EVENING POST REPORT
DRAW COULD BE THE DIFFERENCE
19 March 2003
Huddersfield Town 1 V 1 Mansfield Town
I Think now that the season is crashing towards a crescendo, we can all be a little guilty of looking at results in the whole scheme of things rather than just whether it was a win, loss or draw.
Some are easier to decipher than other.
Defeat at Cheltenham would have been the ideal excuse to pull the covers over your head and wish, like a grizzly bear, you too could hibernate, while victory over Notts County or Chesterfield is second only to a royal wedding as an excuse for a street party.
So, where can a draw against Huddersfield, who now find themselves bottom of the table as an accompaniment to falling perilously towards extinction, be placed in the puzzle?
As a fixture, it was one that developed as the season wore on.
Had many of the Stags fans who assembled at the impressive McAlpine Stadium been offered a point from this match at the start of the season, I'm sure there would have been plenty of takers.
But time has moved on and many saw this as the one of the five remaining away games that the Stags had a decent chance of winning.
It wasn't to be and many will point the finger at the goalkeeper Keith Welch, who must have felt wretched as Martin Smith's shot didn't go wide as he had anticipated.
If that episode had not happened, Wayne Corden's penalty would have been the winner but Welch was the difference between three points and none on Saturday and it would be easy to forget the immense contribution he has made for the sake of one ricket.
Overall, the game wasn't much to write home about at all as Huddersfield looked too nervy to make their home advantage count and I'm sure their fans were not surprised to see the Stags come back into it.
It's just been one of those seasons.
But the Stags did show some endeavour, defended well, generally looked dangerous without ever really looking like winning at a canter and Colin Larkin was introduced for the first time in a couple of months.
So there was plenty to smile about and, despite the lowly position of their opponents, it wasn't a bad point because it drags them out of the relegation zone.
The trick now will be to make sure they don't go back in and, for that to happen, they have to stick at it.
If Keith Curle has learned one thing, it will be that his team will not think it is definitely not going to be their day if they fall victim to a bizarre goal.
There wasn't the sense of surrender that characterised their recent outing to Whaddon Road.
A point is a point and, when you sit in the predicament Stags currently find themselves in, any draw on their travels has to be considered a positive result.
The trip to Cardiff on Friday may appear to be a tougher task but there is no reason why they cannot get a similar return there or even better.
Their fighting quality, spearheaded by a defensive quartet who look solid and capable, should come to the fore in these next eight games and they really do have every chance.
Looking at last night's game as a lost opportunity would not be a fair reflection on the game, although Stags were slightly more dominating than their opponents.
It has to be seen as a positive move towards that 50-point barrier that everyone keeps harping on about.
Between the notable victories, they need results like these and, you never know, last night might just tip the balance.
Latest | March 2003