Full Time Score Macclesfield Town 1-1 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue Moss Rose, Macclesfield
Stags Goal Scorers Mal Benning
Attendance 2,624 (1,184)
Craig Priest writes…
In football there are good draws and bad draws – sometimes there are neither and yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Macclesfield was neither, it was a stereotypical ‘game of two halves’, a lesson and a totally unacceptable second half showing.
Credit must go to Macclesfield for their triple change at the break but changed the game for them, however that’s as far as the credit goes the blame (as harsh as that word may seem) is on us as a collective – we didn’t deal with or respond to those changes, we should have put the game out of reach prior to the break and above all else – we showed no heart or desire to take anything but a point, which in the end, we were VERY fortunate to come away with.
The fact we didn’t put the game out of reach before the break I can just about accept, it can be chalked off in isolation as ‘one of those days’ – BUT that particular phrase is cropping up too often now and five games in, that worries me.
What I can’t stomach is the way were absolutely peppered in the second half and if this were ‘Macclesfield Matters’ – I’d be sitting here praising our attack! A better team would have pummelled us into a four, maybe five-one loss and given us a real spanking. We didn’t deal with the pressure and looked lost.
Above all else, and this is something that’s been bubbling away for a few games now, is the absolute lack of movement and want to make things happen in the second half – especially after conceding.
Teams have figured out the way we attack and are pressing us higher up the pitch, we can easily break this down if ONE player makes a run, but everybody just stands there wanting the ball to feet and excepting things to happen for them – it’s almost spoilt brat mentality, show some desire and creativity and one point from a winning position with the taste of frustration – will be replaced with the sweet satisfaction of victory.
In football, as in life, you get out of it what you put in – so on that display which lacked heart and passion, a point is like robbing a bank really. I don’t want to use the R word as we could be in a far worse position and shape, BUT we can only carry on with this careless approach to collecting points for so long before we find ourselves in trouble.
This is not born out of frustration or an arrogant attitude, it’s born out of the knowledge that we know how good we can be, and how capable we are – a little more of as ruthless streak and we’re onto a winner.
Finally, lets end on a positive note – and a big round of applause for the Stags academy set up after the debut of Lewis Gibbens. Two years ago Gibbens was playing football on a park and has been coached, nurtured and developed into a real asset. Like with any young player, there are still improvements to be made, that tendency to slide in for one, BUT he looks a real solid defender older than his years and I’ve no doubt that he’ll add to his debut more over the course of the season.
Defender Hayden White missed out with a knock which gave 18 year old Lewis Gibbens his first start since making the transition from the Academy to the first team during the summer, otherwise it was unchanged from the side which drew 0-0 at Tranmere, with keeper Olejnik keeping his place after a fine display.
The Stags started well winning a corner within the opening minute, from which Alex MacDonald fired over.
Craig Davies and Neal Bishop also tried their luck but failed to break the deadlock within the opening ten minutes, a spell where Olejnik went untroubled in the Stags goal infront of a brilliant Stags support.
Khan picked out Benning on 13 minutes but the advancing wing-back’s touch was too heavy, at the other end Harry Smith rose at the far post but couldn’t keep his header down
Chances for MacDonald, Khan, Walker and Davies followed but despite Mansfield going through the gears – they couldn’t break the silkmen’s seal. The Stags came closer on the half hour as Walker and then Bishop saw efforts saved – two minutes later, Otis Khan delivered a chipped cross from the bye-line – powerfully headed home by Mal Benning to put the Stags ahead.
Two efforts for Hamilton plus chances for Walker and Davies went astray before the break – at the interval the Stags led, but that was about the change as the pendulum of domination swung in favour of the other MTFC.
The hosts rang the changes at the interval and Mansfield struggled to adapt, although both Hamilton and Khan did have efforts to double the Stags advantage.
Macclesfield were growing into the game and you could sense a goal around the corner, Ryan Sweeney – playing as the central of the three defenders, made a critical block to deny the hosts.
Back at the other end a goalmouth scramble prevented the Stags the critical second on the hour mark, before three minutes later – the inevitable happened as Macclesfield levelled – Harry Smith powering beyond Oljenik.
Smith should have then put the hosts ahead but put his header at the far post wide, the let-off clearly not enough for the Stags who consistently allowed the hosts away forward – fortunately Macclesfield failed to have the clinical touch they showed in winning the conference title last season.
The Stags’ own chances in front of goal were drying up and the ripple of frustration showed at the final whistle – Flitcroft’s men remain unbeaten but have won just once in five league games, twice surrendering a lead from a commanding position.
FULL TIME: Macclesfield Town 1-1 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, Lewis Gibbens, CJ Hamilton, Neal Bishop, Alex MacDonald (Jacob Mellis 71), Mal Benning, Otis Khan (Omari Terling-James 77), Craig Davies (Danny Rose 62), Tyler Walker
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Will Atkinson, Calum Butcher, Jordan Graham
Referee: Anthony Blackhouse
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