Craig Priest previews tomorrow’s home clash with troubled Darlington
Over the past couple of month’s we’ve all followed the story of Darlington and their possible demise with a keen interest. It has to be said that the interest has been one of concern rather than hatred, Darlington at the end of the day are still a football club with a history and supporters like ourselves – nobody wants to see that disappear, regardless of any result in any cup final.
We may grumble about whatever, but three weeks ago like now, we we’re in a stable position finically with no doubts lingering over our future bar the ever on-going ground issue. You can move home, it’s been done by many a team many a time, what you can’t do is revive something from the dead, well not unless your an Eastenders Script writer anyway. Jokes aside, just over three weeks ago Darlington we’re on the brink of death with a very slim chance of survival, had they not received a last minute injection of finance they would be nothing bar a memory. Yes clubs have in a way risen from the ashes of death, a prime example being AFC Wimbledon and of late, Chester – however they are not what they once were and despite a core of the supporters watching the transition of football death to football life, deep down they’ll know it’s not quite the same. History is fine, so long as it can be added too in the future – I know a lot of you will be wondering what I mean with that quote, hopefully it’ll become clear when you think about it.
Time has been a wonderful thing for the Quakers, looking on the outside since the injection of cash from the Darlington Football Club Rescue Group, the administrators at the FA Trophy Champions have come painfully close to securing a buyer and have over the last few days accepted plans by the DFCRG for a community based club – In short, have found light at the end of the tunnel just a few steps from reach.
Now I’m not a big follower of politics or money in football so what you may have just read will be nothing you don’t already know, however I am a keen follower of something else in football – Love. Each and every supporter of Darlington will love the club in some way, whether it be because of Wembley (ouch!) or because of another moment, the love is there and it remains constant. I think back to a couple of years ago when we we’re close to being in a similar situation and how I would have felt had Sir John not arrived, I’d have been heartbroken. I can imagine the scenes from Quakers fans at Barrow in what they thought may be their last game, the tears at the full time whistle, the memories fading away like the evening sun. Getting home that night and taking off the replica shirt for what could have been the finial time on a match day must have been difficult, I think now about if that for me and must admit to getting a tiny lump in my throat. Luckily for me, our demise never happened and once again we’re ready for the climb with very little worry, for the Quakers faithful, we’ll there club is still alive and the simple most loved things like match day routines can continue.
I’m pleased that Darlington have lived to fight another day and I’m confident the light will be reached very soon, I wish them well for the rest of the season and of course, for the very long future.
Providing tomorrow’s fixture passes it’s 9.30am pitch inspection, we must keep our focus during the game – Darlington will naturally be fighting for their lives and we must match them, currently six unbeaten it would be disastrous to lose that by way of arrogance or under estimation, which so many teams in this league will be guilty of when they face a struggling team. Fortunately I believe Paul Cox is not the type of manager to allow such things, he knows the importance of every game and the value of every point gained. The arrogance and under estimation thing counts for our other games this month as well, not just Darlington, I’m not writing this to make them out to be the soul strugglers – every team has their problems, every team has something to fight for. As I wrote for the Chad this week (shameless plug!) we have made some good deals during the transfer market, and despite the imminent departure of John Dempster, we must carry on and use the captures to our advantage. We are unbeaten this calendar year, having not lost at Field Mill since 5th November. We’ve kept three clean sheets in our last four games and are playing some decent football – there’s no denying that those inside the Stags dressing room are enjoying life at the minute. Enjoyment breads confidence, confidence breads winning, winning breads success – it’s a simple equation and I guess a little like a game of Jenga, the building blocks are stable, the next game is our next move, let’s go into it with our eyes wide open and ensure that once the move has been made, it is us that remains stable, whilst the others start to fall.
We’ve a key month ahead, going into face Fleetwood stable and with four clean sheets out of five games, plus four wins out of our last five would be idea – we need to be steady for when the league leaders arrive.
Finally, no doubt you’ll have heard the excellent news about our return to Takeover, for one final game you can catch twitter updates via @mansfieldtownfc tomorrow before we return with updates on the Fleetwood game. Fingers crossed tomorrow’s game passes the pitch inspection, especially with the midweek trip to Alfreton being off! Otherwise I’ll either find myself writing endless nonsence (what do you mean ‘again’!) or watching endless rom-coms on DVD – mind you it could be worse, at least I won’t get a call off the mrs telling me she’s on the search for a new dress and I’m going with her – Oh single life can sometimes be under rated!
On that note, I bid you farewell and goodnight – make as much noise as possible tomorrow at Field Mill and help the pitch thaw out with noise! To any Quakers fans making the trip, have a safe one and all the very best for the future – I hope the beautiful game helps continue your love story for many years to come.
LAST TIME WE MET...
Well we all know the story of the FA Trophy final Wembley, when Chris Senior broke our hearts in the final minute of extra time, however since that beautiful yet heart-breaking day, the Stags and the Quakers have indeed met.
Paul Cox’s newly build squad headed to Darlington and came home with a 2-0 victory, thanks to two first half goals from Matt Green: goal machine. It was a tougher contest than the score line suggests with the Quakers threatening to break a strong Stags resistance for the majority of the game, however Mansfield hung on until the end, smashing those Wembley memories into oblivion, with no one more delighted than Adam Murray.
Team: Marriott, O'Neill, Futcher, Sutton, Kendrick, Meikle (Connor), Murray (C), Howell, Briscoe (Worthington), Green , Dyer SNU: Redmond, Stevenson, Naylor
Podcast Below - Commentary from Craig Priest & Scott Rogers
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