how far we’ve come and maybe even wet the appetite to see how far we could then go.
Nobody really knows that as yet but I’m certainly encouraged by our opening day display, the midfield especially providing that engine room we’ve lacked for a while, with seemingly new skipper Ollie Clarke at the very heart of that.
I’ve never really been a fact of stats, especially the public ones such as possession and shots on target – but I’d be very interested to see the ones the clubs’ analysist creates, such as the amount of times the midfield won play back and transitioned that into a chance – that’s something I noticed a lot with Clarke in particular on Tuesday, and something I think we’ll base our game around.
Many have said that Tranmere played for a draw, I slightly disagree as it takes away something from our defensive play – we we’re solid and dogged in protecting a clean sheet, something which should be the bare minimum expectation at home, let’s make the One Call a really difficult place for teams to come and build a psychological edge to our game.
Moving from back to front now, I guess you can be slightly disappointed by our lack of finishing, but most importantly we got the ball into good areas and created chances – we’ve had one come back off of the bar, forced a few good blocks and really made the visitors work for their clean sheet.
Those chances will come good with sharpness and partnerships developing.
Notable mentions should goto Cook and O’Keeffe alongside Clarke – Cook has lost weight and looks hungry to succeed for the Stags this term, he was very impressive with his overall work rate, creating some key chances – whilst O’Keeffe played well down the right and really gives us some attacking flair, balanced well with a good defensive display.
We’ve still got other players to come in and make an impact, we’re not the finished product by far but for an opening day it’s pleasing. I guess it’s like baking a Victoria Sponge for the first time, it’s come out OK and tastes nice – but with a bit of extra care and experimenting, will leave those eating desperate for the next slice, rather than being content with just the one.
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Marek Stech | Rollin Menayese, Farrend Rawson, Ryan Sweeney | Corey O’Keeffe, Ollie Clarke © George Maris, Mal Benning | Harry Charsley (Tyrese Sinclair 83) | Andy Cook, Jordan Bowery (Nicky Maynard 75)
Unused Subs: Aidan Stone, Kellan Gordon, James Perch, Aaron O’Driscoll, Jamie Reid
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