For the 2012-13 Campaign, Mansfield Town entered a reserve team for the which played in two separate leagues, the Central League East and the Central League Division Two - the latter is a league made up of clubs from league two and the conference whilst the former is designed to reduce travelling time and cost, Andy Todd took charge of the reserve side.
29-Aug Port Vale H Central League Division 2 Fixture L1-0 *Downloadable Match Pack*
12-Sep Wrexham A Central League Division 2 Fixture W3-1 Stevenson, Boateng (TRAILIST), Owens *Downloadable Match Pack*
17-Sep Rainworth MW A Friendly W3-0
03-Oct Gateshead H 7pm Central League League Cup W1-0 Hutchinson *Downloadable Match Pack*
16-Oct Bradford City H 7pm Central League DIVISION 2 W7-0 Stevenson, Clements, Hutchinson 2, Wright 3 *Downloadable Match Pack*
31-Oct Rotherham United A 2pm Central League EAST DIVISION D1-1 Briscoe *Downloadable Match Pack*
28-Nov Hull City A 7pm Central League League Cup 7pm D0-0
04-Dec Hartlepool United H Central League League Cup 2pm L3-2 Wright(P) Speight MATCH PACK - TEAM SHEET
19- Dec Burton Albion A 2pm Central League DIVISION 2 D2-2 [No Info Availble]
08-Jan Hartlepool United H 2pm~ Central League EAST DIVISION W5-0 Rhead, Stevenson, Daniel, Vilums  *Downloadable Match Pack*
30-Jan Grimsby Town A 2pm Central League EAST DIVISION W3-0 Briscoe, Hutchinson, OWN GOAL
13-Mar Hull City A 7pm Central League EAST DIVISION L2-1 Hutchinson
20-Mar Grimsby Town H 2pm~ Central League DIVISION 2 W4-0 Hutchinson, Clements, Rhead 
03-Apr Bradford City H 2pm Central League EAST DIVISION W3-1 Wright (P) Geohaghon Tafazolli *Downloadable Match Pack*
11-Apr Tranmere Rovers H Central League LEAGUE CUP SEMI-FINAL W5-0 Pilkington, J Green, Todd, Wright  *Downloadable Match Pack*
17-Apr Morcambe H 7pm Central League DIVISION 2 W6-0 Todd, Clements , Wright  *Downloadable Match Pack*
23-Apr Chesterfield A 7pm Central League EAST DIVISION L3-0 *Downloadable Match Pack*
30-Apr Gateshead H 2pm Central League EAST DIVISION/ Central League LEAGUE CUP FINAL L2-1 Flint
02-Mar Gateshead A 2pm Central League DIVISION 2 L2-1 Flint
~Played at Cornonation Park - Eastwood Town FC
Craig Priest writes…
Whilst East Midlands Airport are preparing themselves for a coach load of footballers to board a plane to Malta, all us Stags fans are left asking one question – Will Matt Green be on the plane?
The 26 year old front man’s signature still hasn’t met the paper of the Stags office and as time ticks on, us fans are desperately hoping the popular striker gets hold of a pen sharpish! News on Green moving elsewhere has become quiet over the past week or so with Birmingham City seemingly uninterested following our stars trial period with them, other clubs from the Championship and League One may be linked with the former Oxford man but as far as I can see, it’s all about as true as us playing in the conference next season!
I’ve remained silent on the topic until today having just hoped for it to sort its self in time, but with pre-season matches fast approaching and the contracted players back in training, well running, the matters becoming a little more important. I’d never say rush a decision but I honestly feel that the longer the Green contract debate goes on, the more damage it will do – Matt isn’t a one man team by his goals are of massive importance to us, the question is are we serious about signing him and picking up from where we left off or are we in search of a replacement as, from what I can tell, we’ve made no movement towards putting something in writing either.
Earlier today I watched Matt’s show-reel of goals as posted on YouTube – we cannot afford to let a player of his quality slip through the net and sign elsewhere. Some have questioned If Matt can cut it in the football league given his lack of long term experience outside the conference, my answer to that is watch is goal show reel and you will see yes he can, especially under Paul Cox.
At Oxford Green was rarely settled and played out of position on the right wing, when he arrived at Mansfield several said he wouldn’t inspire yet now he holds legendary status, this is down to Cox’s man management and in turn, the work Green has put in to become a top quality, highly rated front man – 57 goals in all competitions over two seasons tells its own story really.
Many describe him as a poacher and yes, whilst he’s only netted one of those 57 from outside the box (his first goal for the club against Luton), the way he runs off the ball, reads the game and beats his markers suggests and shows that Green is the complete centre forward and I believe him to be one of the best strikers Stags have had in at least a decade.
Browsing through his show reel I’m reminded why Green is watched week in week out by scouts from higher ranked clubs, it’s not just the factors I mentioned above which make Matt stand out, it’s the way he anticipates what’s going to happen in a split second – he’s a clever player and I think that Paul Cox and his scouting team would be hard pressed to find a replacement that’s half as good. Yes you can argue that Speight and Hutchinson can bag goals but I don’t think they’re technically on the same level, can they play off Dyer, Rhead and Stevenson? Can they read the game as well and process the outcome in such a quick time – possibly, but to the same effect? No – that’s the Matt Green glint.
He’s by no means perfect and like every front man, quite often has off day’s – last season for example there were numerous times were he lost his confidence in front of goal and squandered chances but Cox showed faith and when it mattered, Green found his glint again and began firing – without his final burst of nine goals in the last seven games, we would not have been crowned Champions – fact.
Hopefully the club can conjure up a deal that both parties are happy with and Green can continue to grow as a club legend and goal predator – we have a lot to thank him for but were not ready to say goodbye just yet.
Before I sign off again there’s another man I’d like to see with pen in hand, you all know it’s Andy Todd – worryingly I saw no shots of him on the gallery from the first day’s training. Fingers crossed that both his and Matt’s Mansfield Town futures are sorted soon – keeping that nucleus is what will keep is stable in league two next term.
I’m not going to Malta but to anyone that is, enjoy yourselves! For me the clock is ticking towards that first friendly on UK soil as Cox’s Champions head for Worksop Town on Wednesday 10th July – Coverage details coming soon!
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writer and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations – to submit a blog, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Priest writes…
After a week’s holiday with my lovely partner Em and her family, I thought I’d sit down and have a quick ten minutes sharing some of my views on the signings and general activity at our beloved Stags since I departed for sandier surroundings.
When I last wrote, Paul Cox had made just the one addition in midfielder Jamie McGuire as he looked to adopt a less rash approach than last summer, where in my opinion our rash dealings left us with an unmanageable group.
Cox has now taken his signing count up to five and whilst I may be concerned that certain areas of the pitch are getting too much attention, how many midfielders does one side need, I am happy that these captures all appear to be the right ones to fit our blend of football.
Full back Paul Black was the first to follow Fleetwood’s McGuire to the One Call Stadium’s arrivals desk, the 23 year old seemed a somewhat unheard of name due to his injuries and inability to play first team football last term, however he does come with good pedigree having played over 60 games for Oldham Athletic in League One and a handful of games for Tranmere at the same level. Think back to last pre-season, it’s another solid coupe which has reminisce to the Beevers deal, people questioned why he stepped down a level or two and his performances eventually warranted why.
With Luke Jones now at Stevenage, one thing I wrote about last time was the importance of carefully picking a replacement for him, Paul Cox certainly continued to scour the market and whilst continuing his search, added midfielder Keiran Murtagh to the squad for next term. I’ll hold my hands up here and say I wasn’t too impressed by this addition as I felt we needed players to come in that had played league two football last term – Murtagh had been playing conference football with Macclesfield.
The 24 year old centre midfielder has had previous league experience though, having played over 50 times for Yeovil Town in league one until his 2010 move to League Two side Wycombe, where he played a handful of games before being loaned out. I had my reservations about the re-signing of Anthony Howell, he proved me wrong – I had my doubts over Stevenson, Clements and others at times but they’ve proved me wrong, I’ll never make my mind up on a player before seeing them kick a ball about.
It seemed like midfield was the area Cox wanted to add to most and as we sat at the side of a boating lake, we did ponder when the former Eastwood boss would bring a defender into port, a quick check of the phone soon confirmed that experienced defender John McCombe had arrived on a free transfer – a great bit of business.
Tall standing a six foot two, the 28 year old is a born winner and is ideal to become part of a promotion winning defence having achieved the same with Port Vale in League Two last term, chalking up 37 appearances – taking his total to over 200 with the valiants. Described as a no-nonsense defender that is a threat in both boxes, let’s hope he can form a solid partnership with another at the heart of our defence next term.
Another addition to the back line made yesterday night is a familiar face in Martin Riley, the fans favourite back at the club having won the FA Trophy with Wrexham but having lost in the play-off final with the reds. We all know of Riley’s ability and surprisingly weren’t too angry at him last summer for not replying to Paul Cox’s contract offer, will his popularity put him straight back in the line-up? For me he’ll have to do a lot of work in pre-season to out rank John Dempster whose contribution to our title win should not be forgotten.
No doubt they’ll be more transfer dealings coming soon, not that there’s any need to rush things, we’ve a good pre-season programme shaping up to have a look at a few players ready for the new season. The sales of season tickets seem to be booming too, with over 1,300 sold at last count whilst the rather quiet story of Stags to train at Rainworth MW’s ground whilst the One Call Stadium development, well develops, can only be described as a good thing for all parties – that community feeling keeps spreading like the sun keeps shining, long may it last!
Before I sign off, I’d thought I’d update you on the coverage for next season – I’ve sent some emails requesting additional information this morning but as I’ve only just got back from my Holiday, there’s no more news at this stage! Stick with us.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writer and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations – to submit a blog, email email@example.com
Craig Priest writes….
I swear down that during close season, every second which ticks by seems like an hour – that hunger for football grumbles in my stomach ever so painfully, I know it’s the same for you too.
Some are ok, they enjoy the break and that one glorious day when the weather is nice, they have other sports to enjoy and find another passion to kill the hunger for football, not me I can’t wait for pre-season to start again.
Writing with my supporter’s hat on today, there’s one thing that really kills me during close reason – Rumours. It’s a part of football I’d love to ban from the game as they really get my goat, there’s nothing worse than logging onto forums etc and reading about your clubs players signing for such and such.
This close season it’s Matt Green who takes the most of the rumour headlines, currently on holiday with his partner (fact) the 26 year old hit man has been linked with every club going with his Stags future hanging in the balance. It’s a fact that he has been on trial with Birmingham City but no deal has seemingly been put on the table for the conference top scorer, so why do people keep saying he’s gone!
I was on the bus coming home from town the other day and had the displeasure of overhearing two blokes talking about our treasured marksman, apparently one of them had heard from his next door neighbours brothers sister-in-law’s workmate, that he’d signed for Forest – the other guy then chirped in that he’d gone to Leeds, something he’d heard through his aunty who was best friends with a Leeds stewards husband – IT’S RIDICULOUS HOW DO THESE RUMOURS EVEN START AAAAHHHHH!!!
On a serious, less rant-like note, the future of Green may hang in the balance but going on things said by the player and the club, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in the number 10 shirt at Stags next term, the conference player of the season has clearly fallen in love with the club and formed a strong bond with manager Paul Cox.
Football can sometimes be a greedy game, players searching for money and that extra £1 for their agent rather than loyalty – I don’t think Green’s that type of player, if he was then he’d have gone when his initial loan from Oxford was up right, after all he was in form, scoring goals for fun and linked with every club around then too!
Green signed following his loan, in my opinion at least, because of the belief and affect Paul Cox had on him, transferring him from a right winger and striker that couldn’t hit a barn door with a machine gun into a through the middle goal machine. Looking at Green’s career stats before his arrival, numerous moves into and out of Oxford do not suggest a settled career and in those moves out of Oxford he wasn’t much of a threat, unlike now where he’s scoring for fun and with a clear mind – 57 goals in two seasons has perhaps put him right up there with the greatest strikers in the clubs history.
Knowing my luck, whilst writing this Green will have made the move (don’t worry he hasn’t I’ve just checked at 11.52am on Tuesday 21st May) – One man who has made a move however is Luke Jones, the popular defender has joined league one Stevenage, a move with is extremely saddening.
When Jones first arrived at Field Mill back in 2009 under the management of David Holdsworth, little was known of the former Blackburn youth teamer however by the time he was outrageously released by Holdsworth at the end of the campaign, everyone knew the name and cursed the then Stags boss for letting such a gem depart.
The former Kidderminster man had played 23 times for Holdsworth’s Stags who finished mid-table, chipping in with four goals Jones was a popular regular face who was always the pick of the back four with his courageous displays both in the air and on the floor.
Stags fans watched through gritted teeth as Holdsworth’s misjudgement saw Jones sign for Forest Green Rovers, his displays impressed those at the New Lawn and saw him captain the side during his 45 appearances for the Nailsworth based side. A move in the summer back to Kidderminster ended a season’s stay with Forest Green and as expected, Jones performed constantly as one of the best defenders in the conference during his second stint of 39 games for Steve Burr’s men.
Every close season Jones’ name was one Stags fans wanted to see along with the words “has signed” on the clubs website and in the close season, Paul Cox managed to secure the services of Jones on a one year deal – a move that delighted the faithful. His displays this term have been excellent and despite a spell in the ill-fated Quarry Club, he returned to the side at Stockport for the injured Exodus Geohaghon and never looked back – his solid displays alongside John Dempster were as, if not more important, than Matt Green’s final burst of goals in winning us the title.
Not for a second do I fault Jones for moving on, this time round it’s his choice rather than the managers – Paul Cox will have done all in his power to tempt Jones into another year, however the lure of League One football for the first time in his career at the peak age of 26 is too good to turn down, Stevenage are a good stable club with a good coaching staff, give it a couple of seasons and Jones, if he continues to progress in the way he has, will be playing in a top 10 Championship side.
Whilst I, along with every Stags fan out there, wish Jones all the best his departure does leave a gap to fill. George Pilkington is in contract but his absence last term suggests to me that he’ll be used as back up rather than a regular, as I mentioned at the top of the piece speculation and rumours get my goat so I won’t even begin talking about Luke Jones replacement. There seems to be some confusion about John Dempster, the former Crawley man was key to our success and like Jones, it was a joy to see him return last summer – the last I read was that Dempster had been offered a new contract along with numerous other key faces, I’m yet to read that any of them have signed. Hopefully the option of a new contract to said players will have been taken and speculation can stop – come on Coxy, some confirmation would be great.
One released from the club is Exodus Geohaghon, am I surprised? Not really. If I’m honest I wasn’t too thrilled when he returned from Kidderminster after failed negotiations last summer, yes he’s a crowd pleaser with that long throw but I believe if you look at videos and read old reports, he’ll come across as a player that has good days and bad days. The tip of the iceberg for me was watching him in the reserves when Jones had pushed him out of the side, he looked disinterested and showed little effort to fight for his shirt – the long throw and his ability to frighten opponents was great to watch but if you look at his strengths, I’m in the opinion that there are other players better than him that are more adaptable. As ever I’ll wish him well for the future and say thanks for the memories.
It’s been quiet in the arrivals front so far with only the one addition, midfielder Jamie McGuire from Fleetwood will provide all the qualities on Messer’s Hand, Tolley and Roberts taking the one wage rather than three, a good piece of business that could, given time, be a replacement for Murray – but as the Stags legend pointed out on his Facebook the other day, he’s 31 not 40 – there’s life in those legs yet!
Another thing that’s getting too me at the moment is the Malta friendly, seeing people booking their flights is hurting as I can’t go! Simply other things have to take priority, such as sorting out next season so to those who are going, enjoy the experience and get in touch; I’d love to get a Malta Diary posted on here!
In terms of next season’s coverage, I have no fresh news as yet – it’s been a fabulous journey with Mansfield Matters but the promotion to League Two for Stags means there are certain factors which could prove difficult to overcome – fear not I’ll try my hardest to bring coverage to Mansfield Matters and Takeover next term but any donations, would be most welcome! I’ll bring more news when I have it.
That’s it for now; I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings, not that they’ve really quenched my thirst for footballing action! I also hope you like the new site design, myself and Em are working hard to take this website up another level as we’re exceeding expectations on hits etc – when I say we are working hard, I mean she’s doing most of it whilst I make the tea!
See you soon!
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writer and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations – to submit a blog, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Taylor writes...
All my life of supporting Mansfield Town, I have never seen the stags involved in a title race, I’ve seen us involved in the play offs but never the opportunity of becoming champions.
The start to this season wasn’t what we all wanted but since the two nil defeat to Kidderminster we’ve never looked back, apart from the 2-0 slip at Newport that is. What has been the cause of this amazing form? Our defence? Matt green? Change of tactics? For me all of those have been huge factors but one that stands out to me is Lee Stevenson, since the tricky attacking midfielder was introduced to into the starting eleven, the stag’s fortunes have changed, coincidence? I don’t think so.
After the home loss to Kidderminster our season didn’t look so good, there was no F.A cup run to smile about, and sitting in mid table and not much hope for the play offs. Stevenson then started away at Stockport and scored helping the stags to a 3-1 win, this was the start of the magnificent form we have seen in 2013.
With the introduction Stevo, this brought a new system and new tactics, we saw a different formation of 4-4-1-1 or you could look at as 4-2-3-1 with Stevenson playing behind the striker. Earlier this season I wrote a blog about how Stevenson would change the team and I was so pleased to see his inclusion in the starting eleven.
The stags had started play ‘football’, it looked a lot better. Also Exodus Geohaegan was side lined with injury and this saw a new defensive partnership of John Dempster and Luke Jones, this meant no more focusing on long throws and we started to play football. The new partnership has been another changing factor with both centre backs having a great understanding of each other.
Wins just began to come along, the fans all started to believe of the play offs, despite the loss against Newport, the team carried on winning afterwards with the free flowing passing game still intact. The attacking midfielder Stevenson acted almost acted as a second striker, with most teams concentrating on Matt Green, Stevenson was unmarked and began to net goals and proving to be crucial with assists.
Many teams have one or two players with that quality that wins you those tight games. Stevenson is one of Mansfield’s. As well as Stevo you can’t forget Matt Green, the striker has again been the talisman this season and rarely has a bad game.
Now I write this with my team on a record winning run of nine games and having the chance of becoming champions after been 11th in late 2012. The Mansfield fans deserve this more than many other fans. Paul Cox may have had his critics and I’ll admit I was one, but how can someone be a bad manager after leading a team to third one season and then into a title race the season after.
This last month is going to be a nervous one but the stags need the fans to be the 12th man even if the record run comes to an end. Even if the title doesn’t come to Mansfield the play offs will be here once again.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writer and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations - To submit a blog, email email@example.com
After a long absence we are delighted to reveal that our in show text line is now back up and running, however please be aware that due to circumstances beyond our control we have had to change numbers.
The new number for Mansfield Matters is
07804 15 66 37
By Texting this number you can get your voices heard throughout the live shows plus air your thoughts on any of the debates throughout the week - texts are charged at the rate set by your network provider, if your under 16 please get the bill payers permission.
In addition in the coming month we are looking to enhance our networking via email, if you would like all the latest from Mansfield Matters including details of the next live show & when additional features have been published delivered straight to your inbox, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title 'Mailing List' - your email address will NOT be given to any third party.
Greg Taylor shares his views on the recent up turn in form
Unbeaten in the last six games, could this be the turning point of our season, I really hope so for the supporters.
A great win on Tuesday at Macclesfield and also a clean sheet and a match with Luton which we deserved to win has given me and many other fans some new found hope that our season could be turned round.
Many people forget the position we were in at Christmas last year and we managed to finish 3rd in the league, we’re 7th now and things are looking up with some pleasing performances from the Stags.
With the momentum Mansfield have got now, it is really unfortunate that we have to wait so long for our next league game. Let’s just hope this is a start of the run of form we need to get us back up at the top end of the table, I believe once we get into our stride and hit form like the 2nd half of last season we could beat anyone in the league.
But I’m not going to get carried away by saying ‘we’re going up’ and all that, because this is only the start. We have to build on this and carry it on, the only time you’ll hear me say we’re going up is if we are 5-0 up in the playoff final until then I’m not getting ahead of myself.
I’ll admit I did criticise Mr Cox but if you look back I always said I wouldn’t mind at all if he turned it around, was just saying it was going to be too late if something isn’t done quickly and hopefully this is the start of it all.
We have something to build on now, so it’s time to push on up to Christmas and be the form team going into 2013, we’ve got players to do it!
And I don’t need to say anything more about the fans, the best fans in the league, even the Luton commentators were shocked how loud we were they said on the radio that it sounded more like there was 12,000 in the one call, so that tells you a lot.
Get behind your team and let’s pull together because this could be the defining moment in our season. Come on you Stags!
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writer and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations. To submit a blog of your own, email email@example.com
Craig Priest speaks of how the Reserve Team could help solve the first team issues...
After an indifferent start for the first team Paul Cox will undoubtedly be mulling over changes ahead of Saturday’s match with Woking, but the thing is those who haven’t played and could be in the managers mind lack fitness and sharpness – step forward the reserve team, game one for the reserves could well be the most important game for the club as a whole so far this season.
Personally I don’t think it’s important for Cox in terms of watching and forming idea’s, I think the importance factor lies in the dressing room as those on show can go out and say to Cox and his backroom staff ‘Here I am, this is what I can do – play me!’
A lot of the talk recently has been about the size of the squad, is the fact its high a negative – I’ve been saying since day one ‘No’ as with the reserve team we’ve a platform to keep player’s happy, get them minutes and most importantly, prepare those waiting in the wings for first team football with regular competitive action which is to a similar standard to what the first team play – The reserve league is just that.
After the full time whistle yesterday questions were being asked over the selection, why have John Thompson, Lee Stevenson and Jamie Hand etc not been picked? Not for a second is it because there ‘Reserve Team’ players, but by playing in that side tomorrow night – they put themselves in the shop window and have competitive football under their belts – this time around with the second string side we won’t be filling it with trial players like the McEwan/ Holdsworth days of 2008-09 when we finished bottom of the Central League Central Division, we have an abundance of quality to pick from and in truth, the side we could potentially field tomorrow against Port Vale could be a tough play-off challenging side in the BSBP.
Before you all take out your Craig Priest voodoo dolls again, let me stress I am a huge fan of Alan Marriott, however after five games conceding 15 goals should the keeper take some of the questions like the four in front of him and would a change between the sticks be a help or hindrance to first team affairs. Shane Redmond is probably one of the forgotten names at the minute and whilst a lot don’t seem to rate him, I am of the opinion he is a very good shot stopper and should be given the chance to prove what he can do. Last season he played just the one game against Kidderminster and kept a clean sheet, despite the now infamous and rather legendary spider-crawl, all was solid and the promise of what could be was there. I’ve been privileged enough to watch the Irish Glovesman in various friendly’s and can say his shot stopping is to a fine standard, with his command of the box at a good standard too.
I don’t know if it’s the amount of competitive football he’s played over the past few seasons which devalues him in the minds of some supporters or if it’s the high regard we have for Marriott – whatever it is doesn’t hide the fact he’s a good keeper and, with minutes under his belt in the Reserves, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be battling for a start. Nobody’s place in the first eleven is safe, this should include Marriott and if Redmond has a strong game for Andy Todd’s reserves tomorrow I see no reason why he shouldn’t be considered to face Woking.
Moving onto the back four John Thompson and George Pilkington, our two marquee signings from the past two summers are likely to get a run out – however it’s the other too I express interest in, tomorrow could see a first look at new addition Ryan Tafazolli and another look at youngster Jake Green. The former comes with a good report, tall and strong – likes a tackle and is, if reports are true, a commanding player whilst the latter, brother of Matt, has bags of pace and can play in either full back role – attributes which we may have lacked in recent games.
With Gary Roberts suspended for Saturday’s home match with Woking they’ll be an extra midfield slot up for grabs, for me it’s a three horse race between Godfrey Poku and the two Jamie’s, Hand and Tolley, all three offer different options for Cox and will most probably be the midfield tomorrow night. What about Lee Stevenson I hear you bellow at your screen, I consider him more of an attacking option and agree with the comments that he should have been involved by now, what is the point of going all pre-season with him as the lynch pin of our attack in that dominant 4-2-3-1 formation only to switch it for the season? A good performance from him tomorrow night could remind Cox of the player who was so prolific in Eastwood’s good fortune two seasons ago and be the remedy he is looking for.
In attack there’s bound to be another run out for Ben Hutchinson, another forgotten, over looked and underrated member of our squad. I hear a lot of folk saying he should have been released in the summer, however in pre-season I think he looked sharp and was beginning to get that glint in his eye of a comfortable, confident, in form player – all he needs is games. Nick Wright too could get some minutes under his belt, a platform for him to show why Kidderminster were so desperate to keep hold of him in the summer.
No matter how you look at it, the Stags have so many strong options who haven’t featured regularly this term for the first team – I look forward to seeing what in pact tomorrow’s game will have going into Saturday’s home encounter with Woking and then Tuesday night’s match with Tamworth.
The Reserve league is a funny one this term to say the least with two leagues in one, with 17 scheduled fixtures in total – Nine will be played under the divisional tag, kicking off tomorrow night against Port Vale. We have now been confirmed as a Division 2 side, a selection of the sides from Division 1 are in our Regional Group, where there are eight fixtures starting with a trip to Rotherham United on October 31st. There will be two league tables, everyone plays each other the once with the venue determined on a luck of the draw basis. The winners from Division 1 and 2 play each other at the end of the season to determine the overall winner, the same happens in the ‘West’ section with the two winners (east and west) playing a final to determine an overall winner.
To further explain the divisional splitting in the East and West section, teams are put together by the respective clubs first team league placing the previous season – therefore ‘Division One’ comprises of Championship and League One teams, with ‘Division Two’ containing clubs from the League Two and the conference. The regional aspect of the entire thing is, as previously mentioned, aimed at reducing clubs travelling time and expense.
The set up is brand new and has scrapped the three division format of Central, East and West in an attempt to create a higher standard of football, reduce travelling time and costs as well as placing teams in the same league as those in their first teams division – in retrospect a good idea.
Our opponents tomorrow night are the second string of League Two Port Vale, who last term we’re a ‘Central Division’ side finishing in 4th place with four victories, three draws and five defeats – a tough test for Andy Todd’s boys. Kick off tomorrow night is 7pm, prices are £3 Adults and £1 for Concessions – those not going can join myself and hopefully Scott, for full and exclusive match commentary on StagsPlayer.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writer and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations – To submit a blog for publication email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stags Fan Greg Taylor shares his views from the terraces....
Saturday was just a huge sigh of relief for me and all stags fans, as we finally got our first win of the season, it wasn't a sparkling performance but was still three points. Before the game, when I was in the bar at Kidderminster, I checked the starting eleven and me and the others were just in shock.
I was in complete disbelief with the selection of midfield, after Paul Cox hyping up all the players he'd signed, alot of them being midfielders, and not one of them were in the team. In my opinion the midfield we started with on Saturday was worse than last season’s best midfield, this is nothing against Andy Todd, he’s a good experienced player, but I feel there is much more quality in the squad. A point I must raise is, where is Stevo? He had a great pre season and we would benefit a great deal with having a type of player that can play behind the striker or if not Stevo, why not Chris Clements.
The first half for me was very poor, I didn’t enjoy watching it at all, the midfield seemed weak and powerless and the defence, just looked very poor as they struggled with balls into the area and struggled with Marvin Johnson running at them down the wing. We were lucky to have scored and be level at the break. At the start of the second half, I didn’t see much difference in our players or our system and this showed as we conceded to go behind once more.
The one player that had caught my eye from the beginning of the match was Lindon Meikle as he had not put a foot wrong all game and neither had Matt Green as we are used to. Lindon and Matt carried on to show why they are so feared by other teams in this league and put their link up play to effect as Green set up Meikle with a fine pass, matched by a well taken goal. This goal seemed to have changed the game and Kidderminster were on the back foot, but then a strange move from Paul Cox to take Matt Green off for Nick Wright puzzled all Stags fans and they turned on manager.
The game was still ours to be won and we piled on the pressure, Nick Wright was doing a great job since he had come on, which showed up his strike partner Matt Rhead, as Wright was proving to us all that whatever Rhead could do, he could do better.
Eventually a darting run from Lindon Meikle saw us grab what proved the winner as he skipped through the defence and around the keeper to slot home, this was just what we needed to build some confidence and get us back to our old ways.
The referee ended the game and I was just glad it was over. The performance itself wasn’t great, but it was three points. A clean sheet in the next game is what we need, because the performance at the back against Kiddy still hasn’t given me full confidence in us defensively.
On the whole though it was a good win, now it’s time to look towards Hyde and a great opportunity to give our fans the belief back on home turf – Come on you stags!
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