Sky Bet League Two, Saturday 21st August – One Call Stadium | Mansfield Town 2 (Hawkins x2) Bradford City 3
Scoring twice at home should, nine times out of ten, ensure victory – however old habits refuse to go away for Mansfield Town as old acquaintances played a pivotal part in Bradford City inflicted the Stags’ first defeat of the season – coming from 2-1 down to win 3-2.
Boss Nigel Clough was not a happy man at the full time whistle and refreshingly threw his players under the bus for throwing away the lead – Elliott Hewitt in particular will have wanted to avoid the interview, accused of being “very good friends” with Bradford winger, because he [Hewitt] “has not tackled him all game”!
Clough also quested Rawson and the defence for not doing their jobs, and he’s right – again far too many times, balls were pumped forward from the opposition keeper and getting in behind, whilst every time Bradford came down their left hand side, they looked dangerous and sliced us apart.
You can’t give wingers that much space because eventually they’ll get shots off and we’ll get punished, he’s unmarked for Bradford’s second goal, and for the third, is allowed to step inside and get a good shot off, which is saved well by Bishop – but followed up instinctively by Andy Cook – who was destined to score against his former club!
I felt at the other end that we were a little timid at times, we didn’t test the keeper enough who was susceptible to spilling the ball and miss-kicking, yet the pressure on him was minimal.
Hawkins was fantastic and as expected, hungry after missing out at Colchester, both goals showed what a competent all-rounder he is, peeling off at the far post to head home Ollie Clarke’s thunderous cross, dropping back into a pocket of space to volley home the second.
In midfield I have little complaints, it’s a shame Maris picked up a knock and probably should have gone off earlier, but Stirk is a good young player with a calmness and composure that we need – I’m looking forward to seeing more of him, and to see what the returning Charsley can add to the mix and dynamic upon his return.
A manager pulling no punches can go one of two ways, but we’re not here to be wrapped in cotton wool, we’re set up to be successful and to be fair, were going forward – but the overall success rate is measured by EVERYONE doing their jobs and not making stupid, timid, school boy errors.
We are STILL screaming out for a commanding central defender to come in and take command of that back line, Clough said we’re getting closer last week, but with the window closing soon, we need to push on and get it sorted.
Right now we’ve got a gazebo up to protect us from the rain – it’s doing it’s job, but it’s not firm or stable enough to withstand a strong wind – if we want to compete for that top seven, we need to address that, because (and this is not the defeat talking) we’re not stable enough to go the distance with what we have.
A week to stew, a week to argue, fight and put it right – watch out Swindon, there SHOULD be a Stags backlash coming.
STAGS: Nathan Bishop | Elliott Hewitt, Farrend Rawson, James Perch, Stephen McLaughlin | George Maris (Ryan Stirk 59), Ollie Clarke © (Tyrese Sinclair 88), Stephen Quinn, Rhys Oates (George Lapslie 72) | Oli Hawkins, Danny Johnson UNUSED SUBS: George Shelvy [GK], Ryan Burke, Kellan Gordon, Jordan Bowery
Attendance: 6,058 (1,589)
If you enjoy the Mansfield Matters Podcast, our Blog page is very similar - just in article form as team members share their views on matches and events!
Fancy submitting an article, DM us on Facebook/Twitter to get our attention, or email email@example.com (please note, this inbox isn't monitored often so it may take a while to get back to you)
Please read the disclaimer on the home page.