Sky Bet League Two, Game 3 – Saturday 26th September 2020, One Call Stadium [Behind Closed Doors]
After throwing away a two goal lead last weekend, Mansfield Town needed to have a positive reaction – but madness in the week with Covid-19 testing coupled with a windy and dull day set the tone for the inevitable… our first defeat of the new campaign.
Fortunately, the entire batch of Stags’ tests came back negative, and whilst some will argue that the players got nowhere near Orients’ for the virus to transfer – the reality is, it’s no joking matter and something which will have surely played on the minds of those involved this week.
However, what happened shouldn’t be used as an excuse on the pitch – and I’m sure Graham Coughlin won’t allow it when the boys report for training at the RH Academy on Monday morning.
The fact of the matter is, Mansfield were well below par and lacked zest, energy, desire and fire in their performance and two more pieces of poor defending allowed a similarly poor Exeter to take home all three points.
To the Stags’ credit, they played well for the first half an hour or so and deserved their goal with the training ground practised corner routine paying off – but it felt like driving around in first gear throughout, with a real hesitance to change pace and dominate the game in which they had in previous weeks.
When you play the way we do, we can’t afford to resort to pumping the ball long – doing so loses the talents of the midfield three, especially Maris who has shown he can be a real asset and danger in league two when given the ball to feet and room to play.
Likewise, when without the ball – you have to press and get down the throats of the opposition – especially at home! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when you say to someone “make yourself at home” that is NEVER an invitation for them to knock a wall down, change the carpet and paint the walls is it?
I’m happy to write this one off as a bad day at the office, given the week we’ve had in preparation – but only if that’s not used as an excuse, that there’s an acceptance from the players that things weren’t good enough AND, most importantly, there’s a positive response next week at Newport.
We need someone to step up and drag us through these sticky periods more, it was evident yesterday that the visitors were taking a hold of the game, as it was last weekend at Leyton Orient – we’re a young side, a sprinkle ore of experience wouldn’t go a miss to push on and ignite this weird distant season.
Click HERE to read the clubs official match report.
STAGS: Marek Stech | Rollin Menayese, Farrend Rawson, Ryan Sweeney | Corey O’Keeffe, Ollie Clarke © George Maris, Mal Benning (Stephen McLaughlin 77) | Harry Charsley (Kellan Gordon 77) | Andy Cook, Jordan Bowery (Nicky Maynard 64)
Unused Subs: Aidan Stone, Aaron O’Driscoll, Jamie Reid, Alistair Smith
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