Craig Priest writes...
Fixture: Mansfield Town V Matlock Town
Competition: The FA Carlsberg Trophy, Round One
Venue: The One Call Stadium
Date & Time: Saturday 24th November 2012 – 3pm
Match Referee: Chris Kavanah (Ashton-Under-Lyne)
Attendance: 1615 (250)
Think back to the mid 90’s and Saturday TV on ITV, before the days of I’m a failed celebrity get me some money in their and z-factor, there was a show called Gladiators. Fronted by Sven Goran-Erickson’s ex and Footballer John Fashanu it featured every day people hitting “Gladiators” over the head with a foam stick, failing to the ground onto big red crash mats before taking on the other every day person in a head to head race which featured a tilted treadmill which ran in the wrong direction called the Travelator.
Each week we laughed as people failed to climb this genius invention and occasionally cheered when they did reach the summit, it was good entertainment – well at least that’s what I thought yesterday as the Stags took on the Gladiators in Round One of the FA Trophy.
Fair enough the link is a loose one but after the game yesterday I felt like I was back on my sofa watching the hit ITV show, however Mansfield Town had become the contender to fail the Travelator, as on a wet, dull and boring afternoon, they played out a 1-1 draw with the Gladiators of Matlock, meaning an uninspiring replay will be needed on Tuesday night. The football matched the weather and Paul Cox after the game pulled no punches, admitting his side were arrogant and not good enough – I won’t argue with that.
If anything the desire we had to win the match on Tuesday at Macclesfield had been flooded away with the rain and we looked un-interested, which is totally unacceptable for a team of our stature and with our ambitions. On the flip side we didn’t lose making it seven games unbeaten, the fact is now we have to go to Matlock for a replay and be switched onto get the job done in 90 minutes, I don’t want to go through extra time and penalty’s again within the space of two weeks. If we can put in a solid attacking display and win comfortably then we can put yesterday down to an off day – whatever happens, let’s keep focused and keep fighting for the cause.
Paul Cox made just the one change from the midweek victory at Macclesfield, Lee Beevers missed out after a solid run in the side, Exodus Geohaghon moved back into the heart of the back four alongside Jones moving Ritchie Sutton to left back.
Line Up: Shane Redmond, John Thompson, Exodus Geohaghon, Luke Jones, Ritchie Sutton, Louis Briscoe, Adam Murray (C), Chris Clements, Lindon Meikle, Ben Hutchinson, Matt Green.
Substitutes: Jake Speight, Nick Wright, Anthony Howell, Matt Rhead, Junior Daniel
The visiting Gladiators, who had beaten the Stags in an FA Cup match in 1976, began this FA Trophy tie in bright fashion, Exodus Geohaghon’s slip with a minute played saw the impressive Massiah McDonald latch onto the loose ball before Luke Jones swept across to clear with a strong challenge, four minutes later interchanging play between Glyn Cotton, Lewis McMahon and McDonald saw Shane Redmond race off his line to collect at the feet of the latter.
With six minutes played the Stags were appealing for a penalty after some good flowing football, Matt Green seemingly tripped inside the area as he prepared to shoot. Referee Chris Kavanagh turned down the appeal but was soon pointing to the spot in Matlock’s favour, John Thompson tugging back Phil Rowe inside the box as the visitors broke. Thompson picked up the games yellow card before Shane Redmond again emerged with heroic status, expertly saving the spot kick from McMahon before pulling off an unbelievable reflex save to deny James Ashmore who pounced on the rebound, the resulting corner was also plucked out of the air by a buoyant Redmond.
Redmond was again called into action on twelve minutes to deny McDonald as quick football from Matlock saw Glyn Cotton squeeze a pass beyond a shaky Geohaghon. Three minutes later Matt Green came close for the Stags, his drilled effort from the edge of the box deflecting away for a corner which ultimately came to nothing.
John Thompson had to make a crucial interception on 23 minutes as Matlock sub Bradley Grayson and McMahon combined, the resulting corner was easily dealt with and a minute later, flowing football saw Mansfield break the deadlock. Louis Briscoe’s drive led to the goal after strong work from Green, Murray and Hutchinson, Gladiators keeper Jon Kennedy could only palm Briscoe’s driven effort into the path of the on rushing Adam Murray, the Stags skipper clipping home into the empty net for his first competitive goal since scoring twice against Gateshead in the penultimate game of the 2010-11 campaign and his first goal since a sensational brace against Boston in pre-season of the 2011-12 term.
Mansfield came close again on 32 minutes as Briscoe and Green interchanged down the right hand side, the former’s drilled cross scrambled clear. Matlock then pulled things level five minutes later, McMahon atoned for his penalty miss early on by drilling home a sweet left footed effort following a frankly expert flick from McDonald on the edge of the box, though why the duo were allowed that amount of space in that area is completely beyond me!
With five to go before the break Lindon Meikle burst past Micky Harcourt on the left hand side but over hit his cross, the ball dribbling out for a Matlock throw – a minute into the two added Matt Green charged down the right hand side, however his clever drilled cross was scooped away and the two sides headed into half time to dry off on level terms.
HALF TIME: Stags 1-1 Matlock
The Stags started the second half brightly and had two opportunities inside the opening minute, first Chris Clements’ curling cross was a hairs width from finding Matt Green before goal scorer Murray came close to adding a second, his drive forward and shot was closed down at the last second.
Three minutes later Gladiators keeper Kennedy was the hero as Clements clipped a neat ball over the top for Matt Green to latch onto, a 1-2 with Briscoe then saw Green free inside the box alas he couldn’t make it three goals in as many games as Kennedy palmed away the well struck effort.
Handbags then flew on 57 minutes as John Thompson was cropped on the touchline, the mist eventually cleared and a throw in given for Stags, Geohaghon playing short to Clements whose cross was agonisingly flicked over by the head of Ben Hutchinson.
Jake Speight and Nick Wright then entered the fray for Green and Meikle respectively however the attacking duo were forced to watch on as Matlock piled on the pressure with two consecutive corners, Bradley Grayson’s final shot eventually cleared by Jones.
Shane Redmond then had to palm away a stinging effort from Grayson on 72 minutes, Luke Jones clearing the second ball, the visitors close again four minutes later when McDonald curled one wide of the mark.
With eight minutes remaining Mansfield came to life when a flowing move involving Thompson, Clements and Geohaghon earned a corner. Clements delivery headed wide at the back post by Jones who crept in unmarked. Five minutes later a well placed cross park pass from Clements saw Thompson and Briscoe interchange on the right hand side, the latter’s low cross poked wide from four yards by substitute Matt Rhead who’d replaced Ben Hutchinson on 74 minutes.
Five minutes were added on and during which it was Matlock who nearly sealed another upset, Shane Redmond palming away Grayson’s effort before Thompson flung his body in the way of the follow up effort from the same player, the full time whistle adding another game to the list, the replay is set for Tuesday evening.
FULL TIME: Stags 1-1 Matlock
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