Full Time Score Port Vale 2-1 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue Vale Park
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Nicky Ajose
Attendance 5,231 (1,430)
Craig Priest writes…
Standing on a plug with your bare foot, being kicked in the nether regions and being flicked on the ear on a really cold day are all types of horrible pain – but nothing hurts more than watching Mansfield Town FC be so lacklustre and technically poor that they lose their grip on the top three and lose to a struggling side.
What’s worse is that a few months ago the stags had an unblemished away record and were one of the toughest sides to beat away from home, and yet now David Flitcrofts men have lost their last three away games – a little feeling of panic is starting to creep in.
It’s very easy to sit here on a Sunday and moan – listing all the things that are wrong with us, and whilst five minutes ago I had a phenomenal rant which saw me nearly break my keyboard, I’ve deleted it to type this – our only downfall at this stage, is dwelling.
We were bloody awful, there is no escaping that fact – and we have been away from home since late December really, but we can’t afford to be looking back, placing blame and dwelling because that’s taking our eye of the ball – and we’re already doing that!
We’ve become too focussed on what Lincoln, Bury and MK Dons are doing around us (and how badly Notts County are doing) and have let slip of what’s important – us! Management, supporters and players alike have put so much work into turning the attitude around into this positive wave of backing – to see that crumble yesterday really frustrated me, now more than ever we need to be together – on and off the pitch.
It’s not like we’ve got a manager who is so blinded by his own arrogance to not change it up, I fully believe that they’ll be changes at Crawley, both in personnel where possible, in the system and in the way we approach the game. Alex MacDonald is probably ready to start now, Tyler Walker is back from suspension and fingers crossed Matt Preston could be back in the fold – the latter very much needed to bring some solidity back to what was a defence acting like melting butter meeting the sharpest blade.
Not for a second do I question our commitment; it’s the more simple things like passing a ball and using players as a team rather than going for glory and being all flash. We committed to this together and must go forward in that manner.
Crawley is no easy place to visit, but we need to be fuelled by our own ambitions and ruthlessly execute whatever stands in our way – it doesn’t matter about how good we were at one stage, it doesn’t matter how others are performing – we can only affect us, our attitude and our position.
TEN games to go – we may well have taken a wrong turning, but we’ll get there in the end…. So long as Ajose steers clears of penalties!
Will Atkinson was handed a start in place of Gethin Jones but otherwise it was as you were with Preston still out injured and leading scorer Tyler Walker serving the second of his two game ban. Click HERE to read the clubs official match report – but I’ll sum it up for you…
We started so badly we gave the ball away from our own kick-off, squandered a golden chance to do real damage of 18 minutes when Ajose missed a penalty which everyone in the stadium could see where he was going to put it, failed to pass a ball to ourselves but somehow managed to be 0-0 at the break. Second half we got sloppy and allowed a man with a point to prove to do just that with two school boy finishes in quick succession before substitute Otis Khan’s cross hit Ajose and went in to give us slight hope. However we still couldn’t find the net and had to ask our goalkeeper to try and do it for us – to be fair he perhaps should have won us a spot-kick which, if won, had anyone other than Smith taken it – we’d have missed.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 4-2 Cheltenham Town
STAGS [3-4-2-1]: Jordan Smith, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney (Ben turner 51), Mal Benning, Will Atkinson, Neal Bishop, Willem Tomlinson (Otis Jhan 56), CJ Hamilton, Jacob Mellis (Alex MacDonald 66), Jorge Grant, Nicky Ajose
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Gethin Jones, Alistar Smith, Zayn Hakeem
Referee: Darren Bond
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