Mansfield Town Vs York City
Blue Square Bet Premier (Game #25)
Field Mill, Mansfield
Date & Time
Monday 26th December 2011 – 3PM
J Simpson (Lancs)
Turkey, sprouts, paper hats, presents, over priced tins of sweets, the Doctor Who special and arguments - just a selection Christmas highlights, but none as important as the Boxing Day gift – Football! It’s a common fact the only reason Mary gave birth in Bethlehem was so Joseph could watch Bethlehem United take on Jerusalem City on Boxing Day!
Back to the present day and it wasn’t the mouth-watering match of 2011 years ago that we anticipated whilst cramming down the strawberry crèmes from a tin of quality street, it was of course our beloved Mansfield taking on York City at Field Mill. With two consecutive defeats on the road adding to a list that read just one win in ten games, we really wanted the magic of Christmas to spread over Field Mill yesterday. Alas a 1-1 draw followed in a well contested and enjoyable fixture where the atmosphere was festively brilliant from both sets of supporters from start to finish however after the game the scrooge feeling of ‘Bah Humbug’ still seems evident with some.
Personally I feel yesterdays point was a good one which will stand us in good stead, especially if we can get 3 points from the reverse fixture on New Year’s Day. Again questions will be asked about certain phases of play and the selection policy but that’s football – you’ll get that even if we win 10-0! I still feel we are in a good position to make a push for the play offs, we also have the core quality to match, and with the right movement in the January window this will be proved. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, as long as you do it without fear, nor is there nothing wrong with dreaming and achieving – which you do by taking action. (This will make sense one day – promise!)
“Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions be louder than your words”
Paul Cox made two changes to the side defeated at Southport, out went suspended defender Ritchie Sutton along with Louis Briscoe who dropped to the bench. Moving into the line up were Martin Riley, making his first start since our FA Cup exit at Fleetwood on November 1st, and Aman Verma as the Stags opted for 4-3-3 start with Meikle dropping to the left wing as we endured spells at 4-4-2.
Luke O’Neill – John Dempster – Martin Riley (Sutton) – Kieron Freeman
Aman Verma (Briscoe) – Adam Murray (C) – Anthony Howell
Ross Dyer – Matt Green – Lindon Meikle
SUBS: Shane Redmond – Louis Briscoe – Lee Stevenson – Rhys Day – Marcus Kelly
The stags looked to grab the opener with just four minutes gone settling into the fixture seemingly easier than play off hopefuls York who beat Mansfield on the Stags’ last boxing day fixture two years ago at Bootham Crescent. Kieron Freeman attacked the left wing well and saw his low cross deflected behind for a corner. Aman Verma took the set piece and worked it well with Ross Dyer around the edge of the box; however hesitance of taking a shot allowed the visitors to clear.
A minute later Mansfield we’re on the attack again as the ferocious Green looked to exploit the space on the left, his low cross was too heavy for either Dyer or Meikle and allowed York to clear once more. On six minutes the festive fixture got its first taste of aggression as Adam Murray and Lanre Oyebanjo collided at some speed. The Stags skipper was left hurt but after treatment carried on whilst the former Histon full back picked up a booking.
On 11 minutes it was Green who again showed lightening pace to gain Mansfield the advantage. Luke O’Neill sent a long clearance over the top which was controlled by York defender David McGurk, Green chased down McGurk forcing the Minstermen centre half to lay a sloppy back pass to Michael Ingham, Green sprung and after knocking the ball past a going to ground Ingham, slotted into the empty net – claiming his 15th of the season with his left boot. In shooting, Green clashed with the recovering McGurk and was left in pain needing treatment, however the Stags leading front man soon returned to action.
Stags 1-0 York
Four minutes later the Stags could have doubled their lead as a poorly hit Aman Verma free kick nearly turned good. Verma’s bobbled delivery from the right hand side was flicked into the middle by Green; the ball fell for Ross Dyer who swivelled well before firing narrowly wide with his left foot.
End to end action then followed on 24 minutes as the game went up a gear. First it was the Stags who attacked down the left with Lindon Meikle weaving his way past Oyebanjo before crossing low for Matt Green. The front man who now lies joint 5th in the goal scoring charts for Stags strikers over the past nine seasons was blocked off and couldn’t get a clean shot away, his effort deflected into Vermas path via Ross Dyer – the Kettering loanee who makes his move permanent in January managed to get the lift correct but not the power as Michael Ingham easily held the attempted chipped shot. Ingham released the ball immediately as York counter, Patrick McLaughlin provided the link with a fine pass in the direction of Matty Blair, however Blair’s shot lacked flair and Alan Marriott was able to hold on down to his left.
Ross Dyer then headed a Kieron Freeman long throw softly at Ingham, before two minutes later the contest and atmosphere began to heat up once more as former Stag Chris Smith went in hard and late on Freeman after the Nottingham Forest man had cleared a York attack. Smith got a booking but on any other day things could have been different.
David McGurk was then in the book for the visitors with five minutes to go before the break after fouling Ross Dyer, the resulting free kick came to nothing and despite a half hearted shout for a penalty on Matt Green two minutes later, the half fizzled out with the atmosphere still strong and Mansfield still ahead.
Half Time: Stags 1-0 York
After the break the visitors enjoyed the brighter start after switching formation, however the Stags hung on and created openings of their own. On 52 Minutes fans looked on in disbelief as a golden chance past by following Aman Verma’s acute chip over the top. Matt Green again chased it down and after nipping past James Meredith, squared the ball low for Dyer who somehow placed the ball wide of the target.
Green was then immediately replaced by Louis Briscoe as the deadly hit man failed to shake off the knock he picked up earlier in the game. Briscoe made an immediate impact in the centre circle, stealing the ball from York before sending Lindon Meikle racing free – Meikle covered ground quickly and soon released Dyer to the left of the area, Dyer struck wonderfully but couldn’t beat Ingham who blocked well with his legs.
York looked brighter than they did in the first half and were nearly strangely level on 57 minutes as James Meredith’s cross looked like it was dipping in, Alan Marriott back peddled and pushed the ball away for a corner. The corner wasn’t as dangerous but York pressured around the box and earned a free kick 21 yards out – Half Time substitute Ashley Chambers took it and curled his effort well wide of the target.
The York ‘Anti’ upped again after the hour mark with Ashley Chambers again impressing. Luke O’Neill gave the ball away on the half way and allowed Chambers to run free, however a good recovering challenge saw the move bluntly ended. Two minutes later Mansfield let their 1 goal lead slip, Lanre Oyebanjo’s long range effort deflected off a boot inside the area finding Liam Henderson on the edge of the area, the York man curled a neat effort past Marriott to send the 931 travelling fans into cheers of delight.
Stags 1-1 York
The game then went completely flat for around ten minutes bar one Stags counter attack following a blocked York Free kick. Lindon Meikle again did all the running strongly cantering into York territory, Adam Murray made the supporting run and had Meikle’s pass been a little less heavy, Murray may have stood a chance of reaching it.
With 10 minutes to go Patrick McLaughlin created perhaps York’s finest move splitting the Stags defence after weaving through the middle, Matty Blair was the target and would have been 1 vs 1 had it not been for Luke O’Neill who sprinted from nowhere to slide in and block the shot – the loose ball fell for York substitute Jamie Reed who curled a beautiful shot towards the top corner, Alan Marriott sprung up well to tip the effort away for a corner which led to nothing.
Neither side could really create another goal scoring opportunity and with both sets of fans still singing loudly, the full time whistle sounded to give both sides a share of the spoils.
Full Time: Stags 1-1 York
Should the Stags have sealed all three points? Yes, am I bothered we only got a point? No, not really – that point was a good one as we, for me, matched our opponents throughout – had we not lost Green so early in the second half to injury, who knows what could have happened. If you’re looking for a ‘Stat’ that was the eighth game this season we’ve led and been held to a 1-1 draw.
Next up it’s the reverse fixture on New Year’s Day at Bootham crescent, if you can’t get be sure to join myself and Scott Rogers for full commentary on http://mtfcmatters.weebly.com/mm-live.html from 2.50PM - also keep your eyes open for a ‘That was 2011’ review coming soon.
Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve had a great Christmas, enjoy the rest of the holidays.
Photos: Dan Westwell