PDW’s Kneejerk Reactions (Mansfield H)

Someone mused at the end of another ninety minutes of pitiful dross, still waiting for a game of Football to break out “Well that’s the season finished then”. Cheers for that, Mr Nostradamus. Wasn’t aware it had actually started. Only joking, as we still need a couple more wins to stay up. Although Workington away on a Tuesday in November holds a morbid fascination. We could start new local rivalries with Brackley, Oxford City and Bishop’s Stortford.

A good game if you don’t like football. The vast majority of the match, the ball spent in the air. On the rare occasions the ball was on the deck, it was kicked randomly in various directions, not usally the correct one and chase after it. Sadly, that’s what we have been reduced to. Terrible to watch, leaderless and clueless. Good luck to whoever gets the job, it will take a long, long time to sort out the problems we have , unless it’s Westley then hope some puts a bomb under him. That would be Karma for Farnborough. At least if we do miss out on the play offs( and we will need a Kidderminster esq run to reach them), it gives time to have some proper preparation for the new season. Not blunder on along on a wing and a prayer, signing coachloads of permanently injured Herbalife salesmen or other players on a whim of a decent game against us. We aren’t absolutely terrible,but we will be soon, unless something is done to stop the rot.

Current problems we have, that I spy with my amateur eye – A board, doing their best, but require some random Pinky and Perky to help them pick a good manager (I will happily give them a shortlist, if their football knowledge is so poor), the former manager who gives it legs, when the going gets tough and gets agents to recommend players to him. A coaching staff that makes players worse – look at poor old Jake Howells is a shadow of the player he could be. Shoved around from pillar to post, how can any player possibly develop that way? The players themselves, who don’t have a semblance of confidence left are lacking guidance and a shape to our play, who are an empty shell of the players they should be. Only a few weeks ago, they deservedly beat Wolves and Norwich.

Smith and Gray showed the fight, some of their play was ragged, but they didn’t stop working. Only Lawless had some composure on the ball, but as it spend most of its time in the air, he didn’t see it at much, as we needed him. The only other player who looked OK in possession was Baldy Murray, formerly of this parish, who took time out for his busy duties of refereeing to play a game of football as well, get the Mansfield midfield ticking over.

Another day, loads more unnecessary changes. What was wrong with the back four at Macclesfield? They dropped too deep, but it was an improvement generally. So that’s gets thrown out of the window, to accommodate a player who hasn’t played for weeks and removes the best centre half at the club to left back. Oh brilliant. How many different combinations have we had at centre half so far? Well, apart from far too many. LRT had a stinker, roasted on numerous occasions by Briscoe, and his heading, it slide off right, left and centre of his noggin, but seldom in the correct place. He may as well have put Happy Harry‘s head, it won’t have made his performance much worse.

Fleetwood who almost single handled rescued the carnage of the second half at Macclesfield, left to rot on the bench. Mistakes in selections and on the field haven’t been picked up on. Rendell for example is a decent link up player but he isn’t a target man, calm finisher, but heading the ball is an obvious weakness, yet Tyler tried to find him every time with a long punt against two good headers of the ball in Dempsey and Jones. How many times do these idiots have to watch Rendell before they realise how to get the best of him? It’s staggering, it really is. Am presuming Shaw and O’Donnell were unavailable to make the sixteen.

The major problem today apart from the bleeding obvious of once again needless goals being shipped , whilst McNulty and Thomas, who is a long way off match fitness, headed enough away, with LRT at the back, we have three players who can’t pass the ball at the back, so it gets cleared anywhere and keeps coming back.

After a first half which was dross, apart from Rendell’s goal, which was a bit lucky, Smith’s shot hit Gray and deflected kindly for Rendell to net. We were dire, to be honest. All hoof no thought. Fancy trying to out hoof Mansfield, at their own game? Mansfield quicker and sharper to the loose ball always looked the more threatening. Second half; we started well after changing the formation to 4-3-3, got back into the game, with a well taken goal by Gray, after a lovely pass by Rendell. The good work ruined by the introduction of Howells, who looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights currently replacing Neilson, who had just started getting into the game. He wasn’t involved in the first half, but it’s a waste signing him, if you aren’t going to get him into the game. If we are going down the route of playing alehouse football, at least get pub style players in.

So, the team was Tyler – Henry, McNulty, Thomas, and LRT – Neilson, Lawless, Smith, Martin – Rendell- Gray. On the bench Ainge (popping up for Kovacs) Howells, Fleetwood, Mendy and Brill.

Mansfield. Where to begin? So much to dislike, so little time to do so. A whingey, charmless collection, who complain and surround the referee for every decision. Like Roy Keane in his pomp. Just as well, Murray did most of the arbitration otherwise they would have been in a right state.. Rather like the town itself, me dook. Managed by a cock, oh sorry I mean Cox. A chairman who confirms you may have money, but you can’t buy class, taste and dignity. Well organised, reaping the rewards of fielding the rewards of a settled ream and give the buggers their due; they are on a blinding run. They won the game mainly as they made fewer mistakes. Simple as. The truth of the matter is they are nothing special, but in a league where abject mediocrity is King, you don’t need to be anything else to reach the top five. Oh. Green is a decent target man, Daniel had too much for Henry with his pace. Clements is a tidy passer of the ball and Briscoe on his day given time can be dangerous with his direct style and moan.

On a bitter day, our crowd quiet probably in disbelief the amount of time the ball spent being hacked into orbit. Thomas struggled on his debut, he moans well at officials, but unfair to judge him on this game. Decent in the air, but deadly slow. McNulty and Thomas wouldn’t work as a combination. Got to be LRT and one other. Neither player has yet to develop an understanding, unsurprisingly. The sooner LRT is pushed back and away from left back there the better.

Thomas fouled Green, down their right; Tyler plucked the ball from Jennings’ free kick. Tomas almost had a debut goal to savour, penalised for a minimal nudge on Jones, nodding in Henry’s long free kick. Mansfield have plenty of pace in attack, a neat back heel by Green allowed Stevenson to get to the by-line, but Thomas cleared the ball behind. From Jennings’ inswinger , won by Dempster but the referee spotted another minor infringement.

At last, the ball landed at Rendell’s feet, playing inside for Gray to drag a shot wide. The match was very scrappy, littered with free kicks. Tedious fare. Few out and out chances, both Tyler and Marriott handling were competent, as you would expect from two of the better keepers in the League. Any flow of the game was ruined by Mansfield’s time out tactics, both Murray and Beevors were treated for injuries to knee and shoulder respectively, plagues have come and gone quicker than it took for treatment to take place on the field. Neither were head injuries.

Another long punt from Thomas, flicked on by Rendell, Gray seized onto the ball, taking advantage of a slip by Jones, but his touch heavy and Murray could help it behind. At the third time for asking, Lawless’ corner was eventually helped into the box by Smith, just a whisker away from Rendell.

Clements clever reverse pass into Beevors, found Stevenson, whose movement was good all afternoon, taking advantage of the sleeping Martin and lino, being offside, his low strike, safety stopped by Tyler.

Daniel, strong and powerful on the left, managed to sneak between hennery and Neilson to fire a centre, well claimed by Tyler. A long cross field pass by Beevors, knocked down by Green, to Daniel, Thomas stuck his foot out, which Daniel tripped over. He went down easily, but Thomas was lucky not to concede a penalty.

That reprieve lasted only a matter of moments, Rendell facing his own goal, played the ball back straight to Green, found Briscoe on the right, his return pass back into the middle, cut out by McNulty, but such was his first touch, Daniel nicked it off him and was tripped. Green stepped up, scuffed his penalty well enough to defeat Tyler diving to his right.

At least Rendell made up for his error, calmly finishing, from close range, Smith’s shot which luckily got deflected into his path by Gray. We had a better spell before conceding again. Martin, putting a cross with pace and power, well caught by Marriott, then showed good spirit to hassle Murray, before Smith won the ball, but the referee gave a free kick. Tyler at last threw the ball out, sent Gray down the line, but Beevors covered.

Mansfield’s second goal was well constructed and finished, would help if we didn’t ball watch. Jones’ ball forward into green’s chest, Stevenson picked our Daniel down the left channel, with a sweep of the left foot; it ended up in the net.

Second half was better, but it was far too frenetic and hectic, passes going over the place, some being played blind. With three centrally, at least we gave Mansfield more problems and were more competitive. Neilson switched inside, with Martin on the left, Gray the right, Rendell in the middle. We weren’t really in control, as it was very open in the second half, but at least we forced them back and Jones and Dempster had to do some proper defending.

Briscoe wasted a good chance, hitting wide from a Jennings’ set piece. . Rendell’s neat pass sent Gray away, beating Jennings with ease and a lovely finish, clean, composed strike into the far corner.

McNulty blocked Stevenson’s attempt from Green’s through flick. Henry become the first in the book, tripping Daniel, taking one for the team. Lawless’ corner found Thomas wrestling off Jones, but unable to direct the header.

Fleetwood replaced martin, a mere fifty five minutes too late. Shortly followed by Howells for Neilson, and thereafter our improvement ceased quickly. Very sad, but Howells looked like a little boy lost, almost scared to go near the ball. A really needless change. Dempster tugged Rendell, on the edge of the box, Howells, on a decent angle for a left footer, cleared the crossbar with consummate ease. Rendell seeing more of the ball on the deck in this half, squared for Gray to shot wildly wid

Another thing, which we need to improve, is pick up players better at throw ins. We set up too slowly. From a Jennings throw, Daniel turned past Lawless and Gray, but could help the ball behind, after having down the hard work. A long ball forward by LRT, a knock down by Thomas, the ball sat up for Howells to strike, but he dithered and the opportunity was gone.

Fleetwood lost out to Beevors, getting the ball to the lively sub Hutchison, finding Clements to slam a snap shot wide. Hutchison eased past Howells into Green, a dink to the near post, defeated Daniel at the near post. Gray and Smith linked up nicely, and swung the ball in to the back stick, Rendell managed to beat Jones, and flick the ball goal wards, blocked by Marriott , the rebound eventually ended up at henry, firing in and Fleetwood failing to get enough on the ball to trouble the keeper.

With about ten minutes left, we were looking the most likely. A hopeful pass by Gray, worked out nicely, hitting the back of Dempster, Rendell stretching but unable to poke the ball in, in fact the ball went further away from goal after he touched in. Gray on the right worked space and a pass for Smith, in a decent central position to set himself but only manage only to curl the ball into Marriott.

The winning goal late on, summed up our defending this season. McNulty, the last man ( why? He has the movement of a weeble.) could have headed the ball anywhere but could only prod the ball out to the onrushing, newly arrived Meikle, finding Clements on the left, a powerful shot across goal, superb relax save by Tyler but only as far as Meikle who gleefully smashed the ball into the empty net. McNulty apart from costly two goals, had a reasonable game. But his lack of mobility is always going to let him down at some point, not reacting quick enough to recover.

Onto the joys of Braintree ( not that there any except for the Black Notley golf club) , the former pride of the Essex senior League. Dodgy pitch, cold night, the omens aren’t good. Three away games on the road in succession, is about the last thing we need ( unless you are fortunate enough not to away games ) Thanks for everyone concerned for making our club a complete mess.

Needs someone to come in with a calm head, the problems are self evident . No need for a complete clear out in the playing staff, we have obvious limitations, but with someone who can judge a player and organise, it’s not a problem. The whole coaching staff needs to go, between now and pre-season training. The last two games whilst they have been in charge, have been more than enough to confirm how witless they truly are and unable to correct past mistakes which have surfaced over and over and over again. If it needed confirming. Which it does not.

Mark Tyler 7.25 , Ronnie Henry 6 , Steve McNulty 5, Wayne Thomas 4.75, Lathenial Rowe-Turner 3, Scott Neilson 5.75 ( Jake Howells 3.5), Alex Lawless 7.25 , Jonathan Smith 7, Dave Martin 5.5 ( Stuart Fleetwood 6) , Scott Rendell 6.25, Andre Gray 7.5

*THE DISCLAIMER* The above ratings were picked on a whim and very rarely are an accurate reflection on the player’s performances simply to annoy the reader. Today’s fatuous comments are about the Queen eats Horse headline. So was surprised and disappointed, to discover it was about her eating horse meat at Ascot rather than eating Camilla Parker-Bowles. Which would have made a far more interesting story.

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