Craig Priest & Emily Sykes preview tomorrow’s lunch time trip to Sincil Bank...
On the eve of December we should all be beginning to feel festive as the countdown to the big day begins, however after Tuesday night’s pathetic exit from the FA Trophy at the hands of Matlock, the only thing we feel is the taste of bitterness mixed in with the desire and willingness for the Stags to put things right tomorrow as they head for Lincoln in the FA Cup second round.
We’ve had a few days now to swallow the bitter pill and, as the case in a few games this season, we have to move on and get back to winning ways. Football sometimes can be judged on perspective, for example should we win tomorrow and then draw a premier league side out of the hat for round three, then any potential money or pride loss from Tuesday night’s result will be easily overshadowed by a mouth watering third round tie.
Naturally it was frustrating to be out of a competition we should be winning, the financial rewards may not have been great but still it would of been nice to get some money in the kitty for a rainy day, the FA Cup also offers a financial incentive let’s hope tomorrow the boys can not only boost the bank balance but pull their season back on track as bar for Tuesday things have been looking good of late.
Our form had picked up due to a consistency in the side, due to injuries and suspensions that has been disrupted of late, I hope now that we are over the worst of this and Paul Cox can re-field that side, that began to gather pace. Over the last couple of games I think that the likes of Dempster and Beevers have been a big loss, our defending in the second half on Tuesday is still giving me nightmares, purely because the run we went on was built on solid defending to see that fall apart in the space of 45 minutes was disheartening at least.
Once more I repeat myself and say that we have to move on, we are taking a large number of supporters to Lincoln tomorrow therefore it is an ideal opportunity to right the wrong’s. Our ex boss Holdsworth will have his Imps side fired up and ready for the challenge, like us they have been in good form of late, defeat on Saturday against Tamworth in the FA Trophy bringing a ten game unbeaten run to an end, the Imps best run in the last few seasons of course started with a goalless draw at The One Call Stadium. Taking away the last result tomorrow sees two in-form teams come head to head, if we are to be victorious lets ensure all the negativity remains with the loved ones presents at home in the attic, garage or cupboard – delete as appropriate!
Against Blue Square Bet Premier opposition we have a golden chance of being in the round three draw and to give us a vital lift as we look to continue our climb up the league table. On paper we have improved dramatically of late climbing up to just outside the play-offs losing just twice in twelve games. The away form which has been a bit of a burden is also starting to improve, discounting Tuesday’s “performance” we have only lost once in our last five away games.
I eluded to it earlier we need to regain the consistent selection from a few games ago, hopefully John Dempster will be able to return tomorrow after a tough personal week, Lee Beevers also should be given a recall despite the fact he’s one game away from suspension. Exodus Geohaghon has been poor for the past two games, whilst Luke Jones has been steady, maybe the former should be the one to miss out this time. Alan Marriott retuned to action for the reserves on Wednesday, a late penalty save and a clean sheet against Hull could be the springboard for his return although despite criticism Shane Redmond has performed amicably in Marriott’s absence.
Along with the little chocolate in my advent calendar tomorrow morning, I hope the Stags can see off the Imps, book a place in round three and kick start some good form again – December is about festive fun, it’s about time Mansfield Town had some!
LAST TIME WE MET
As mentioned above it was back in early October when the two sides locked horns, a goalless draw at the One Call the first of a ten game unbeaten spell for Holdsworth’s Imps side. However that was a BSBP clash and tomorrow’s game, if you haven’t worked it out already is an FA cup second round tie.
The Stags and Imps do have a brief FA Cup history, having met three times before spookily at the same stage of the competition and all at Mansfield! The last FA Cup encounter came in 1987, the Stags on top in a seven goal thriller winning 4-3, getting revenge for two years prior when the Imps had ran out 2-1 winners. The first FA Cup meeting between the pair came in 1937, Mansfield winning 2-1.
Last season was the first time the two sides had met outside of the Football League, a rivalry first starting in 1934. In total there have now been 69 meetings between the two clubs including ten cup encounters. Looking at purely league stats, 58 matches, things are close between the two; Stags’ 2-1 win at the One Call on a historic day for the club last term their 23rd over the imps who have 19 victories to their name.
As I mentioned in the previous games preview, last season’s match at the One Call was one the Stags were never going to lose, an afternoon of celebrating John Radford’s purchase of the Ground saw smiles and strikes from Ross Dyer and Gary Roberts. At Sincil Bank, Matt Green was on target to rescue a late draw, the 16th draw between the sides down the years.
There certainly hasn’t been a shortage of goals in all competitions, the Stags leading 105-102!
The Stags could welcome back Imps favourite Alan Marriott after his heroics for the Reserves midweek.
Defender Ryan Tafazolli could also return from injury but was not part of the rather youthful side which tied with Hull midweek for the aforementioned Reserves, the only senior players being Marriott, Pilkington, Murray, Stevenson and Wright.
Gary Roberts will serve a one match ban for his midweek dismissal.
If you can’t make it to Sincil Bank tomorrow then there is only one place to catch full match commentary, however due to broadcast regulations and the rather pricey fee, it’s NOT Mansfield Matters.
I’ll be doubling up with Martin Shaw from 12.30pm on StagsPlayer for full commentary for the 1pm kick off – please remember StagsPlayer is a subscription only service and that commentary will NOT be broadcast via this website.
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