_ Craig Priest looks ahead to tomorrow’s home clash with Tamworth...
Following Tuesday evening’s emphatic 5-2 victory over troubled Darlington, it’s fair to say the mood is high and that tomorrow’s game can’t come quick enough. Frustratingly still in 9th place following Gateshead’s 2-1 win at York on Wednesday, it may be easy for sum to label tomorrow’s game as another ‘catch up’ fixture, however a look at the league standings will tell you that Paul Cox’s men are just three points of the bottom play-off space, with a game in hand over current occupiers Southport, who travel to Ebbsfleet tomorrow.
The league is so tight; one round of results can change the whole outlook of the table – this season’s final day could well be a dramatic one. That is all I’ll say on the matter at the moment however, as looking too far into the future can put a massive dent into the here and now, as Paul Cox said to the press on Thursday mornings press meeting, the most important game is the next one, let’s focus solely on that. I totally agree and having watched and analyzed this seasons’ progression, we play well and get the best results when there is no pressure heaped upon us and the lads, as a result, enjoy their football. The Mansfield gaffer came out with an interesting quote on Thursday, ‘We are working everyday to become better, but sometimes all you have to do is put a smile on the faces’. I’ll let you work that one out for yourselves, but trust me with our squad, this makes perfect sense and in actual fact, could be the key factor in whether or not we finish in the play-offs when the final full time whistle is blown.
We are yet to face Tamworth this season so it’s difficult to be able to know what to expect in tomorrow’s fixture, although scanning the Lambs season progression, I hazard a guess at inconsistency. A strong start of three wins, a draw and a defeat in August saw Marcus Law’s men in a play-off place as the first month of the season drew to a close, however with just eight wins since the start of September, the former Bristol Rovers goal keepers side have slipped from 4th down to 14th picking up just eight points (two wins and two draws) from the last 10 fixtures. Perhaps distracted by a decent FA Cup run which saw the Lambs pull Everton out of the round three hat, Law’s side have a habit of conceding early doors, picking the ball out of the net 14 times in the opening 15 minutes of games over the course of the season. That said, at the other end the Lambs have netted 17 times in the final fifteen minutes of games this season – as I say, inconsistency would be the best way to describe their season.
The Everton game may be the inspiration Law needs to steer the Tamworth ship, the largest ever crowd for a Tamworth game may see a few more come through the New Lamb Ground turnstiles as the former Kettering manager looks for success in the first year of his three year contract, after he joined Tamworth in May 2011. However the mid table position won’t help the Lambs who are 14 points off a play-off spot with as many to go and 13 from the drop zone.
Three familiar faces will be returning to Field Mill tomorrow, former player assistant Paul Hall is on the coaching staff whilst former midfielder Kyle Nix has recently signed following the expiry of his Gateshead deal. Top scorer from our 2002-03 campaign Iyseden Christie is currently leading the goal scoring charts for the Lambs, with 11 in all competitions.
Moving on and despite the victory, Tuesday was actually a sad evening for some as John Dempster played his final game before returning to Crawley. Since the full time whistle questions have been asked over who would replace Dempster, today Paul Cox has brought giant defender Exodus Geohaghon to the club, on emergency loan from troubled Darlington until the end of the season. Myself and Wayne will be discussing his addition tomorrow on the show, also discussing whether or not his addition will be enough for the final fourteen games in newly introduced section, Hot Topics.
Standing tall at 6ft5in, the 26 year old arrives on the back of a loan spell with Dagenham & Redbridge, and will be eager to make his mark on the team, also giving the option of an almighty long throw which has undone many a Stags defence over the past four seasons!
As I mentioned at the top of the piece, let’s keep our focus solely on tomorrow’s game and enjoy the remainder of the season, enjoyment breads confidence, confidence breads winning which in turn breads success. To those inside Field Mill tomorrow, as always make as much noise as possible, to those unable to go – join myself and Wayne Briggs for regular updates throughout the afternoon, on 106.9FM only, from 2pm.
_Last Time We Met
As mentioned above, Paul Cox’s side have yet to face Tamworth this season with the return fixture penned in for Saturday 10th March. So we have to go back to last season for the last game between the two sides, under the leadership of Duncan Russell the Stags ran out 2-0 winners against then Des Little’s side, with second half goals from Ashley Cain and Louis Briscoe. Incidentally in the three ties played at Field Mill between the clubs, Mansfield have failed to beat the Lambs, a 2-0 victory for Tamworth in the FA Trophy (December 2009) and a 1-0 victory (September 2010) goes along with a 0-0 draw (March 2010).
Line Up: Tamworth 0-2 Stags 5/3/11 David Grof, Gary Silk, Tom Naylor, Kevin Sandwith, Dan Spence, Ashley Cain , Adam Murray (C), Tyrone Thompson, Louis Briscoe , Paul Connor, Louis Moult (Danny Mitchley).
Audio highlights of the game are available here, playable via your computers media player
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