Another week at Field Mill and well, what a busy one it’s been! Reflecting on Saturday’s goalless draw with AFC Telford United, Paul Cox spoke to me with honesty on Monday morning saying his side must get back to basics ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bath City.
As we head into the Christmas Period (the coca-cola adverts on TV so it’s officially Christmas!) the Stags boss has been keen to add to his squad, on Tuesday he did so adding experienced defender John Dempster to the ranks on loan from Crawley. The 28 year old former Kettering captain joins on loan for three months and comes as a massive boost following the departure of Tom Naylor and Ben Futcher. Whilst some will wonder where the arrival of Dempster will leave Rhys Day, you can’t fault the capture of another dominant centre half who has achieved success with three of his former clubs, Rushden & Diamonds, Kettering Town and Crawley.
Away from first team affairs briefly as we enter Wednesday, our youth team continued their unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw at Boston United, Blake Vincent’s goal levelled the game in the second half after the young guns had fallen behind early on in the first half. The Stags point saw them stay top, however following a fixture today (Friday) involving second placed Ilkeston, the Stags young guns have been knocked off top spot and will fight to return there on Wednesday afternoon as they take on Fleetwood at Field Mill.
The Stags boss promised more signings following Dumpster’s arrival however with fans constantly pressing refresh on the official website, the next news to be revealed was Adam Smith’s departure on Wednesday. The 26 year old winger has again linked up with Aldershot on loan until January – in all honesty I don’t think he’ll be returning to Field Mill, I expect the move to become permanent. Adam’s a quality player on his day but sometimes ability and mindset are different things, would I like to see Adam in our side week in week out? Yes, but if moving him on free’s up money to bring in fresh talent with equal, if not better, ability – then I’m all for that. It’s not secret Adam was one of the highest earners at the club, one phrase will sum up the whole situation, it’s the one from Hot Fuzz – This move is “for the greater good” All the best Adam.
Smith’s departure until January of course frees up money, Paul Cox moved swiftly on ‘loan deadline day’ too bolster the squad with three signings. First Cox moved swiftly to add former Nottingham Forest youth teamer Nialle Rodney to the side, signing on a month’s loan from Bradford City. The 20 year old will add power and pace upfront and relieve the pressure on Matt Green’s shoulders, we need to play with flare and freedom up there, and personally I think that’s been missing. Questions will be raised towards the point of Louis Moults loan deal, perhaps he’s not done enough in training, perhaps he’s carrying a knock – we just don’t know. Louis a great talent, I thank him for his efforts and wish him well back at Stoke.
Thursday was a mental day as Rodney’s loan deal was signed sealed and delivered, Paul Cox and Micky Moore then worked wonders to bring a further two signings to the club, feeding on Kettering’s financial misery by bringing in poppies duo Aman Verma and Marcus Kelly. Both have joined initially on loan and will make the move permanent in January, penning 18 month deals. 24 year old Verma was of course part of Darlington’s FA Trophy winning side in May, the central midfielder could be thrown straight in as skipper Adam Murray is suspended for Saturday’s game. The addition of 25 year old Kelly is another positive move by Paul Cox, Kelly offers options at left back, left midfield and in the centre of the park, he comes highly recommended too having picked up Kettering’s player of the season award last season.
So four signings by Paul Cox takes our loan count up to seven, however BSBP rulings state you can only place five within your match day squad – so now the question remains, which loan players will miss out? My money would be on Louis Moult and John Dempster; I don’t see why Paul Cox would change a back four which managed to keep the Stags’ first clean sheet in 12 games last Saturday.
Louis Briscoe and Martin Riley both returned to training on Thursday, I see neither being involved on Saturday though, however I do see changes – expect Verma, Kelly and Rodney to debut. With skipper Murray suspended, we’re left wondering who will skipper the side, I’m sure John Thompson will be handed the armband to no complaints from players or supporters.
So that’s pretty much it for this week, be sure to join myself and Scott from 2PM tomorrow for our last broadcast on Takeover Radio, as the Stags head to rock bottom Bath City.
We are disappointed to announce that tomorrows broadcast of ‘MTFC MATTERS’ (Bath City Vs Stags), could be the last which is broadcast on our current host station, Takeover Radio 106.9FM unless the station can find fresh volunteers to help out in the studio on a match day.
We must stress that the station will continue to broadcast their usual shows and that tomorrow might not be the last game broadcast, however we (MTFC MATTERS) rely on a volunteer to be in the studio to help us broadcast – as of Monday, we will be struggling for a regular producer, with the station being a charity short of money, you can appreciate they are already understaffed.
As we cannot guarantee a producer every week, we feel it would be unfair to promise commentary via Takeover and then be unable to deliver it. This is the reason behind MTFC MATTERS releasing this statement, explaining the situation and appealing for help.
We are appealing to anyone over the age of 21 with a slight interest in radio to help out behind the scenes, those interested should contact Craig via email firstname.lastname@example.org – full training will be given.
Should we be unable to find a producer, either in a shared schedule or full time basis, we will be unable to broadcast on Takeover Radio 106.9FM – Until the situation is sorted, we have taken the decision to remove MTFC MATTERS from the Takeover schedule following Saturday’s game at Bath City, as we feel it would be unfair to promise coverage and be unable to deliver as mentioned above.
In the long term, we do have a ‘Plan B’ in place to continue MTFC MATTERS as an independent show/brand, all will be revealed in due course after we’ve spoken with the relevant parties and received confirmation of our plans.
We would like to thank you for your continued support and understanding during this difficult period, please stick with us via this website and our social networking pages. Please be assured we will work quickly to bring back MTFC MATTERS to air.
We hope you will join us on Takeover for the final time (for the time being hopefully!) tomorrow afternoon from 2PM, Craig Priest & Scott Rogers will have build up followed by full match commentary on Bath City Vs Stags.
Finally, we would like to wish John Wilkinson all the best in his new job which he starts on Monday and thank him for his efforts and dedication to the MTFC MATTERS and Takeover cause throughout the years, most notably his unseen efforts on May 7th when the Stags took on Darlington in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium.
Thanks again for the support and remember, if anyone can help in anyway – please contact Craig asap – email@example.com
Best Wishes - MTFC MATTERS team.
With no game to reflect on Monday morning, you could imagine how I was scratching my head wondering what to ask Paul Cox at the weekly press meeting. However after last week’s late addition of an open to the public friendly against Eastwood, I thought I’d see what chance John Thompson had of playing and possible grabbing his first start on Saturday at AFC Telford. The Stags boss confirmed to my trail of thought and revealed John Thompson would hopefully be playing against Eastwood – later that evening, Paul again confirmed John would play as I scribbled down the evening’s team news.
The Stags ran out 2-1 winners after turning the game on its head in the second half, Anthony Howell and former Badgers midfielder Lee Stevenson bagged goals for the stags after they’d conceded from a sloppy corner in the 14th minute. Thank you for listening to our special broadcast, I’m glad that the powers that be allowed us to broadcast as we try and cover every game possible.
It was also revealed on Monday that work had begun on ‘Plan B’ – improving facilities at Rainworth MW’s Kirklington Road ground, A lot had been thrown about regarding the political side of things, I’m not a politics man myself so will edge away from it, what I will say is – I’m happy things are starting to take place, if it allows us to get promise land of the football league, then for me, it’s a welcome move.
Back to the footballing side of things and on Tuesday it was confirmed that Tom Naylor’s deal to Derby County had finally been done, with the 20 year old joining the Rams on a 6 week loan with the option of a permanent move in the January window. Tom is the one remaining survivor from our previous academy and made his Mansfield debut at the end of our first season in the BSBP appearing alongside Scott Garner at Field Mill against Altrincham. Over three seasons Tom has made just over 20 appearances for us becoming more of a settled regular under Duncan Russell towards the tail end of last season, always playing with his heart on his sleeve – something which was proved in the away leg of our FA Trophy semi-final with Luton. Tom ran his socks off, covering every blade of grass and was the rock that helped drive us to Wembley stadium, the delight and pride he showed in his final celebration sprinting towards the Stags faithful was a joy to watch. On the big Wembley stags Tom again did us proud playing alongside veteran defender Steve Foster – it’s clear Tom was devastated at defeat as I’ve touched upon many times, including my review of the clubs great DVD ‘A406: The Road To Wembley’ I once interviewed Tom following the Luton away leg, he is a genuine lad who loves the club through and through, I personally wish him all the best – knowing full well that whatever shirt he’s wearing on match day, he’ll do Mansfield proud.
From one young gun to a full set now as we move onto Wednesday, our new look youth team smashed Newcastle Town 7-0 under the Field Mill lights to go top of the table. 14 minutes in Adam Somes bundled home from close range after Liam Marsden had put our very own Scott Rogers’ corner back into the box. Somes then headed down a long ball to set up Clayton Brown on the edge of the box, he smashed home the Stags second of the game two minutes after the first. After the half hour mark had passed, the young Stags soon added a third. Jack Hawkins weaved his way into the box and showed great persistence to feed Adam Somes, who delightfully turned and placed the ball into the top corner, Somes then completed his hat trick, firing home from the edge of the box following another Scott Rogers corner. Three wasn’t enough for Somes however, he grabbed a fourth lobbing the keeper following a Clayton Brown through ball with five minutes to go before the break. The young guns extended their lead to 6-0 two minutes before the half time whistle, Blake Vincent’s left sided cross fell kindly for Clayton Brown following poor defending, Brown smashed home for his second of the night. As I’m sure you’ll hear throughout tomorrow’s show – our Scott Rogers wrapped up the win two minutes from full time, firing home inside the box as the Stags pilled on the pressure.
Thursday’s press meeting saw a confident Rhys Day insist he was ready for his first start of the season, claiming the stags boss ‘Doesn’t need to sign anyone’ ahead of Saturday’s game, saying that he can fill the gap left by Ben Futcher, possibly alongside John Thompson with who he’s formed a strong partnership over the past few weeks.
No signings have arrived today (Friday) so maybe Rhys’ confidence has inspired the Stags boss to hand the welsh centre half a start. With Martin Riley ruled out, the only fit centre half that has featured this season is Ritchie Sutton, question is do you pair him with Day or Thompson and hope they gel? The other option is throw both Day & Thompson in together and either move Sutton to right back with O’Neill at left back and back from international duty loanee Freeman dropped or drop Sutton, keeping O’Neill at right back with Freeman at left back.
Paul Cox has hinted at playing Lindon Meikle upfront after an impressive performance against Nottingham Forest a few weeks ago, following Anthony Howells goal on Monday he too could be a contender for a place in the former place – Add to that Lee Stevenson’s impressive show, Paul Cox will have a selection headache on his hands. Find out tomorrow what he goes with, as myself and Scott Rogers will be LIVE from AFC Telford with full match commentary from 2PM. Listen on 106.9FM and on our MM-Live page!
Will three points and a clean sheet wrap up, another week following the Stags?
Another week reflecting on life at field mill and yet again it started on a negative, this time a 2-1 defeat at home to Cambridge United – report and podcast here. Whilst the performance was much improved from the showing away at Fleetwood and the home fixtures against Alfreton and Southport, it still wasn’t enough to send us home happy, in fact after the game things got heated as a tiny section of the crowd called for Paul Cox’s sacking, whilst another small party launched a personal attack at Ross Dyer and family in the club car park.
I’m not for a second here to write about that news in depth, nor do I agree with the views expressed or the actions taken, my point is that the cracks we’re beginning to show and that our beloved club was once again on the rocky road. During my interview with Paul Cox on Monday, he expressed views that the two week break would rejuvenate the squad and help us prepare for the next part of the season, whilst I fully agree that sometimes you need a break to be ready to start again, I’m actually drawn to something Adam Murray said at the fans forum later that night.
Comments were flying around the room about how frustrating it is to be playing Alfreton in a league fixture and that it’s simply too hard to accept – I fully agree that it is a bitter pill to swallow, however it’s the comments from our skipper in response to this; that put a lump in my throat.
“There has to be a sense of realism, at the minute we are where we, we’re in that situation and if we want to get out of it, it’s hard but we’ve got to forget the past. We have to say ‘We are Mansfield Town in the conference, let’s stick together and get out of it’ not ‘Well five years ago we was here and I wish we was back there because we had Liam Lawrence etc’ We haven’t got that now, we are here and we have to deal with this time and now otherwise it’s going to go on and on – that can’t happen (If we want to be a success).”
As captain and a player whose in his third spell at the club, Murray is a well respected figure who has the best interests of the club within his heart, sometimes you need these figures to put the truth on the line for the greater good, because people then realise he’s right and the domino effect begins, we understand our frustrating past and turn it into positive support – which is exactly what the boys need to go on a progress our club to the next level. I mentioned it on Stags Talk this week when I was invited on as a guest panellist; we have to use this break as a period to review our past, scribble down feelings on paper and then, in time for Saturday, burn the notes and clean the Stags soul of the dark cloud that looms above. There is no room for cracks appearing in our armoury because in this horrible league, other teams will use those cracks to break us even more – the tighter we are as a until, the further we will climb – fact.
Moving on from the fans forum, highlights of which are on the clubs official website, Paul Cox arranged a few behind closed doors friendly’s for the boys and a few trial players. On Tuesday we we’re beaten 3-0 by a very strong Northampton side, Rhys Day aided is road to full fitness with another 70 minutes, Adam Smith & Lee Stevenson also featured as the duo returned from their respective loans.
On Wednesday it was evening action for the Youth team, their fantastic form continued as they saw off Stalybridge Celtic by 5 goals to 1, climbing to second in the league standings and stretching there unbeaten start to six games. Striker Joe Flint opened the scoring two minutes in, heading home from a Scott Rogers corner, Flint put the stags back ahead with 21 minutes gone this time heading home a Marsden cross after the visitors had levelled the game from the spot on 13 minutes. The youngsters added a third thanks to Clayton Brown five minutes later, Brown headed home from Marsden’s deep free kick. Two more goals followed after the break, Likely scorer Adam Somes headed in his 11th of the season on 73 minutes after excellent work from Jack Hawkins. It was Hawkins that completed the scoring with eight minutes to go, arriving at the right time to tap home a pass from substitute Lewis Chambers.
Thursday saw the news again hit the lead lines that Tom Naylor looks set to be signing for Derby County in January, it appears papers are waiting to be signed however Paul Cox made it clear that until January arrives, Tom is very much a Mansfield Town player which was proved later in the day as he played 45 minutes in another behind closed doors friendly with Nottingham Forest. Former Reds defender Karlton Watson played on trial for Stags in the first half before being replaced by Ritchie Sutton at the break, Ross Dyer and Rhys Day were both on target for Mansfield however it wasn’t enough as the stags conceded three at the other end narrowly losing the game. Starting line up: Shane Redmond, Karlton Watson, Rhys Day, Tom Naylor, Luke O’Neill, Ross Dyer, Adam Murray, Paul Bolland, Lee Stevenson, Nick Hegarty, Matt Green. Used Subs: Ritchie Sutton, Andy Todd, Anthony Howell, Lindon Meikle and Louis Moult.
A fairly quiet Friday for a change has only been interrupted by the news a Stags 11 are to travel to Paul Cox’s former employers Eastwood Town on Monday night for an open to the public friendly. With the game open for public viewing, Takeover Radio 106.9FM will have full match commentary from 7.30PM with Craig & Scott.
A blank Saturday tomorrow before another week at the mill, stay tuned to find out what happens – Thank you for reading, have a good weekend, see you on Monday with LIVE commentary on Stags’ friendly with Eastwood Town.
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