Sky Bet League Two | Saturday 6th March 2021 – Furness Building Society Stadium [Behind Closed Doors]
A year ago [7th March] we were walking away from Northampton Town after beating the promotion chasers 2-1, with no idea that THAT, would be the last time we could walk away from a Stadium and enjoy a proper match-day. The next twelve months would be a nightmare in, and out of, football – with yesterday’s 2-0 defeat at relegation rivals Barrow the latest scene in this mega-football drama we’re forced to watch from the sofa.
Yes – you did read that, I used the term ‘Relegation Rivals’ because in my opinion we are flying far too close to the sun and are in a relegation battle, we have been since Graham Coughlan’s disastrous start to the campaign.
OK, with 14 games to go we’re on the outskirts of the battle – BUT, by virtue of the fact we lost yesterday, we are in one!
The BARE MINIMUM we needed yesterday was to draw and maintain the eleven-point gap – a defeat, coupled with a point for Southend has narrowed the gap to eight points. Here’s the worrying part – Barrow have a game in hand, thus potentially narrowing the gap to five points (far too close for comfort IMO). Yes, we have a game in hand over Southend (second bottom) so that can rebalance itself, BUT our consistent FAILURE to DO THE BASICS is enough to take that potential balancer and throw it in the bin.
I’ve had to laugh this morning reading some comments from a minority of Stags “fans” – they want Clough sacked! I’ll give you a minute to laugh, swear or whatever.
Clough is 100% the best man for the job and I firmly believe we will be successful under him, BUT we have to give him time to build and develop from absolutely NOTHING, like Paul Cox did when he came in when you think about it. 98% of this squad is not good enough to compete, and the truth is that was accurate when we had our nice little run – and deep down you know it.
Yet again a poor January transfer window coupled with injuries has killed us, but in this season of financial worry amid covid, I totally understand why we did what we did. I know people are going “well Bolton threw money at it and now look at them, that could be us” – no it couldn’t, because Bolton already had players good enough to be top seven before the transfer window, they just needed one or two ingredients to speed up the potential growth within – we didn’t.
Clough will be frustrated that he didn’t get his A-list targets in January for sure, and may even be cursing the decision to let Cook and/or Maynard go out on loan – but ask yourself this, can we change that, can we recall them, can we rewind to January and go again? No we bloody can’t – so accept what we’ve got, allow Clough to work with it and mould it and we go again next season with force and passion – with us in attendance, singing our hearts out from second one to the very end in the terraces rather than falling asleep on the sofa.
Yesterday was poor, and to be honest I’m disappointed Clough didn’t come out and show a little bit more fury in his interview – but again, hindsight says that won’t help, let him do that in house, in the privacy of the dressing room – because he 100% will be!
If we are to take any positives from yesterday, it’s that because of cards and injuries we will be forced to freshen things up. OK we are VERY short up front if Bowery is out and Sarkic still out too – but, fresh ideas, fresh eyes, fresh legs can we hopeful.
What is killing us right now is the hectic fixture schedule, usually at this time of year – a four week injury, take Lapslie for example, means missing five games maximum – but because of the pile up, four weeks out, means missing ten, maybe twelve games – and we can’t afford that, but have to accept it.
There are three things I want from Mansfield Town between now and the end of the season – firstly, to show some passion and energy in their approach to games. Second, comes being tighter and cutting out basic school boy errors which cost us games – finally, but most importantly, BARE MINIMUM – match whatever the team in 23rd does – because MATHS says right now, if we do that, we stay up.
One day Mansfield Town we will meet again – and that WILL be in Sky Bet League Two. Fourteen games, you can do it.
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Aidan Stone (Marek Stech 67) | Kellan Gordon (Jake Wright 78), Farrend Rawson, Ryan Sweeney [SENT OFF TWO YELLOW CARDS 63], Mal Benning | Jason Law, Ollie Clarke ©, Stephen Quinn (Keaton Ward 78) | Harry Charsley (James Perch 64), Jamie Reid, Jordan Bowery (Tyrese Sinclair 78)
Unused Subs: Corey O’Keeffe, James Clarke
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