Craig Priest Writes....
Well the last thing we wanted on Saturday was a replay, but hey-ho in typical Mansfield Town fashion, a replay tomorrow awaits following the 1-1 draw at the One Call Stadium. The game really did match the weather, wet, dull, chilly and boring – let’s hope this isn’t the case tomorrow as we expect another rainy evening, I can justify Saturday’s result just about so long as we get the job done in 90 minutes, with tough games against Lincoln City, Ebbsfleet and Hyde on the horizon, we need to rest and avoid another extra-time/ penalty shootout drama.
A lot of people talk about how the FA Trophy isn’t a competition we should focus on, I disagree. The rewards finically of a good run helped us in putting together last season’s play-off squad, also clubs of our stature should be winning this sort of competition at this level of football – our old foes York City are a prime example that promotion and cup success is achievable, this season is easier too as the final is prior to the play-offs – we have a squad big enough and able enough to go out and give it a go – Round One should not be the exit point for us again.
Away from putting trophy’s in the cabinet, winning games creates positive form and positive attitude, something we need ahead of a tough December set of fixtures. Matlock as we know will fight and want to progress themselves, hopefully we’ll have learnt from Slough to approach the game in a more positive and professional state of mind.
Obviously we can’t ignore the fact we are needed a replay in the first place, our defending was poor particularly Exodus Geohaghon who, as proved on the match highlights, barley won a challenge and stepped forward far too often and failed to track back leaving us out of shape – the proof of this is in the penalty and the equalizing goal, as a unit we failed to do the simple things. Now we can be critical until we are blue in the face, fact is we have a replay and must deal with it. Matlock’s pitch will be heavy and took on a lot of water over the weekend; as such it won’t suit our style of play so we’re going to have to mix it up a little.
Matt Rhead would be ideal for me, a big and strong player that can make the flicks for either Hutchinson or Green to latch onto – he’s the type of player that will bully a centre-half, we need someone to get under the defences skin a little. John Dempster’s suspension is over now too, we could do with him at the heart of defence again just to ensure the front two don’t have as much joy as they did on Saturday, Matlock’s players will know how the pitch plays so what we need is a battering ram of a back four, every time Matlock come forward, metaphorically I want to see them flat on their face in a puddle of mud.
Naturally we have to respect the Gladiators but at the same time remember that handshakes and smiles off the pitch are respectfully and professional, but on the pitch it’s a battlefield and only one team can win – are we serious about being a success? If so then let’s prove it.
A home tie against either Dorchester Town or old FA Trophy adversary’s Luton Town awaits the winners along with a cash prize, let’s pick up from where we finished at Macclesfield and creep closer to Wembley.
LAST TIME WE MET
Prior to Saturday the two sides hadn’t met in competitive action for some 36 years, Matlock infamously knocking Mansfield out of the FA Cup in 1976. Matlock supporters see the side of 76/77 as club heroes, legends and icons, with goal scorers Nick Fenoughty, Dave Goodwin, Colin Oxley and Peter Scot all remembered forever along with every on looking supporters story, beating Mansfield the first time was a dream come true, there dream now is to do it again – it’s our task to shatter their dream in order to chase our own, we do so having been pegged back on Saturday, Adam Murray’s first goal since 2011 cancelled out by Lewis McMahon who saw a 6th minute penalty expertly saved by Shane Redmond.
The Stags do have a History of travelling to Causeway Lane, a trip there being a regular feature in the early naughty’s during various managers pre-season preperations, the last of which coming in August 2007 when youngsters Lewis Trimmer and Ryan Goward were on target in a 2-1 victory.
Prior to that goals for Simon Brown and Callumn Lloyd contributed to a 2-2 draw in pre-season of 2005, The Gladiators grabbed a 4-2 victory against a mixture of reserves and youth teamers in 2004 two seasons after a much stronger Stags had been narrowly beaten 2-1. Jamie Lomas was on the score sheet for Mansfield in pre-season of 2000, a 1-0 win.
RECENT PRE-SEASON RESULTS
6-Aug-07 Matlock 1-2 Stags
1-Aug-05 Matlock 2-2 Stags
28-Jul-04 Matlock 2-4 Stags
24-Jul-01 Matlock 2-1 Stags
2-Aug-00 Matlock 0-1 Stags
GLADIATORS ROAD TO ROUND ONE
Matlock have previous in the FA Trophy having won the competition back in 1974-75 and began their “road to Wembley” this term by beating Paul Cox’s former side Eastwood 2-1 in the first qualifying round. Next up it was Leek Town where a goalless draw saw a replay needed, Matlock comfortable 3-1 winners to set up a third qualifying round tie with Stalybridge Celtic, where the Gladiators overturned a one goal deficit to run out 2-1 winners.
There are no fresh knocks for Stags to worry about tomorrow as they welcome John Dempster back from suspension, Adam Murray did pick up a knock late on Saturday but should be ok to keep his place in the line up.
There are two places to catch coverage tomorrow night as Mansfield Matters again links up with StagsPlayer. Log into StagsPlayer (Subscription) or log onto our MM-Live page from 7.30pm for full and unrivalled match commentary, Martin Shaw will be joining me for the evening once more.
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