_ Craig Priest writes ahead of tomorrow's home game with Darlington...
After a lacklustre performance at Newport on Saturday which brought our unbeaten run in 2012 to an end, it’s fair to say tomorrow night’s game can’t come around quick enough. Paul Cox has no fresh injury worries to contend with as we face our old FA Trophy adversary’s, however the Stags boss does admit that his squad contains a lot of bruised ego’s following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat. It was far from the best performance and in my opinion lacked the qualities we have within that had, prior to the South Wales trip; put us in a prime position. There seemed to be a clear lack of energy, a lack of willingness, fight, desire and ability – quite simply we we’re poor and if we want to be successful, cannot perform like that again.
No doubt over the weekend loved ones ears we’re bent and cats have been kicked releasing the frustration left by the result at Newport, however as Paul Cox said at this morning’s press call, there’s 15 games left to go, we can’t afford to sit and mull things over. In my opinion dwelling takes you nowhere but a darker place, you can make a mistake so long as what you do next is strong enough to counter it. Yes we we’re awful at Newport and looked a shadow of the side which went six unbeaten, keeping three clean sheets – however none of us own a tardis or a back to the future delorean, so we have to accept defeat and move on.
Next up is Darlington at Field Mill tomorrow night, re-arranged after the big February freeze saw the original game, scheduled for Saturday 4th February, postponed. As I wrote in my original match preview, we have all followed the story of Darlington closely and genuinely feel for them. That said, and with no disrespect intended what so ever to Craig Liddle’s side, we must go into the game and take maximum points. Darlington, weather made up of youth players or not, are fighting for survival both in terms of relegation and as a club itself. That fight brings some inner energy out of players, if they get a good start they believe they can get something from the game and kick there heals in deeper, a quick bad start and things can go the other way, Darlington are fragile and each game is a fine line.
One of my favourite quotes is “under estimation and over confidence will be our greatest downfall” we have to live by this tomorrow and be cautious of what Darlington have in their locker. Despite an almighty fall from 11th to 20th in a run which has seen the troubled Quakers collect just two points in eight outings, they still play some good stuff and put teams under pressure, it’s easy to forget their fall to one place from the drop zone is not entirely performance related as they we’re handed a 10 point deduction for entering administration in January.
As I’ve often wrote I wish to see no team in financial troubles and would hate to be in that position as fan, watching my beloved club die a slow painful death would be unbearable. Sometimes results don’t matter, just playing week in week out is enough as the devil is killed by life – I wish Darlington well. I’m having to fight against myself to write this now because the one thing I hate is selfishness and arrogance, but in terms of OUR season tomorrow night we have to be selfish, we have to be a little arrogant and mean and condemn Darlington to another defeat. We got lucky on Saturday as we didn’t really slip to far away from the play-off chasing pack, we need to rectify our wrong doings and spark the start of another unbeaten run, so at the end of the season we can look back and say we we’re fighters when it mattered.
If you can’t get to Field Mill for tomorrow’s game, be sure to tune into 106.9FM only for regular updates throughout the night from 7.30pm with myself and Wayne Briggs. Prior to kick off both tomorrow and Saturday, we’ll be discussing Keith Curle’s appointment as Notts County manager and how that will affect how we remember his tenure at Field Mill. Plenty of you have had you’re so far including former Stags front man Junior Mendez, there’s still time to get your thoughts in via FACEBOOK – TWITTER – EMAIL or TEXT 07982 865 624.
_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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