As the saying goes – There’s an easy way, a hard way and a Mansfield Town way – well this week has certainly been different as life as Stags fan goes on.
Last Saturday saw us take on fellow BSBP side Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round at Field Mill, the second placed cod army we’re always going to prove difficult to beat as there seams burst with talents such as Vardy, Vieira, Brodie, Mangan and co. Saturday’s game however didn’t produce what we expected and ended in a 1-1 draw, with stags levelling the game on 70 minutes thanks to a Ross Dyer goal. (Report & Podcast: http://cp14-coveringtheangles.blogspot.com/2011/10/cta-18-mansfield-vs-fleetwood.html)
The draw meant a replay and a shuffle in the fixture calendar, our proposed game with Cambridge United due for TV Coverage on Thursday night was put back to its original date and time (Tomorrow 3PM). On Monday morning manager Paul Cox insisted the pressure was on Fleetwood and spoke of potentially repeating his fond cup memories with Wycombe Wanderers, who the winning team would face in round one. (Full video interview with Paul here: http://www.mansfieldtown.net/page/FromTheBoss/0,,10325~2500272,00.html)
With Tuesday’s game quickly upon us all, Mansfield we’re seemingly struck with a living nightmare, facing mass illness, traffic problems and more, eventually crumbling to a humiliating 5-0 defeat away from home under the management of Micky Moore. (Report Here: http://cp14-coveringtheangles.blogspot.com/2011/11/cta-19-fleetwood-vs-mansfield.html Highlights here: http://soundcloud.com/cp14/fa-cup-4qrr-fleetwood-a-1stnov)
An unacceptable performance left us all furious and unable to get our head around the fact we wouldn’t be in the FA Cup first round for the first time since 1931, however despite the defeat the game did in fact throw in a few positives, the return of Rhys Day and John Thompson, the fine form (despite conceding 5) of Alan Marriott and finally, the debut of young striker Adam Somes.
Due to the mass illness which had spread through the camp, the proposed game with Crewe reserves had to be cancelled, allowing Mark Hemingray’s youth side a full squad to choose from as they travelled to Gateshead to continue their league campaign. Fortunately the young guns didn’t follow in the footsteps of the senior side and took home all the points from the Gateshead International Stadium Complex, running out 3-1 winners. The young stags took the lead after a cross by Jack Hawkins was punched clear by the home keeper, Clayton Browns initial shot from the keepers punch was blocked, but the midfielder made no mistake with the follow up firing into the bottom corner. The hosts then responded before the break with a long range effort which found its way in off the post. The young stags regained the lead curtsey of Adam Somes after Hawkins’ initial shot attempting to lob the keeper fell kindly for him 15 yards out. Joel Holland then wrapped things up, rounding the keeper following a cross from Liam Marsden. The academy boys are now five games unbeaten and sit third in the table.
Back to first team affairs, winger Lindon Meikle was again called up for the England C set up on Wednesday, he will link up with fellow non-league Under 23’s for a trip to Gibraltar a week on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Paul Cox now recovered from his illness, revealed that he was looking to boost his squad with the signing of former Grimsby winger Nick Hegarty – the deal was confirmed earlier today and Nick could be set for his debut tomorrow against Cambridge United. The former St. Mirren man, who featured for us in a pre-season friendly with Ilkeston, has signed a deal until Boxing Day. The signing of Hegarty will give us some much needed balance in the side, as we are currently short of naturally left footed players with Joe Kendrick and Matt Bell both struggling with injuries, against Ilkeston Hegarty looked extremely living setting two of the four goals the stags scored on that night, famous for the wrong reasons.
With Ben Futcher due back at his parent club Bury after November 12th, Paul Cox has boosted his defence with the loan signing of defender Kieron Freeman, who joins from Nottingham Forest for a month. The 19 year old made his debut for Forest earlier this season in a carling cup tie with Wycombe Wanderers – this signing will fill the gap between Futcher’s departure and the return (to full fitness) of Rhys Day and summer signing John Thompson.
Tomorrow see’s us face Cambridge United at Field Mill, the U’s currently sit above the stags in 5th place with 33 points on board and are unbeaten in six games. Join Craig on 106.9FM www.takeoverradio.net from 2PM for build up and regular updates – be sure to tweet us throughout www.twitter.com/mtfcmatters