Craig Priest writes...
You know it’s funny what conversations do to you, half an hour ago I went to make a cuppa and for some reason started talking about the weekend and then, on a spiral as conversations often do here, about our Blue Square Bet Premier Journey.
In all honesty I was tempted to relay the whole conversation but during it, I felt a churn in my stomach – we are not of it yet so keep quiet! The reflective conversation with my dad did re-emphasise something to me however, the importance of escaping this nightmare-like yet somewhat beautiful league and not getting carried away, there are twists and turns yet to come.
Tomorrow’s match with Tamworth is another opportunity to progress and nothing more, it’s a simple fact that no matter what Kidderminster do, all we have to do is keep winning as there are more points available for us than the Harriers.
As a club we have grown so much in so many different ways from our debut season in the Football Conference and are in the best shape we’ve been in for many a year – the point though is that Kidderminster are in the same boat as are Wrexham, we all seen change in some form and we’ve all got the desire to progress and get back to our “roots”.
I believe in fate and destiny, you all know my thoughts on what destiny is (well you will do if you’ve been paying attention!) but fate is another thing, it’s somewhat reflective. Matt Green’s dismissal at the end of last season during the play-off’s may well turn out to be fate – his absence led to defeat and has arguably taught Paul Cox a lesson in having back-up and strength in depth. I guess you could argue that Ben Hutchinson should have been given a shot but was he as ready as he’ll be this term if called upon – no.
The fact that lessons have been learned has helped Cox in the way we prepare, the way we play and the approach we take to each and every game – a day out at Wembley for the second year in succession would have been brilliant, I’ll give you that, but would we have had the stability to progress further had we actually achieved promotion? In my opinion no, we’d have been like a caravan resting on its wheels! Fate told us it wasn’t our time and then asked us a question – are you going to sit there and cry for failing at the first hurdle or are you going to get back up and come out fighting next time around? Our form answers that question perfectly.
Drawing at York, we all said we’d win because of the home advantage – we’d already booked our coach seats and hotels before a ball had been kick – Arrogance forgot that York City had finished a place below us with a very good away record (third in the stat tables) and a very strong defence and strike force, Arrogance made us forget that York City had been harbouring dreams of a football league return for a lot more seasons that we had – Arrogance placed on team on that One Call pitch not two, that’s fate.
It’s fate for the reason that are we forgetting about leaders Kidderminster this term, no we are not – if you are go and research them, go and figure out that THEY TOO have a history and a desire to return to the promise land. Then there’s Wrexham too, fresh from their FA Trophy victory, all be it on penalties last Sunday, they have the taste of success and that small taste may prove to be a mere starter course for the main meal: the conference title!
Tamworth are a good side and despite our 100% record of visits to the Lamb Ground, will prove tough to beat. Earlier this term John Dempster went on loan to the Lambs during their good spell, currently Dale Belford’s Lambs are mid-table and four points clear of the drop – they’ll want to ensure survival for another season following their 2008-09 promotion and will certainly give us a game. All this talk of out numbering their fans is irrelevant; yes we’ll make noise and be heard but that counts for nothing on the pitch!
Focus must be solely on the Lamb Ground but for those wondering, Kidderminster will be eager to extend their seven game unbeaten home run as they face mid-table Braintree whilst newly crowned FA Trophy Champions Wrexham travel to Hyde, a club similar to Tamworth eager to pull themselves further away from the drop-zone.
So let’s get dolled up in our Amber and Blue and make as much noise as we can, but let’s leave the dreams and the arrogance at home, locked under the stairs like Harry Potter – back the boys and believe!
Don’t kill me for writing these words because I am no saint, I’ve had dreams of promotion etc and I’ve looked at the fixtures and ticked off the points, however that conversation has brought me back down to earth – one game at a time, we concentrate until the very end. Kidderminster as I say are up there but we are breathing down their necks, in fact we are so close, we are breathing for them! Wrexham are a little further behind us and have the us to play twice, they are still close enough to be felt though. Remember you can’t walk forwards whilst looking backwards over your shoulder. Concentrate and Focus will see us through – talking of focus, I never did get that cup of tea...
LAST TIME WE MET
As mentioned above Stags have a 100% record against Tamworth at the Lamb Ground from our three meetings so far, earlier in the season at the One Call Stadium Stags did also grab all three points as the silenced the Lambs rather than Slaughter them, A Matt Green penalty plus a Luke Jones goal did the job for Stags back in September.
Last term Stags also took maximum points from the Lambs with both games played within two weeks of each other as the calendar year made the transition from February to March. Adam Smith and Matt Green stuck at the One Call with Green grabbing the only goal at the Lamb in what proved a nervy encounter in our quest for the play-offs.
In total there have been seven league encounters since the clubs first meeting in 2010 at the Lamb when Stags ran out 4-2 winners. There have been 15 goals netted in those seven meetings, Stags lead 11-4.
Paul Cox received a blow in the week as the injury sustained by James Jennings on Tuesday against Nuneaton proved to be a Hamstring tare; this subsequently rules the full back out for the remainder of the season.
Cox acted quickly and brought in Luton left back Greg Taylor on emergency loan, The Bedford born 23 year old looks likely to go straight into tomorrow’s starting line up. Cox will also be without Ross Dyer and Jake Speight- the duo the only others un-available for tomorrow’s match.
Over in the other camp, Lambs caretaker boss Dale Belford who will keep the reigns until the season’s end after Marcus Law’s dismissal is without full back Scott Barrow but is boosted by the loan signing of 19 year old midfielder Max Harrop.
Tomorrow’s encounter is an all ticket affair so PLEASE DO NOT TRAVEL WITHOUT A TICKET – instead, book your seat on your sofa, in your office etc and log onto our MM-LIVE page from 2pm – you can also catch coverage on Takeover Radio 106.9FM at the same time.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on the other scores as per usual and you can get involved with the show by tweeting @mtfcmatters or texting 07804 15 66 37 – during the build up we’ll be asking what will be the critical factor in our final push for the title.
COME ON YOU STAGS!
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