Craig Priest looks ahead to a showdown between the MTFC’s!
Right, now the Luton game’s out of the way our focus can now turn to tomorrow evening’s re-arranged trip to the other MTFC! Originally scheduled for September the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and has since been move more times than Rylan’s been unfairly voted through on the x-factor!
I guess though that whilst there was frustration at the original postponement Mother Nature may well have done us a favour, Macclesfield were on a decent run and despite couple of good results for us at home, we weren’t clicking away from home where as now I think we are and Macclesfield are beginning to stumble with two consecutive defeats and just one home win in five games.
The Stags trouble comes in the form of having to make changes again, just when our back four was getting settle we lose John Dempster, Exodus Geohaghon and, depending on rulings, Lee Beevers in the space of two games – If Beevers is suspended then they’ll be three changes to a back four which has conceded just four goals in six games. It’ll be a straight choice between Jones and Pilkington to partner Sutton at centre back, either partnership will a rare one – let’s hope the understanding and unity is there prior to kick off, we need to be solid from the off.
For me there’s no need to make more than the enforced changes, Hutchinson and Wright are doing well at the moment with the former certainly on a run of form with two goals in as many league games. You could argue that now Green’s broken his drought he should be in contention alongside Hutchinson, I guess time will tell it’s a confidence thing for Stags really, once it clicks in one match, the domino effect will begin.
The stigma of our poor away form should disappear soon too, I think the stat reared its ugly head because we we’re going through a rough patch, the performances at Nuneaton and Slough are there to be built upon, is tomorrow the time to go and do it?
LAST TIME WE MET
It’s been a while since the MTFC’s faced each other, the two fixtures during the 2007-08 season being the faintest of lights in our relegation season of doom! At Field Mill as was, the Stags romped to a 5-0 victory, Simon Brown netted the quickest hat trick from the start of a match in the clubs history, netting a treble within the open 22 minutes before strikes from Nathan Arnold and Mickey Boulding completed the route before the hour mark. The Macclesfield side that day included two of our current squad, Adam Murray and Jamie Tolley.
The Reverse fixture was a frustrating yet hopeful one at the Moss Rose, one which turned out to be our second to last away game in the football league. Prior to the match Stags had four games to go and we’re attempting ‘The Great Escape’ as Paul Holland’s crumbling boys sat 23rd in the table just three points below rivals Notts County whilst Macclesfield were in 19th seven points ahead. Notts County played Accrington in another relegation show down, if the Stags could win and County loose, maybe survival hopes would grow ahead of the home clash with Shrewsbury – in the end it was a goalless draw, the first clean sheet in three games whilst Matt Hamshaw’s right boot couldn’t grab a win in the dying embers of the match. A point was ok at first but as the full time scores were slipping through, County had beaten Accrington and suddenly time was against us and hope draining – my last memory of Macclesfield is the coach pulling away and my heart draining of all hope, relegation loomed.
The sides have met numerous times over the years, in league matches there have been 18 meetings, of which the Stags have won eight to Macclesfield’s five, the remaining five being draws. Since the first meeting between the sides in 1997, a 1-0 win for Macclesfield, the Stags have netted 30 goals, conceding 23. The Moss Rose is one of the first away grounds I visited, seeing mixed fortunes – of the nine games at the other MTFC’s home, the sides have three wins a piece with three draws.
The Stags will be enforced into changes again but as too how many remains to be seen, Exodus Geohaghon is definitely out having been booked for the fifth time yesterday, Lee Beevers was too but the debate lies in the small print. Beevers was booked TWICE at Gateshead resulting in a red card, question is do the two yellows get wiped because of the resulting red or do they get added to the collection. If they get wiped, Beevers is on THREE bookings and can play – the ruling is loose and open to interpretation, I guess tomorrow will give us the answer!
John Dempster is also out, serving the second of a three game ban following his red card against Slough, George Pilkington and Luke Jones will go toe to toe for a start alongside Sutton – Ryan Tafazolli, as far as I’m aware, is still on the treatment table.
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