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Archived News from October 2003

1st October 2003 8:16



Blown away

If there are better sides in this division than Mansfield then God help us.
I thought they were brilliant in almost every respect, except the
goalkeeper, of course, who had nothing to do!

They passed us to death in the first half but that's not the whole story.
They hunted in packs, they wanted the ball - in essence, they were had
better players than us.

Our midfield was poor tonight. We hit everything long from defence largely
from necessity because the midfield could never have dominated like the
Stags did. Only Hyde - easily our man of the match - competed until Bryant
came on and the ineffective Savage was pushed out wide.

The defence was under pressure throughout. It would be easy to blame them
for the defeat - but too easy. Give teams like Mansfield the chance to pass
the ball and they'll destroy you. They destroyed us in 15 minutes tonight.

Second half and the manager, rightly in my view, gave the players who'd
played so poorly in the first the chance to redeem themselves, at least for
20 minutes. That they didn't let another goal in said something although
Mansfield were by now cruising.

Bryant, coming on after around 65 minutes, gave us the interesting option of
someone who could pass the ball in different directions and did well as did
the livewire Haldane, whose substitution I had opposed on the grounds he
might get booed off with the rest of the side. What did I know? The fans
were great tonight, especially the Blackthorn End. They - we (I include me
in this) - deserve so much better.

We didn't lay down and die. If Edwards header had gone in and made it 1-2,
who knows if the lads might have regained the confidence that was visibly
draining away the longer the game went on. But Mansfield simply went up the
other end and scored again. Goodnight Irene.

The last 15 and a relaxed Mansfield were in pipe and slippers mode. We took
the game to them. And we got a late penalty consolation from the hard
working Tait.

Junior looks knackered - so was I at the end.

Shell-shocked is the word. We all were. I haven't seen football like that
since our first 45 minutes against Hull last season, certainly not from us.

Ray picked the side the Forum wanted tonight and it was found seriously

Luckily, Mansfield won't be able to play football like tonight when the
grounds get boggy and soft. But if they are the among the worst the Second
Division can send us it tells you a great deal about how far we have fallen.

Finally, at half time I had reason to walk behind the West Stand on an
errand for one of our supporters. At the players entrance stood Keith Curle,
calmly dragging on a cigarette. He looked pretty relaxed and on today's
evidence he had every reason to be.

Eclectic Blue


Latest | October 2003