Full Time Score Oldham Athletic 3-2 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue Boundry Pary
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Tyler Walker, Neal Bishop
Attendance 6,179 (1,334)
Craig Priest writes…
Nearly twenty-four hours on from yesterday’s game, I don’t think I’ve calmed down yet – not from the linesman’s decision to chalk-off Danny Roses’ late equalizer, but how difficult we are making it for ourselves – with the fate of our season now inevitably coming down to the seasons final day at promotion rivals MK Dons.
There’s a saying in life about taking the stairs over using a lift, it’s supposed to teach the value of hard work an effort – appreciating the view more from the top when you get there, IF Mansfield Town reach League One, then they’ll have climbed their fair share of stairs along the way.
Since the end of the game many people have had conversations about the game and the cruelty of the offside flag, and whilst I praise the lads desire to fight back – I have to myself and whoever I’m talking too, why on earth we needed to fight back in the first place, how did we allow ourselves to get into such a negative position and subsequently allow our promotion rivals to gain ground at such a critical stage.
I want to go into a rage, I want to scream and shout and let out the anger – not because we’ve slipped, but because we are way better, way stronger in a fight than we were at Oldham yesterday.
I look back at the games where little moments have cost us and feel myself boiling again, but then I look at the league table and the amount of games left to achieve what we set out to do in the first place and ask – what’s the point in reflecting on the old, questioning the moments, pondering the ifs and buts? Is that going to help, is that going to get us over the line? In a nutshell – NO.
All of it is just footprints in the sand, washed over and wiped clear like they were never there in the first place by the uncontrollable ocean tide, if we stop and stare back over our shoulders then there’s a real danger we’ll get washed away too, having to start all over again.
I don’t think it needs saying that Mansfield were below par and key players were already on a beach enjoying their summer holidays, failing to perform again - going into detail would just add to the bile and negativity which drowns us and I can’t take it anymore.
The ONE thing that I take from yesterday is the fact we did fight, we changed systems and let loose and we do that again – backed by every single one of you whose dreamed of seeing the Stags in League One.
The players have the experienced heads within the dressing room, they have the talent and the ability to cause real damage and deliver on promises – despite everything which went against us on the pitch our support was brilliant, the players will notice that and reward that – let’s give it one last push to fill the One Call Stadium for the final home game of the season and go into the critical decider against MK Dons with a bounce, a buzz and an attitude to be proud of – we’re Mansfield Town and no matter how many punches you throw at us, we’ll be the ones that deliver the decisive blow in our favour.
I don’t care what Bury or MK Dons do on Saturday – I care what we do, realistically a win keeps us in the driving seat so together, let’s get it! To the players – give your all like you’ve never given your all before, to the fans – be loud, proud and remember that patience is a virtue….
…and to the linesman, keep that bloody flag down!
It’s not over, it’s only just begun.
After thrashing Morecambe 4-0 on Friday, David Flitcroft stuck with the same starting line-up, many with fresh trims as the Sky Cameras were present as part of their Bank Holiday Monday triple header.
Mansfield started nervy and were under pressure from the off, taking 17 minutes to find a real opening as Gethin Jones drove forward to find Jorge Grant in the area – his first time half-volley sailed wide of the target.
Four minutes later fellow forest loanee Tyler Walker hit an effort first time from the edge of the area but couldn’t beat Iversen in the Oldham goal as the shot flashed wide of the target – the Stags then enjoyed a number of corners but on 29 minutes, were caught on the counter by the hosts, Gevaro Nepomuceno the fan to add the killer touch as Mansfield took the first dagger to the heart.
Mellis, Benning, Hamilton and Sweeney all had chances to pull the game back on level terms before the break, but after 45 minutes of action – Mansfield were behind and needed to come alive as the second half dawned.
David Flitcroft kept things as they were and was nearly rewarded for his patience as skipper Pearce was denied by Iverson in front of the travelling faithful from Bishops cross a minute into the second half – Jacob Mellis also had an effort blocked before Oldham grabbed a second, capitalising on questionable defending as Maouche turned home with 56 on the clock.
Danny Rose then replaced Sweeney on the hour as Mansfield went 4-3-3, it took just a minute to find a reply as a fine flick from Rose set Mellis free, his ball into Walker set a routine finish for the leading talisman – who converted on his left foot through the keepers legs. 2-1, Game on?
Six minutes of end to end action followed but ultimately it was Oldham who restored their advantage on 67 minutes with a sublime goal, made for the cameras, Nepomuceno throwing another dagger right into the heart of the Stags.
David Flitcroft says you’re never out of a fight until you draw your last breath and the Stags whilst hurt, were still breathing but had Logan to thank on 71 as he denied Lang in a one vs one which would have been game over, five minutes later Neal Bishop scored a left footed spin and turn from the edge of the box to make it 3-2, you sensed Mansfield had another goal coming to rescue a point from the jaws of defeat.
Tyler Walker nearly grabbed it on 80 minutes as Mellis sent him through, Walker fired over the bar much to our despair in the away end. Elation came in the 96th minute as Mellis’ long range effort cannoned back off the post and fell to Rose who bundled home his first goal since October to make it 3-3, however elation soon became sickening despair and anger, as the linesman raised his flagged cancelling out Rose’s heroic effort for offside – the full time whistle followed giving Oldham a 3-2, and I don’t mind admitting that behind vented frustration towards the officials, lay a tear or two building up as results elsewhere saw Mansfield JUST cling onto third on goal difference.
Two games to go, AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
FULL TIME: Oldham Athletic 3-2 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2] Conrad Logan, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney (Danny Rose 59), Gethin Jones, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis, Mal Benning, Jorge Grant (Alex MacDonald 53), Tyler Walker, CJ Hamilton
Unused Subs: Jordan Smith, Will Atkinson, Zayn Hakeem, Ben Turner, Willem Tomlinson
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