Craig Priest writes....
A few weeks ago I was sat here comparing defeat to victory in the hope of seeing us build, however as ever in football hope meant nothing and defeat came sweeping in. This time I believe that this victory (Woking) on the back of defeat (Grimsby) will actually be the start of something positive as we progress with the seasons second month.
I wrote in the match report about the positive returns Stags had in their side, one was of course Adam Murray. I’ve heard people suggesting he came in and ‘Did a Todd’ – coming in for one game, dragging us out of the mud and onto the straight path before moving back in the shadows, personally I think that anyone who thinks Murray’s appearance on Saturday was a cameo may need to think again! Murray loves playing football and loves Mansfield Town, if Paul Cox wanted to fill the gap left by the suspended Roberts he’d have selected Hand or Tolley in my opinion rather than Murray, the fact the latter was not only selected but skippered the side, tells its own story – get used to seeing Murray on the pitch rather than in the dugout, he’s back for good.
I won’t suggest for a second that things were perfect on Saturday, that ten minute spell when Marriott kept us in the game won’t have been ignored – but what I will say is that we found our way back to who we were, there was a more honest-ness and truth in our play which is exactly what we needed and still need to carry us forward. Not once have I put a negative spin on the amount of transfers made in the close season, I’ll always maintain they add to our strength and with the reserve team up and running every member of the squad is kept fresh with competitive action, however I am a believer in that too much new mixed with old doesn’t quite get the results you want – you have to get the blend right, something Paul Cox has now, hopefully, done! Against Newport we started the game with six old players with five newbie’s – four of which was the back four, that mixture of old and new is now down too nine old players (Ex included) and two new boys, Luke Jones and Junior Daniel. I think that blend was right as no longer we’re we looking to create something new and find the right path, we just picked up from where we left off and from what worked with the new boy’s feeding from it and suiting it. Add to that the influence from the bench and at last we’ve found the nucleus and, in my opinion, can now stop looking at it as us and them (us being the class of 2011-12 and them being the summer captures) and just looking at it as a squad which has found it’s fusion and will hopefully, begin to grow.
Tomorrow will be an extremely tough test of the squad’s character as they play host to Marcus Law’s Tamworth, a side tipped by many to be a surprise package this term – early indications suggest they’ll do it too as the Lambs sit in eighth with three wins, a draw and two defeats so far – the defeats back to back to Wrexham and Braintree respectively. Lambs boss Law was busy in the summer with 14 signings, including class additions such as former stags loanee Marcus Kelly, Kidderminster full back Tom Marshall, Blue Square winner Peter Till and well travelled midfielder Lee Hendrie to name a few.
Last season was a disappointing one for the ambitious Lambs who failed to win any of their last 14 fixtures last season finishing in a final 18th position. Law’s side began in similar fashion last term with three wins from their opening five games, tomorrow the experienced boss will be eagar to avoid a third successive defeat – something Paul Cox and his management team will be well aware of, a reason why tomorrow night’s game will be a tough physical encounter.
LAST TIME WE MET:
Paul Cox has everyone bar long term injury victim Ross Dyer up for selection tomorrow now that Gary Roberts has completed his ban, I highly doubt he’ll change a winning team though as he’ll look to build on what was gained on Saturday.
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