Craig Priest previews tomorrow’s key game with Stockport County at the one call stadium...
Sunday’s are usually spent writing match reports not match previews, however the Bank Holiday schedule sees our next game just one sleep away, playing our first game at the newly renamed One Call Stadium, as Stockport County come to town. With the form we’re in at the minute plus the awesome buzz each game is bringing, I sit wishing it would be like this every week – one day on, one day off! If only!
The importance of tomorrow’s game is simple – WIN, doing so could result in securing a play-off spot as long as three other results go in our favour. As a journalist (ish!) it’s my duty to take a look at what could happen, personally I don’t like hyping up the pressure too much as it can ruin a good thing, but it’s the time of the season now where I have too. If we gain victory tomorrow over Stockport and Kidderminster, Southport and Gateshead ALL lose – we will secure a play-off spot (3rd – 5th) as the trio along with Grimsby would be unable to catch us as they would need 10 points or more with only 9 left to play for. Should we win and the aforementioned trio pick up a point in their respective matches will we STILL be mathematically catchable and as such WILL NOT be guaranteed a play-off spot after tomorrow’s round of matches.
Table As It Stands:
KEY: Teams highlighted in YELLOW, are uncatchable by all below and face each other on Tuesday. Teams highlighted in LIGHT BLUE are the teams that need to LOSE should we WIN.
How things could look after tomorrows games:
Taking goal difference out of the picture, this is how the table will look providing Stags WIN and Kidderminster, Southport and Gateshead ALL LOSE – the table is worked out on the assumption that YORK and LUTON both win their matches, the results from these games are irrelevant to the equation which revolves around STAGS WINNING and KIDDERMINSTER, SOUTHPORT and GATESHEAD falling to DEFEAT.
Right, enough with maths and permutations let’s talk about the football. With two defeats in our last 18 fixtures we are on a very positive run of form, winning 9 games of our last 11 outings as we search for a place in those play-off spots. We are playing some good stuff and have the key ingredient to any successful side – ability, we have the ability to adapt and rise to any situation we find ourselves in. Yesterday at Kettering we came up against a team who needed to win to survive and despite all their off field issues, came out fighting. We had to be patient and after soaking up the pressure, we took control of the game created chance after chance after chance and got the desired result with three well worked and well taken goals. Tomorrow will be a similar satiation at Field Mill, or the ‘One Call Stadium’, as although Stockport are above the drop zone in 17th, they are not mathematically safe – the hatters will want to ensure that two consecutive relegations are out of the picture. This is something they’ve been doing over the past few weeks, embarking on a run which has seen them win their last three fixtures, smashing Bath City and Lincoln City 4-0 both at Edgley Park, as well as a 3-1 away win at Kettering.
The hatters are currently in their debut season outside the football league, relegated after finishing bottom of league two ending a spell of 110 years in the football league. It’s fair to say they’ve struggled to settle in unfamiliar surroundings an earlier in the season, slumped from 14th to 23rd picking up just one win in 17 matches. A change of manager has also taken place for the Greater Manchester based side this season, ex boss Jim Gannon’s now in his second spell at the helm after former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamman quit the post in November last year. During his first spell in charge, Jim Gannon led the hatters to a football league record of nine games without conceding back in 2007 – whilst he turning the fortunes around slowly bur surley, the golden days for the county boss must seem a long time ago now, his club have conceded 70 times so far this season. Another worrying factor for the Stockport boss will be the fact that on the 24 occasions they’ve conceded first this season, they have failed to turn the game around and get a win, clawing back 8 draws but failing to defeats in the other 16 games. At the other end goals have been hard to come by, scoring just 52 this season – former Leeds United youngster Tom Elliott and Fleetwood loan man Danny Rowe both lead the scoring charts with eight goals apiece.
Over the last eight games, Stockport sit 6th in the form guide with five wins and three defeats whilst during their last six on the road they have collected two wins a draw and three defeats, netting eight goals but shipping sixteen.
Stockport will be coming to Field Mill looking to find a little bit of light after what has been a murky season and as such will fight for everything they can get, in a way it’s why I didn’t really want to talk about the permeations surrounding us, I remember sitting 9th and saying that in order to get where we are now, me must focus solely on us rather than others – if you start looking around, looking back etc you fail to see what is in front of you – we have come so far to mess up now, so tomorrow at the One Call Stadium, or Field Mill depending on your preference, let’s make the noise as we have been doing so beautifully, concentrate on us and keep enjoying the ride and the thrill of the chase.
If you can’t get to Field Mill (OCS) tomorrow, tune your radios into 106.9FM from 2pm for build up followed by regular updates with myself and Wayne Briggs.
Last Time We Met:
With a relationship that first started in 1932, the Stags and the Hatters have locked horns 82 times in all competitions, both winning 31 games with the other 20 fixtures ending all square. In the 37 fixtures played at Field Mill, Mansfield have been the more productive winning 22 of those matches, being beaten only five times and sharing the points on 10 occasions, majorly outscoring the hatters in the games on Mansfield soil 72-38. The last Stockport win on Mansfield soil came back in September 1983, 2-1.
In all competitions 265 goals have been scored in the two sides 82 meetings, in the reverse fixture earlier in the season it was just the one that was needed, Luke O’Neill’s second half strike game Mansfield their first way win of the campaign and there second clean sheet of the season, two days after beating Kettering 3-0 at home during the August bank holiday weekend – a repeat? Time will tell.
Stockport 0-1 Stags 29.8.11 Line Up: [4-4-2] Marriott, O'Neill , Futcher, Sutton, Kendrick, Briscoe, Murray (C), Howell, Meikle (Worthington), Green, Dyer (Connor) SNU: Redmond, Stevenson, Wood
Podcast: Commentary from Craig Priest and Scott Rogers
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