Full Time Score Mansfield Town 1-2 Stevenage
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Tyler Walker
Attendance 6,390 (209)
Craig Priest writes…
Why? That’s the question on every true Stags fans lips this morning. Why do our team do this to us, why can’t things ever be simple and why, when everything is going our way, do the script writers see fit to add in the cruellest of plot twists – 90th minute winners for the opposition?
You invest so much in the drama and accept there will be twists and turns along the way, but when you reach the penultimate episode and you think yo9u’ve got everything sussed – something comes along to leave you gasping for breath, or sunk back in your seat struggling to hold back the tears.
There’s no way to dress up yesterday, there’s no way to come out and try and put a positive filter on the picture – I can’t do it. I’m angry, I’m hurt, I feel let down by those in control of our destiny – because at this critical stage there’s no room for excuses, no room for error, and very little time to do a re-write.
I think David Flitcroft is a fantastic manager and person, and underneath this frustrated collection of ranting words, I believe we’ll get over the line and achieve what’s needed – BUT listening to his post-match interview, I felt let down and his comments were the sake of making them – blaming the conditions, blaming the vulnerability of counter attacks, saying we knew this, we knew that – it’s not good enough ultimately, staff and players need to hold their hands up and above all else – put it right.
I felt, for the sake of reflecting on things rather than just venting, that we coped with the conditions first half and whilst we had Logan to thank for two fine saves, we were on course to take the bull by the horns in the second half. But then a lack of movement, a lack of willingness to make things happen and a lack of killer touch saw the sands of time trickle by and in typical Mansfield fashion, we made it harder for ourselves when we gifted Stevenage the keys to our house, and they found the deeds and sold it from under our feet.
Our only saving grace in the whole situation was that MK Dons were beaten at Colchester which means it’s as you were going into next weekend’s final fixture against the Dons, who sit below us on goal difference.
FAILURE to win yesterday, or at least draw, has allowed other teams to come in to the mix as with Bury’s game at Tranmere getting postponed – the latter could now leapfrog us on the final day if they beat Bury in midweek and then beat Crawley, IF we were to draw – as Tranmere would be on 78 points and us & MK on 77.
Of course that’s not the end of this messy plot as goal difference would also come into play for the final automatic promotion slot, as IF Bury had lost at Tranmere and then lost to Port Vale as that’d put us, MK and Bury all on 77 points – our goal difference, thanks in no small part to the 4-0 win over Morecambe, is better (3rd GD +29) than both Bury (2nd GD +26) and MK (4th GD +21).
Forest Green Rovers could also have a say in things, but are not really a danger to us in terms of the automatics – a win for them plus a defeat for us at MK would only affect the play-off standings and fixtures, as MK would obviously go up having beaten us.
Do I care about any of this? NO. Should you? NO, although as proved yesterday and in previous weeks a lot of fans naturally will do. Should the players and management care? 100% NO! This is merely the messy way that all of this could come to an end – but for once, let’s keep it simple and just win – because a win, wraps it up nicely!
To David Flitcroft and the players, use today to get everything out of your system and come into training ready to give it give it every last bit of energy to gain automatic promotion – because over the course of the season that’s what you deserve.
To fellow supporters, let’s do the same and give unconditional love and support to the players on Saturday and not let anger, disappointment and opinion boil over – because that will NOT hope. To those inevitable band wagon jumpers, welcome, where have you been all season? Actually no my sarcasm doesn’t matter – but PLEASE make a choice, either join the rest of us and back what we’ve all desired, or jump off the band wagon now and don’t even think about jumping on it again.
Yes a cruel plot twist has sent a curve ball right through us, BUT that plot twist is NOT the ending to this story – we’ve one more episode to go, and we hold the pen. Let’s make it a happily ever after yeah?
Does it really matter any more? If it does and you’re reading this from the future and want to know how it all unfolded, click here – because in the present day, reflecting on the plot twist, doesn’t matter to me – only the MK Dons game does, sorry!
Come on you Stags, let’s do this.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 1-2 Stevenage
STAGS [3-4-1-2] Conrad Logan, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, Gethin Jones (Jorge Grant 73), Neal Bishop, Willem Tomlinson (Danny Rose 65), Mal Benning (Alex MacDonald 90), Jacob Mellis, Tyler Walker, CJ Hamilton
Unused Subs: Jordan Smith, Will Atkinson, Zayn Hakeem, Ben Turner
Referee: Darren Drysdale
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