Craig Priest & Emily Sykes write...
Tomorrow’s game can’t come quick enough for some and to be fair we can see why with all the expectation and the dreams of what could follow – however for us we just want it over with. This might seem a little bit negative purely because of its importance but no matter how you look at it, nothing is won or lost tomorrow night.
Stags’ climb from mid-table mediocrity to top has been nothing short of phenomenal, to think that if we get three points tomorrow we’ll be five points clear is frightening, especially when you add in the fact of the game in hand plus reverse fixture at the One Call Stadium.
Every post we see online and every conversation we have with others about the title race has started to irritate us, winning the league can’t be decided on ifs and buts – we don’t have a divine right to take the crown, Kidderminster and tomorrow’s opponents Wrexham are the two main contenders coming after us like a hyped up lion.
If we’ve learnt anything from our previous experiences it’s that we have to stay grounded and the players have to keep working, tomorrow’s probably the toughest test we’ve faced in years as the welsh side will know the importance of having a lead on their opponents. What makes tomorrow interesting is that the game falls at somewhat fragile point for Wrexham as the fixture falls just days prior to their trip to Wembley in the FA Trophy final. A manager’s brief from a club chairman will always include winning trophies and despite the FA Trophy being branded a Mickey Mouse like competition it’s still one which would satisfy the brief – will Andy Morrell rest legs? Will he field a weakened side? Will he concentrate on the greatest price of promotion back to the Football League and more importantly will the players have their eye on Sunday’s cup final.
We remember two years ago when Stags were in the FA Trophy Final, the day as a whole holds memories for everyone despite the final outcome. Craig recalls the match before Wembley, a trip to Bath City. Having fought back to beat Gateshead the previous week the players looked like they were going to find some momentum and end the season in style, what they did was the exact opposite as 99% of those involved didn’t want to do themselves any harm and miss the final. After the match Craig spoke to a player who shall not be named the player told him that none of the lads cared about getting a result at Bath as they all wanted to be fit for selection at Wembley and as such vowed, as a unit, not to slide tackle or run beyond a pace which could potentially cause them injury. There was one player that didn’t agree with this in Steven Istead, he made a slide tackle and got sent off and therefore missed the Wembley final – we wonder what he’d do if he got the chance to play that game again.
The point of that reflection is that sometimes if you dangle a big enough carrot in front of someone’s face they will become distracted, we Wrexham be the same? As a result of this we must play our game to force them into a physiological battle, do they make a challenge make a run or do they take that split second of hesitance ahead of the next game. We said a few weeks ago that it was only results that matter, whilst this is still true and always will be at this stage you have to be mentally prepared for any situation you might find yourself in – for Stags this starts tomorrow.
Don’t be suckered in to potential distractions or outcomes just keep on with what has served us well so far and enjoy the ride.
LAST TIME WE MET
The two sides last locked horns in the penultimate game of last season at The One Call Stadium, where second place Wrexham were clearly falling off the rails and loosing pace rapidly. Anthony Howell opened the scoring early on before Alan Marriott joined the you-tube legacy of goal scoring goal keepers netting his first ever goal and Stags’ 50th home goal of the season on a terribly wet night.
In the reverse fixture at the Racecourse Ground in late September Stags ran out 3-1 winners in what proved to be a tough and tight encounter during which both teams saw a player dismissed.
In total the sides have met 85 times down the years a relationship which begin back in 1932. Wrexham have recorded 31 wins to Mansfield’s 33 and have netted 121 goals to our 127 in total. Meanwhile at Wrexham Stags have only recorded seven victories to Wrexham’s 20 which includes the dragon’s FA Trophy first round triumph in 2008 in terms of goals at Wrexham the welsh side lead 73-38.
Another simple one for Paul Cox for this one as he’ll probably name an un-changed line-up, however he’ll be sweating over the fitness of Junior Daniel who had to be taken off early on at Forest Green on Friday. Former Wrexham striker Jake Speight will probably miss out along with Ross Dyer, however he’ll probably play some part in the reverse team’s match with Grimsby on Wednesday at Coronation Park 3pm.
If you can’t make the biggest game of the Stags season so far then be sure to join Craig for full match commentary from around 7pm at the Racecourse Ground. Simply tune your radio’s into 106.9FM or log on to our MM-LIVE Page as we bring you every second of the action.
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