Craig Priest writes....
Fixture: Grimsby Town V Mansfield Town
Competition: Blue Square Bet Premier – Game #5
Venue: Blundell Park
Date & Time: Monday 27th August 2012 – 3pm
Match Referee: Mr C Evans
Attendance: 3397 (556)
How to tell the story of yesterday’s trip to Grimsby? How about we turned up, we fell apart, we lost, and we went home – the end! If only it we’re that simple as Stags crashed to their third defeat of the season, thus allowing all the negative energy to come flooding back in – Cox out? Behave.
You know I sometimes wonder why our positive memories are so quick to fade, it’s almost like we’ve forgotten that Paul Cox came in last summer rebuilt the club off the pitch and got us to a solid, comfortable, third place finish on it. Yet the negatives such as November when we failed to win or the amount of draws we picked up or pointless signings we made are at the front of our memories, ok so I may be over writing it a little but the point still remains – why do we wallow in a river of negativeness when we have an ocean of positives?
Yesterday wasn’t acceptable, but it wasn’t as bad as a selection of people make out – we we’re fairly solid until the second goal right on the stroke of the break, had that not gone in we may be talking about three points rather than non. Sometimes the little things get over looked and swept under the carpet, sometimes statements are seen in the wrong way – for example ‘Our Squads too big’ – We have a squad of 32 players with a reserve side to fill, four youth team graduates and two players on the coaching staff, so realistically we have a squad of 26 which then leaves ten players out of a match day 16 which is generally what every club has anyway right? So what’s wrong! ‘The manager doesn’t know what he’s doing’ – how many seasons has he had a poor start but either finished in the play-offs or picked up a cup winners medal? 98% of them, need I go on?! Why is it that whenever things go wrong we want a managerial change, seriously what good is it going to do?
I love this football club, it has given me a purpose in life on a personal level and taught me so many lessons – I want success as much as the next person, what grinds me most is the over reaction to a defeat, just stop and look back at years gone by – what good has change ever done and where has it taken us too? Faith and Belief are needed from the terraces, negative energy from their gets to the players and that gets bad results – be positive, stick with it and the turnaround will come – I can’t believe I find myself writing that after five games, I thought we we’re past that!
I know a lot of you will be stitching Craig Priest voodoo dolls after reading that little rant, before you get the matches out please understand that I am not dressing up the results so far as rosy, clearly things need to change and issues need to be addressed, but that’s the manager’s job and he’s capable of doing it, I say we let him, it could be a lot worse – we could be Kidderminster! Bigger picture and all that... In fact how many points did we have after 5 games last term? Six, how many do we have now? Oh yeah SIX!
Onto yesterday’s game before my ranting nature takes over, Paul Cox made two changes to the side which beat Hyde on Saturday, Louis Briscoe and Matt Rhead we’re swapped for Chris Clements and Jake Speight respectively as a 4-3-3 formation was preferred.
LINE UP [4-3-3] Alan Marriott – Ritchie Sutton – John Dempster – Luke Jones (C) – Junior Daniel – Gary Roberts – Anthony Howell – Chris Clements – Lindon Meikle – Matt Green – Jake Speight
Substitutes: Louis Briscoe – Nick Wright – Matt Rhead – Lee Beevers – Jamie Hand
I have to admit a degree of worry when I saw a 4-3-3 formation as it was clearly weak against Newport and Gateshead, the two defeats, however the additional to Chris Clements in the middle seemed to give us an edge, he started lively and was involved in Mansfield’s first chance of three minutes. Picking up the ball in the middle, he cantered forward well before finding Meikle, the wide man providing the final pass to Speight who, to the left of the box, fired at the keeper.
A series of corners went without a final product for the hosts before the Stags enjoyed a glorious opportunity to take the lead on 17 minutes. Clements was again involved linking up with Roberts in the middle, a trademark pass from him saw Meikle and Green link up on the edge of the box before Speight fired agonisingly into the side netting from an acute angle, again to the left of the area.
A similar phase of play followed two minutes later however this time it was Green who had the final shot, the lively front man curled around the keeper but saw his shot nestle in the side netting rather than land in the back of the net, Anthony Howell influential in the move with a fine defensive challenge on Greg Pearson as the former Burton man troubled on the edge of the Stags box, before a well weighted pass down the left for Speight.
On the half hour mark the Stags earned a corner after another fine passing move between debutant Clements, Lindon Meikle and Jake Speight – Gary Roberts’ delivery was dealt with easily and four minutes later, it was the hosts who grabbed the opening goal. A flowing move down the left saw Derek Niven’s pass find Joe Colbeck, the Mariners wing man nipped pass Junior Daniel before feeding Frankie Artus a pass on the edge of the box, Artus slamming into the top corner as nobody tracked his run or attempted to narrow the angle.
Grimsby 1-0 Stags
The Stags looked to respond well with a series of tough challenges in midfield; one saw Roberts booked on 36 minutes. Mansfield dug deep and pushed forward in search of the games next goal, something that worked on 44 minutes – it’s just a shame it went the hosts’ way. Jake Speight went on a surging run down the left but after losing possession, tracked all the way back with the advancing Colbeck, tripping him in the area for a Grimsby penalty. After Speight received a booking, Mansfield’s 14th of the season, Greg Pearson stepped up to send Marriott the wrong way and double the hosts lead, killing the game in the process.
Grimsby 2-0 Stags
There was barley any time for play to continue and what was looking like a cope-able score line at 1-0 turned into an uphill battle following the penalty, a battle Stags never looked up for – the character that returned against Kidderminster had gone.
HALF TIME: Grimsby 2-0 Stags
Grimsby nearly added a third seconds into the second half however Alan Marriott denied Pearson with a solid low save as the Stags defence were clearly still in the dressing room, at the other end James McKeown tipped over a deep Roberts free kick after the wind had seen the curling cross swerve towards goal, the Stags made little of the resulting corner.
Matt Rhead then replaced Chris Clements on 52 minutes to partner Green up front and push Meikle and Speight wide into a 4-4-2, it made little difference as it was Grimsby who looked the more lively, a fine challenge from Meikle on 54 stopped Colbeck bursting away after a Roberts’ free kick was cleared.
The boo’s for Paul Cox then rang out again on 56 minutes as Jake Speight departed for Lee Beevers, the change in my view obvious, allowing Daniel to move into a more natural attacking position rather whilst trying to stabilise the back four at the same time with plenty of time for a comeback. Daniel nearly did get the Stags a goal within minutes of adopting the left wing role, latching onto a Meikle pass after Sutton had switched play from right to left. Daniel drove forward past Bradley Wood and let a drilled effort go, James McKeown saved well to his credit.
On the hour mark Grimsby added a third as sloppy marking allowed three passes down the right and into the box as Stags sat too deep and remained flat footed – Joe Colbeck grabbed a deserved goal hammering through the crowd from 14 yards, Alan Marriott only able to parry up and into the net with his view well blocked.
Grimsby 3-0 Stags
A fourth was always coming and arrived fifteen minutes after the third from nowhere, a Grimsby corner to the front post saw Pearson loop a header beyond a frankly coma-like Stags defence and into the back of the net.
Grimsby 4-0 Stags
Louis Briscoe then replaced Junior Daniel and provided some slight on the afternoon, teeing up Roberts for a snap shot on 75 minutes, however the script writers never had a comeback on the cards, only more trouble, something which arrived with seven minutes remaining as Roberts lunged in very late on Craig Disley – the result a second booking and first dibs on the hot water.
With five remaining what was left of the 556 travelling fans behind the goal had something to half hearted cheer, Louis Briscoe crossed from deep after battling well to keep the ball in play, Matt Rhead nipped in to head powerful beyond a bemused McKeown – at least we scored.
Grimsby 4-1 Stags
The goal didn’t spark a revival and the full time whistle condemned Stags to their third defeat of the season and also marked the third game out of five where four goals had been shipped, the other seeing three with only one clean sheet – now that one is inexcusable and will be out right for Saturday, I hope!
FULL TIME: Grimsby 4-1 Stags
Poor defending and no real passion or desire to fight after the second goal cost us – I also don’t think the 4-3-3 got the best out of us either. Early on there were glimpses of what could have been but it wasn’t to be – that’s football though, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – football isn’t all blue skies and sunshine, there’s mud and thunderstorms too.
Compared to last year, we are one place lower with the same points total after five games – the one thing we’ve done is stop drawing!! Now to stop losing, conceding silly goals and arguing and all will be well again – bring on Woking!
Pics: Dan Westwell
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