Sky Bet League Two | Tuesday 9th February 2021 – Banks Stadium [Behind Closed Doors]
After a prolonged break thanks to mother nature, Mansfield Town couldn’t extend their winning streak to six – taking just a point from Walsall, extending the unbeaten league run to seven games on an evening where defrosting was very much the order of proceedings.
Played in sub-zero temperatures the match nearly didn’t go ahead and had to be brought forwards by fifteen minutes to try and prevent the pitch from freezing as the evening went on – both managers and the referee also agreed to play no extra time to prevent possible injuries – with probably only three that would have been added, it was certainly the right call with the game frozen at 1-1 and going nowhere.
Neither side had played since the 23rd January and within the opening seconds, the Stags still hadn’t thawed out and very nearly went behind – eventually going a goal down from a set play on 23 minutes, if I had to pick one negative from the night as a whole, it would be that our work at set play, at both ends, was poor and sluggish.
Boss Nigel Clough earned more plaudits after the game admitting he shouldn’t have started George Lapslie who’d been struggling with a hamstring issue – Clough went against the advice of assistant Gary Crosby who was proved right after 13 minutes, when the now permanent Stags midfielder pulled up and was replaced by skipper Clarke.
Lapslie will now face an estimated four week lay-off, so given our current postponement rate, will miss one game!
Clarke was the shining light of the night and was tremendous in the middle making several key interventions and mouth watering passes – his performance topped off with an excellent finish off balance after fantastic build up play from Bowery and Jamie Reid on the half hour to draw the Stags back on level terms.
Bowery should have perhaps added what would have proved the winner with a venomous shot from Clarke’s beast of a pass, but he was denied by the keeper and to be honest, I’m not too fussed – we took a point from a similar side to us and remain firmly in the mid-table standings with a ten-point gap between ourselves and now second bottom Southend, a nine-point gap between ourselves and 7th placed Exeter and, thanks to mother nature, several games in hand over pretty much everyone!
The first game back after such a break (17 days?) was always going to be tough to find our groove again, when you add in the sub-zero conditions I don’t think anyone can have any complaints – I’m just happy we actually got to play!
We’ll now look to build momentum back up – playing Saturday-Tuesday for the next six or so weeks!
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Aidan Stone | Kellan Gordon, Farrend Rawson, Ryan Sweeney ©, Stephen McLaughlin |Stephen Quinn (Oli Sarkic 72) George Maris, George Lapslie (Ollie Clarke 13) | Harry Charsley, Jamie Reid, Jordan Bowery
Unused Subs: Marek Stech, Mal Benning, James Perch, Tyrese Sinclair, Jason Law
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