Carabao Cup first round, Tuesday 10th August | Mansfield Town 0-3 Preston North End
What I’ve really missed about going to games, is the walk out of the ground! As strange as that may seem, you get to hear so many people’s conversations about the game and result you’ve just witnessed – it’s amazing how many different views there are!
Last night, as Mansfield Town were knocked out of the Carabao Cup again by Preston North End at the first round stage – in the five/ten minutes it took me to walk from my seat in the IGU, to the car – It went from Saturday (against Bristol Rovers) being a ‘one off’ to Preston ‘playing us off the park’ – Oh, and Danny Rose was ‘Woeful’, they meant George Lapslie – come on people, learn the squad numbers!!
For me, I’m disappointed in the manner in which we give away the first two goals – but am I that bothered we lost? Not really, I’d rather get those errors out of the way in a nothing cup game, than on Saturday against Newport.
Players have to stand up and take responsibility which I’m sure they will – Gordon and Clarke giving the ball away leading to the first, Bishop and Rawson at fault for the second – but again you’re making errors against a good championship outfit, make those in League Two I don’t think you’re punished as often.
What’s concerning is a lack of depth at the back, we really need that extra central defender – Hewitt is out injured and Perch was left out as, in Clough’s words “he’s the best centre half we’ve got and we can’t risk him” (or words to that effect, don’t come at me quote police!) – but imagine Perch starts Saturday, is sent off or worse, injured – we’ve no cover and we lose a big part of how we play.
McLaughlin deputised at centre half and did well to be fair, but again if you move him from left back, we lose our shape and become a player light in that area.
I was pleased with loanee Ryan Stirk who for me was joint man of the match with Rhys Oates – the Birmingham City youngster looked comfortable on the ball, centrally and out wide and given more game time will become a really good asset to have in the squad – proving cover for Quinn on the left, but also pushing the likes of Maris and Clarke in the middle.
We should have taken our chances and fought a little more, but again at 2-0 down with twenty minutes to go in that scenario, I’d rather go at half pace, conserve energy for Saturday and get a good result where it really matters.
There were errors as mentioned, but we move on – we’ve got a game against Salford today for predominantly an under 23s side – Richard Cooper, according to Clough, has entered a side into the Premier League Cup, the likes of Law, Sinclair, James Clarke, Charles, Knowles etc will play to get minutes, where should the Stags win, they’ll progress to a group stage.
Even being a cup game with 3-4K less fans last night, the atmosphere was still decent, let’s keep that going on Saturday when Newport come to town.
STAGS: Nathan Bishop | Kellan Gordon, Farrend Rawson, Stephen McLaughlin, Ryan Burke | George Maris (Jason Law 73), Ollie Clarke © (Danny Johnson 78), Ryan Stirk, George Lapslie | Rhys Oates (Tyrese Sinclair 64), Jordan Bowery UNUSED SUBS: George Shelvy [GK], James Clarke, Oli Hawkins, James Perch
Attendance: 2,526 (456)
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