Papa John’s Trophy Group H 1/3, Tuesday 31st August | Harrogate Town 3-1 Mansfield Town
The Papa John’s Trophy is about as controversial as discussing if Pineapple belongs on Pizza – someday yes, some say no, others don’t care, last night at Harrogate Town, it felt like 95% of the Stags squad didn’t care about a number of things, with a lacklustre uninspiring 3-1 loss at Harrogate Town.
The defeat I can take, the manner of it not so much – when a player pulls on a Stags shirt, I expect a certain level of performance for the badge and for whatever reason, that seemed to be lacking.
I’m not going to go into full rant mode because of the competition (even though personally I’m all for trying to win it) and because a lot of the side out last night were young ones getting a taste of senior football – BUT, what I’m left disappointed by is an obvious lack of depth within our squad.
In fact, it felt like we had as much depth as a shallow kids splash pad in a park, that had been filled in by concrete!
I really felt sorry for Keaton Ward especially, thrown in at centre-back with Hewitt rested, Perch injured and at that point, absolutely no cover! Fortunately, we’ve signed two on loan – but I’ll save my views on that for the Podcast tonight!
I could real off negatives and grievances like an auctioneer but again I’ll save some of those for the Podcast when I’ve woken up more! I will, however, finish on a positive – James Clarke, fantastic at right back and showed a real captains attitude, even when he lost the ball or didn’t win the initial header, he was determined to win it back and I’d say did – 98% of the time, why he’s not playing more is beyond me at times.
Rhys Oates looked lively when he came on whilst Charsley, his first run out post injury, looked hungry – albeit a little lost on the right hand side of the diamond – it’s time to ditch that for 4-3-3 without a shadow of a doubt.
Nigel Clough post match said he didn’t care about the competition, which is fair enough – however a little bit more effort for the travelling fans and acknowledgement of them coming out to support the younger lads wouldn’t have gone a miss – especially when your experienced striker absolutely fluffs a penalty, costing us the game and 10K!
That’s a third consecutive defeat for the group – we need to have a good couple of days training now and come out on Saturday, at home to Harrogate, and put three points on the more.
Who’d be a football fan eh!
STAGS: Shelvey, Rawson (55’ Oates), Charsley, Bowery, Burke, Sinclair (78’ Cooper), Ward, J. Clarke, Law, Hill, Lapslie (68' Caine) UNUSED SUBS: Bishop, Gordon, O. Clarke, Johnson
Attendance: 825 (135)
Papa Johns Trophy [EFL Trophy] Northern Group E Game 3/3 | Tuesday 10th November 2020 | Sands Venue Stadium | Nigel Clough’s First Game as Manager
It was a match which meant absolutely nothing in terms of competition progress, but one which meant everything to Nigel Clough and the progress of Mansfield Town as the boys began the new era, with their second win in as many games.
Clough made 11 changes for his first fixture in order for him and his coaching staff to have evaluated every player of the last four games, with Clough and his staff having observed the Stags from the stands for the duration of Richard Coopers excellent caretaker tenure.
The fixture also allowed key players such as Ryan Sweeney, Corey O’Keeffe, Ollie Clarke and Rollin Menayese to get some much needed minutes after isolation and injury spells, whilst younger “fringe” players were also given the opportunity to impress the Stags’ new gaffer.
All in all it was a very good performance from Mansfield who continued to play out from the back and with a freedom to their play, something which reflected in the two goals scored by Ryan Sweeney and Jamie Reid.
The score line suggests a tighter affair, but in truth Mansfield were on top for the majority of the match – it took an absolute rocket to beat Aidan Stone, who was excellent again between the sticks pulling off some good reflex saves, showing good distribution and footwork along with a vocal commanding presence – worthy of the man of the match accolade for sure.
As well as minutes and victory in the bank, we’ve also netted 10K – add that to the just shy of 17K we picked up for the win over Sunderland (£16,972 to be exact according to the internet!) and it’s not been a bad week in gaining some much needed financial income!
The real work starts on Saturday as Clough takes charge of his first League game for the Stags, a trip to Forest Green Rovers who sit third in the table and are unbeaten at home so far this season in the League.
Two wins in the cup mean nothing come 3pm Saturday, other than boosting confidence and gaining some momentum – however there’s a lot to be said for perspective, we’re playing well, with confidence and are, in all competitions, four unbeaten with two back to back wins.
Roll on Saturday!
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Aidan Stone | James Clarke, Rollin Menayese, Ryan Sweeney ©, Corey O’Keeffe | Tyrese Sinclair (Kellan Gordon 87), Aaron O’Driscoll, Alistair Smith (Ollie Clarke 74), Jason Law | Andy Cook, Jamie Reid (Nathan Caine 88)
Unused Subs: Maison Campbell, Harry Charsley, Jordan Bowery
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