Last one back? Sorry for the delay. You just can’t get the staff these days can you?
Given the circumstances of a patched up team, missing key players notably in midfield, an excellent result against a very physical outfit who had no qualms about cynically breaking the rules, however when the boot was on the other foot, they confronted the referee like a baying mob. It’s the East Midlands charm, with that awful accent there isn’t any. In respect of their behaviour, they weren’t unlike Stevenage. It was a minor miracle that twenty two men stayed on the field. Green, the Oxford somersault King himself, should have gone . Beckwith penalised for trying to mount Dyer in Richard Keys ” hanging out the back of it” stylee, Green unnecesarily raised his arms towards Beckwith, Beckwith fell somewhat dramatically as if he had been shot. If only.
A rarity in this league, a well contested open game, both sides gave it their best shot . Probably about a fair scoreline, as either side could have pinched the winner. Whatever the limitations of our current motley crew, lacking spirit is not one of them. Third game on the trot, we have conceded first but come back to get something from the game.
Without Lawless, Keane and Willmott, it was never going to be an easy night. The midfield looked lightweight, personally would have prefered Poku in there, keeping Dance on the right wing. He would have added a bit of muscle to the team and O’Connor isn’t that effective on the wing. He’s quick, but around twenty yards from goal , he lacks the awareness and the ability to assess the correct pass and shot. His goal scoring at Rushden , whilst perfectly adequate, didn’t suggest he was any better than what we currently have. His performances so far confirm that.
As it was the team lined in the usual formation captained by Antwi , having another very steady game( strange when Beckwith was leading the team in the gay pre-season friendlies) with Edward filling in at left back ( having an absolute stinker. His passing has always been poor, but at times he he would struggled to find a white shirt with a map and compass. Ran ragged as well by Briscoe. It was a merciful release when he was finally withdrawn. Although Baldy Murray was equally as poor in distribution). The midfield comprised of Howells, Dance, with Watkins playing the more advanced role. He struggled to get into the game early on, Murray was virtually man to man marking him. Leaving O’Connor and AMS on the wings, with Crow up front.
Hardly suprisingly, with all the changes, we started slowly.Beckwith and Antwi showed some solid defending to defy Kendrick, a left back with a great delivery from set pieces and Green. We kept the ball poorly at first, struggled to contain Mansfield’s high energy side, but we started to gel better, getting AMS in to the game, who absolutely murdered his full back O’Neill, but didn’t get enough service.
Crow turning, fed O’Connor on the right, motoring his way towards goal, he did two attempts blocked by Futcher and Riley. Mansfield hadn’t scored many goal this season, with their poor final pass, it’s easy to see why. Melkie, one of a trio of Right said Fred lookalikes, caused Osana a problem or two with his pace. A poor touch by Osana, conceding a throw. The ball was transferred to the opposite side, where Briscoe showed a clean pair of heels to get past EAA and fire wide across the goal.
After our slow start, we did have a good spell of pressure, camped out in Mansfield’s half. AMS turning O’Neill from Tyler’s throw, set up Dance to hit a low drive which was simple for Marriott. Crow’s pass to Dance, receved it back to hook wide. Another excellent move Watkins into Osano, cross to the far post, AMS, who hung the ball up for Dance to head just over.
Against the run of the play, the hosts took the lead, we switched off, from Kendrick’s quick throw into Meikie allowed to turn, squaring the pass to Green, who passed a fine, curling effort, which was always going away from Tyler’s left into the top corner.
Crow felled just outside the post, allowed AMS to step up and glide his free kick inches wide. Mansfield, whose confidence was going before they scored , upped their efforts before the break. Futcher’s headed spilled by Tyler, then a timely header off the line by EAA from Riley, when the ball was returned Dyer fluffed his shot with the goal at his mercy.
The half break was notable for two reasons, one of the prizes in the half time draw…..a beach towel ( why so generous?) and the gentleman who took part in the Croossbar challange, run up , slipped and the ball trundled towards the corner flag.
The second half started slowly, the only real chance , Osano conceding a free kick on Dyer near the byline, Kendrick whipped in the set piece and Futcher somehow missed the target.
Osano, on one of his runs out of defence ( coinsidering both he and Antwi were only brought in because of our defensive injuries, they have both been excellent and as long as their form holds up, deserve a longer contract), brought the ball out of defence, spotted Watkins who rounded Howell , fed O’Connor but he was offside despite looking along the line.
Howell, another giant in the Mansfield side, spreading the play out to the left, Melkie’s centre was headed away from Briscoe by EAA.That was the last bit of action seen by Edward, as Gleeson replaced him, meaning another switch of lfanks for Osana. Beckwith ‘s poor pass put Osano in peril, being nutmegged by Briscoe, Tyler claimed the low centre at the near post.
We started playing some very good passing football, helped by the fact Mansfield conceded ground. Their defence were still arguing with the linesman over a disputed throw in, Gleeson took it quickly, to Crow firing wide of the far post. Dance picked out watkins, switchingh feet befire flying over Marriott, which the keeper tipped over. Dan Walker appeared for O’Connor. Naturally he looked very rusty without the benefit of pre season.
Great save by the post, after a good move down the right, Melkie played the ball to Kendrick, tidy lay off into the path of Green hammering his fierce drive against the woodwork.
On the balance we looked the more likely, although with the pace of Green and Melkie , they always had opportunities.Osano from Gleeson’s side pass, cut past O’Neill and drove into the side netting.
Then came about the nonsense between Green and Beckwith. From the free kick, Green should have done better from Kendrick’s lifted pass than to coil and head tamely straight at Tyler.
With MBH waiting to come on, AMS was allowed to run at Kendrick , lucky not to be grotted, such was the force of the elbow into him. A fantastic delivery from Howells, found Antwi in the crowd of bodies, managing to convert his header past the despairing hand of Marriott.
We managed to see out the game, with only the odd alarm, Tyler beating away efforts from Green and Briscoe, although Futcher again should have done better than to misjudge a diving header ( more like a bellyflop) from a O’Neill teasing centre.
Good night and a promising effort by the Town. Good result as long as Braintree which looking at the table, we are the underdogs for ;o) and Hayes & Yeading are beaten in the next few days, we won’t be far off the mark.
Unlike the parking of a certain former captain of ours, whose motor was left, on the corner , just the wheels on the kerb and on a double yellow line. Apart from that, it was terrific. His armband says he doesn’t get a monkeys about parking restrictions
Mark Tyler 7.5 , Curtis Osana 7.5 , Dean Beckwith 6.5, Will Antwi 7.5, Edrward Asafu-Adjaye 3.5 ( Dan Gleeson 6.25) Aaron O’Connor 5 ( Dan Walker 5.5) James Dance 6.25, Jake Howells 6.5 , Adam Watkins 6.75 ,Amari Morgan-Smith 7.5, Danny Crow 7.
Subs not used – Matthew Barnes-Homer, Godfrey Poku, Kevin Pilkington . Booked – Morgan-Smith, Crow, Osana
Mansfield – Marriott, Kendrick, Riley, Futcher, O’Neill, Meikle, Howell, Murray, Briscoe, Dyer, Green. Booked: Green, Kendrick, Briscoe, Dyer.