FA Cup Third Round | Sunday 10th January 2021 – Jonny Rocks Stadium [Behind Closed Doors]
Losing a game is never a nice feeling, however defeat in Extra Time against fellow League Two side Cheltenham doesn’t leave me too disappointed as we exit this seasons FA Cup – so long as Clough and the boys are focussed on our exit strategy – maintaining our brilliant league form and adding to the depth of our ranks.
If the situation yesterday highlighted anything, it’s that Mansfield Town really lack quality in depth and that failure to address that, will see our brilliant form come undone.
In particular, the Stags need to strengthen in the middle of the park as with skipper Ollie Clarke out with a knee problem, our usually pressing game wasn’t there and it felt less like having an engine, and more like pushing a car off of the top of hill letting gravity do all the work until further inspection shows the car had nothing under the bonnet.
James Perch was also out through illness, unknown at this stage if it’s Covid like Tyrese Sinclair who is currently self-isolation following a positive test, and we missed his [Perch] experience across the pitch and in truth – rode our luck on a number of occasions.
Along with long-term absentee Joe Riley, Clough was also without Kellan Gordon & Nicky Maynard (injury) and due to cup tied youngsters, could only name five of a possible nine substitutes. This coupled with Cheltenham not having played for the best part of two weeks and our heavy load of home games, highlighted a tough afternoon, especially with extra time which is why I hope we recover well ahead of Wednesday, another tough game away at Oldham.
Cheltenham were fresh and hungry – we had some hunger too and played really well considering, but Cheltenham are a very good team and played to their strengths well, pouncing on an error to equalise in the second half, before that weapon of a long throw ultimately paid off in extra time.
We had some good chances and maybe on another day with one or two of the missing players involved, may well have held onto our lead and progressed – but realistically, Mansfield Town are not going to win the FA Cup so thanks for the money earned £113,500 – lets focus on the league now!
Nigel Clough hinted that we could see new faces in before Wednesday’s trip to Oldham, plus we could be boosted by the return of Gordon, Maynard and Clarke – possibly Perch too depending on the illness and the inevitable test he’ll have to take, either way – we can’t dwell on the cup loss, we must just focus on extending the buffer between ourselves and Grimsby, currently second bottom.
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Marek Stech | Corey O’Keeffe, Farrend Rawson, Ryan Sweeney ©, Mal Benning (James Clarke 115), | Harry Charsley, George Maris (Aaron O’Driscoll 108), Stephen McLaughlin (Andy Cook 79) | George Lapslie, Jamie Reid, Jordan Bowery
Unused Subs: Aidan Stone, Rollin Menayese
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