Full Time Score MK Dons 1-0 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue Stadium MK
Stags Goal Scorer(s) /
Attendance 20,718 (5,227)
Craig Priest writes…
As I walked away from Stadium MK yesterday fighting back the tears and trying desperately not to be sick or let my rage boil over at those “supporters” who said they’d “come back if they got to Wembley” – I couldn’t help but be frustrated at my own heart, because deep, DEEP down – I knew Mansfield Town would throw away the chance of promotion.
The Stags as a whole have been brilliant to watch this season, but over the last two months with the expectation of two games – David Flitcroft’s men have fallen so far from what they used to be that even if the scenario yesterday had been “avoid defeat by three goals or more” – we’d have lost 4-0. I hate myself for typing that, I really do – but there’s a lot of truth to it.
I’m not one to take to social media and start conversations with an undertone of blame – it sickened me yesterday to see posts of “Flitcroft Out” as we’ve come so far but ultimately didn’t have enough about us when it really mattered.
Some internal investigation has to be done from the manager to discover exactly why we’ve let promotion slip away – and that doesn’t just extend to yesterday’s defeat for two reasons, one - in a winner take all game when one team needs to win, they’ll come at you as MK did, and two – in the second half, those players were brilliant and did everything bar get the ONE goal which would have clinched promotion.
You have to look back and ask why we’ve lost at relegated Notts County, why we’ve allowed Crewe to come to the One Call and dominate us, why we’ve not had enough about us to beat average sides in Crawley and Northampton over the last couple of months – because teams who DESERVE to be promoted simply don’t do that.
Those questions, these frustrations, this sickening bloody hurt needs to be flushed out and quickly because whilst we threw away automatic promotion – we can still be playing League One football next season, as we now head into the play-offs against Newport County in the two-legged semi-final, the winner of which faces Tranmere or Forest Green at Wembley for a place in League One.
Finishing in fourth is the hardest place to finish as we’ve lost out on automatic promotion by the skin of our teeth and carry the hurt, anger and disappointment that comes with that – and now we have to take on 7th, who’ve done the polar opposite, got in by the skin of their teeth and carry the joy, buzz and elation that comes with it.
BUT – that actually gives us an advantage because absolutely nobody fancies us anymore – BRILLIANT, because people have fancied us for the last two months and look what happened. We have an opportunity to go and play with more freedom – we start fresh.
Newport is a very tough place to go, especially on a Thursday night – it’s a heavy pitch and they’ll be direct – we’ve got to look at the characters and systems to nullify that, because this is not 90 minutes of football now, its 180 minutes minimum – we’ve got more time to fight.
It’s heart-breaking to think about how we’ve failed and fallen but that is NOT going to get us to Wembley and get us another chance of promotion. Deep, DEEP down, I do believe the Stags can achieve promotion – so let’s head into Newport knowing what’s done is done and focus on righting the wrongs.
In order to fly, you must have the courage to jump – we’ve thrown ourselves off the edge and whilst we’ve dropped lower than we hoped or expected, still have the power to spread those wings and soar to the other side. It’s the Mansfield Town way.
Click HERE for the clubs match report
FULL TIME: MK Dons 1-0 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2] Conrad Logan, Matt Preston (Ben Turner 19), Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, Alex MacDonakd, Neal Bishop, Willem Tomlinson (Danny Rose 37), Mal Benning (Jorge Grant 70), Jacob Mellis, Tyler Walker, CJ Hamilton
Unused Subs: Jordan Smith, Will Atkinson, Alistair Smith, Gethin Jones
Referee: Lee Probert
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