Retford United 1-9 Mansfield Town | Pre-Season Friendly | Tuesday 13th July 2021 | Cannon Park
I won't lie, I had a tear in my eye as I walked through the turnstiles and saw fellow fans starting to gather at Retford United last night.
It may well have been a pre-season friendly, a nothing game, but to me it was absolutely everything. Sixteen months of hell, over. Football was back!
Watching last season unfold from the sofa was excruciating, of course we tried to make the most of it with the Facebook live broadcasts and everything, but NOTHING will ever beat seeing people smile, laugh and pass the time of day all over one common cause – Mansfield Town Football Club.
Naturally the feelings and emotions will intensify over the coming weeks as we return to the One Call Stadium to face Coventry in a friendly, not to mention seeing actual league football again – travelling those endless miles on a Saturday, but – what a nice feeling it was to get out and reunite.
Nigel Clough has been busy trying to build a squad and re-grow the spirit after a few horrible seasons, it was nice to see the new faces in action and I certainly look forward to watching things unfold.
Naturally the 9-1 score line is very pleasing, it’s VERY early so I’m trying to avoid going into too much depth and get carried away, but what did please me is that even at the early stage, what Clough wants is being implemented – we play flowing football with hunger and intent, displayed not just in nine very good goals, but in the general play.
It was a little concerning that Clough was without nine players (apologies if I’ve got my maths wrong) – seven self-isolating, one injured in Law and the other (Stech) you can put into whatever category you want! However, I guess that (A) it’s good that it’s week two of pre-season and not the opening week, and (B) that the younger lads who got their opportunity gained vital minutes and experience.
There were several impressive performances, but I’m going to hold back on giving full thoughts until we’ve had a few games – it’s VERY hard to judge on one game against, and I mean no disrespect here, a side at the level of Retford – by which I mean with the quality we had on the pitch in attacking areas especially, goals were very much expected.
The Stags DID include a trialist, according to the official report/ team news by the name of G.Scott (I didn’t realise until after hence the confusion with Josh Scott [young striker] on my Twitter updates) – other than that the squad was strong, bolstered by younger lads due to those in self-isolation including young keeper Owen Mason who I thought was very vocal and unfortunate to not keep a clean sheet.
The line-up for those interested was as follows: Owen Mason, Kellan Gordon (J. Clarke 60'), Rollin Menayese (G. Scott 60' [TRIALIST]), Elliott Hewitt (Cooper 60'), Stephen McLaughlin (Charles 60'), Ollie Clarke © (Hill 60'), Stephen Quinn (Ward 44'), Harry Charsley (O'Keeffe 60'), George Lapslie (Sinclair 45'), Oli Hawkins (Knowles 60'), Danny Johnson (Caine 60')
A solid and pleasing 9-1 win in the end, well worth the 16-month wait – I can’t wait for more friendlies to follow now because if last night proved anything, it’s that Mansfield, really does matter!
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