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Archived News from March 2021

23rd March 2021 0:02

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 2 Grimsby Town
Maris 20, Law 67. John-Lewis 62, Williams 90+1
Attendance: behind closed doors

Date: 20 March 2021

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town drew 2-2 with bottom club Grimsby Town at the One Call Stadium this afternoon after twice taking the lead. Grimsby’s second equaliser came after 90+1 minutes with a brilliant free-kick from George Williams, who then could have won it for the visitors when he headed against the post after 90+4 minutes as the Stags ended up hanging on for a point.

This was not a good performance from the Stags but in terms of the objective of avoiding relegation it was nevertheless important not to lose. And with the other team in the relegation zone, Southend United, also drawing, having conceded an equaliser in the final minute, the gap to the bottom two was maintained. The Stags remain in 16th place, 11 points above Southend and 14 points above Grimsby, with 10 games left (11 games left for Grimsby). With Barrow picking up their 4th consecutive win, thanks to a stoppage time winner, to open up a 7 point gap above the bottom two, the bottom two are going to have to start winning very soon to have any chance of escaping.

Mansfield, still without the influential George Lapslie and Ollie Clarke, did at least welcome back George Maris from injury. And he was back with a bang, firing in a magnificent 25 yard shot to put the Stags in front after 20 minutes. The goal came after good play by Jason Law on the left, turning away from two players to feed Stephen McLaughlin just outside the area. McLaughlin squared for Maris who fired first time into the left corner of the net giving keeper James McKeown no chance. It was an absolute cracker, and his first goal for the club. Surprising that he’s had to wait so long for his first Stags goal as he was a regular scorer for his previous club Cambridge, quite often from long range like today.

Mansfield were the better side in the first half, with Grimsby looking very poor. But the Stags had few other chances. After 26 minutes, Mal Benning’s free kick from the left was glanced by McLaughlin wide of the far post with James Perch not far from getting on the end of it. And after 9 minutes, good play by Joran Bowery, and Harry Charsley got past his defender into a great position in the box but he didn’t make the most of it with Bowery unmarked inside him. The only scare for the Stags came when Aidan Stone’s very poor clearance only reached Stefan Payne but Farrend Rawson, who had a very good game, got back really well to get Stone out of jail.

At half time, Grimsby brought on George Williams. He has impressed me previously for Forest Green Rovers and is well-known for his free kicks. Grimsby were a different side in the second half and were certainly the better side. After 50 minutes, a sighter for Williams as he sent a 32 yard free kick well over the bar. Grimsby’s first shot of the game.

The opening 15 minutes of the second half was mostly played in the Stags’ half with the Stags unable to get a foothold in the game. But there was a chance for Bowery after 60 minutes when his right foot shot from 16 yards was on target but blocked.

Grimsby equalised after 62 minutes. Lenell John-Lewis got away from his marker James Perch from Williams’ corner from the right to head into the net unmarked from 6 yards.

The Stags took the lead again after 67 minutes, following a good move, Mansfield’s first of the second half. Benning to Reid to Bowery to McLaughlin. McLaughlin found Benning again on the left touchline and his low ball into the middle was towards Law. Law couldn’t control it, it reached Reid who was tackled by Luke Waterfall but the loose ball fell kindly for Law who fired right-footed into the right corner of the net from 9 yards. A tidy finish from Law. It was also Law’s first goal for Mansfield, coming in his 9th league game.

After 70 minutes, Elliott Hewitt headed over from another Williams free kick.

In a bizarre substitution, Nigel Clough brought on Ryan Sweeney and put him up front with 10 minutes left. Clough explained that he wanted more height in the team, but he didn’t want to disrupt the Rawson/Perch partnership. It certainly highlighted Mansfield lack of attacking options. Striker Oli Sarkic had already come on as substitute but later limped off, having been on for just 14 minutes, with another injury, this time a hamstring injury.

And it was Sweeney who conceded the crucial free kick which led to the equaliser after 90+1 minutes with a reckless late challenge 26 yards from goal which also earned him a yellow card. Williams stepped up and sent a brilliant shot into the top left corner. Two great goals into the same corner of the same net had cancelled each other out.

It could have been so much worse for Mansfield after 90+4 minutes. Luke Spokes, who also came on as a half-time substitute for the Mariners and who also played well, crossed from the left to Williams who was completely unmarked beyond the far post. Williams headed it down and against the right post. Nigel Clough told me afterwards that Aidan Stone said he got his boot on it to turn it against the post, in which case it was a fine and important save. John-Lewis fired the rebound wide from a tight angle. And with Stags now on the ropes, John-Lewis headed wide a minute later with the Stags desperate for the final whistle.

The Stags were thankful for a point in the end, but the second half performance was very poor.

Mansfield will need a much better performance against third placed Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday (6pm kickoff) in order to get anything. But you wouldn’t be surprised if the Stags put on a good display to pick up a win or draw.

Mansfield made one change from the side that drew with Carlisle. Maris returned from injury in place of the rested Quinn. Ollie Clarke was also rested with Nigel Clough saying afterwards “It [Clarke rest] was because of an accumulation of the knocks and things that he’s had. He trained a little on Wednesday and yesterday morning, but he doesn’t feel anywhere near at the moment.” Lapslie remained out through injury though Clough had said on Friday that he might be back for Tuesday or next Saturday. The Stags squad is looking stretched.

Grimsby were beset by more injuries than Mansfield though. They were also not allowed to play Rollin Menayese, as the terms of his loan from Mansfield precluded him playing in this game. He was replaced by another former Stag in central defence Luke Waterfall. Giles Coke, who played for the Stags around 15 years ago, started in central midfield for the Mariners and was anonymous before being replaced at half time. Another former Stag, Matt Green, came on as substitute for Grimsby after 70 minutes.
Grimsby had won just one of their previous 16 games, but were at least showing some resilience, drawing their previous 3 games before this one, including against Tranmere and Carlisle.



Mansfield Town 2-2 Grimsby Town
Maris (20'minutes), Law (67'minutes)
John-Lewis (63'minutes), Williams (90'+1minutes)
McLaughlin (20'minutes)
Williams (63'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media, by John Lomas.

George Williams rescued a late 2-2 draw for Grimsby in a thrilling finish at Mansfield.

The injury-ravaged Mariners remain adrift at the bottom of League Two with only one win in 17 games, but Williams' superb late free-kick made it four draws in a row.

At the end of a scrappy first half, Mansfield deserved their lead, which came from a rocket finish by George Maris in the 20th minute.

Jason Law brought the ball inside from the left and found Stephen McLaughlin, who rolled a square pass that Maris smashed inside the left post first time from 25 yards.

A double change at the break lifted the Mariners and they were level in the 63rd minute as an unmarked Lenell John-Lewis buried a six-yard header from a Williams corner.

The Stags were ahead again four minutes later as Grimsby failed to clear a left-wing cross from Mal Benning and the ball broke for Law to slot home his first goal for the club inside the right post from seven yards.

However, a minute into added time Ryan Sweeney gave away a central free-kick and Williams picked out the top left corner from 25 yards to level the scores.

In the fourth minute of added time Williams headed a a left-wing cross against the post as the visitors almost stole an unlikely win.

Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Grimsby
Possession Home 51% Away 49%
Shots Home 7 Away 11
Shots on Target Home 2 Away 2
Corners Home 4 Away 4


Jason Law opens Mansfield Town account but Stags stunned by another stoppage-time strike
chad.co.uk, By Duncan Browne, Saturday 20th March 2021

Jason Law netted his first Mansfield Town goal - but for the second Saturday in a row the Stags were stunned by a last-gasp finish.

A week after heartbreaking defeat at Crawley, Nigel Clough’s side again conceded in time added on.

On this occasion George Williams' 91st-minute free kick secured a point for basement boys Grimsby Town, their fourth draw in a row.


And while the Stags stretched their unbeaten record at One Call Stadium to four games, that will be little consolation as more points were dropped late on.

After a forgettable start to the game George Maris - back from injury and replacing Stephen Quinn in the starting XI - brought proceedings to life with a 25-yard thunderbolt.

Skipper James Perch teed up the midfielder who made no mistake with a rasping, rising drive which left Mariners keeper James McKeown rooted as the ball found the net via the post.

Not a bad way to claim your first goal of the season.

Stephen McLaughlin, who netted in Tuesday's draw with Carlsile United, glanced a header wide of the mark as Mansfield looked to build on their early lead.

The first half proved to be one of few chances as the visitors returned for their team talk failing to muster a shot on goal.

That first effort arrived five minutes into the second half but was certainly not worth the wait, Williams' free kick sailing well over Aidan Stone's crossbar.

However, with 62 minutes on the clock the mariners were level.

Williams' corner was struck with much more accuracy and the grateful Lenell John-Lewis rose highest to power his header home.

Paul Hurst's side were only level for five minutes as Law fired home.

Jamie Reid looked to gain space in the Grimsby penalty area but after he was tackled the ball fell kindly for Law, who didn't need to be asked twice as he smashed his close-range effort into the net.

But just as Mansfield looked in the driving seat their afternoon unravelled.

A reckless foul by Ryan Sweeney on the edge of the Stags box allowed Williams the opportunity to curl home the equaliser.

And it could have been worse but John-Lewis’ header struck the post moments later.

Mansfield were rattled but the Mariners couldn’t find a third and honours ended even.

STAGS: Stone, Gordon, Rawson, Perch, Benning, Maris (Sweeney 80), McLaughlin (Quinn 74), Charsley, Law (Ward 80), Reid (Sarkic 74 (Wright 88)) , Bowery; Subs (not used): Stech, Sinclair.

GRIMSBY: McKeown, Hendrie, Hewitt, Waterfall, Clifton, Lamy (Williams HT), Matete (Adams 83), Coke (Spokes HT), Jackson Jr (Green 70), John-Lewis, Payne; Subs (not used): Battersby, Starbuck, Rose.

REF: John Busby.


Mansfield 2-2 Grimsby Town highlights and reaction: Superb Williams free-kick rescues point for Mariners
grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By James Findlater, 20 MAR 2021


Substitute George Williams rescued a dramatic late point for Grimsby Town as they drew 2-2 at Mansfield.

The Mariners had looked to be heading for defeat after goals from George Maris and Jason Law either side of Lenell John-Lewis’ header put them ahead going into stoppage time.

But Williams stepped up to beat Aidan Stone from 25 yards to earn his side a point, and it could so easily have been all three after he saw a header come back off the post moments later.

As expected, Luke Waterfall and Ira Jackson Jr came into the side for the Mariners as replacements for the ineligible Rollin Menayese and the injured Filipe Morais.

There was an unexpected tweak up front though as Stefan Payne replaced James Hanson - who didn’t make the squad - while Williams and Luke Spokes returned to the bench after their spells watching on from the sidelines.

Neither side really created anything despite an open first 20 minutes, although Harry Charsley did create a bit of danger as he managed to spin Elliott Hewitt before seeing his ball across the face of goal cut out by Waterfall.

The hosts wouldn’t have to wait much longer before taking the lead with their first effort on target as Maris put them ahead with a superb strike.

Jason Law laid the ball off to his midfield partner and, with none of his options further forward taking his fancy, he drove from distance and caught James McKeown unsighted as the Town keeper could only watch the ball nestle into the back of his net.

The hosts had much the better of the first half from there on in, and had the Mariners on the rack on a few occasions, with Stephen McLaughlin just heading wide across goal from a free-kick as the Stags threatened to double their lead.

After their poor showing in the first half, Paul Hurst rang the changes at the break as Williams and Spokes came in out of the cold to replace Julien Lamy and Giles Coke.

Town needed an immediate response - and they got it as one of their substitutes made an instant impact.

Williams swung his corner in from the right and found the run of John-Lewis, who flicked his header to the far post to give the Mariners some hope - although it didn’t last long.

Just moments later, Mansfield were back in the Town penalty area, and Law was afforded far too much time to create some space, move the ball onto his right foot, and pick his corner as he swung the ball past McKeown to put the hosts back ahead.

It looked as though the Mariners were heading for a damaging defeat as stoppage time approached, but a Ryan Sweeney foul presented the visitors with an opportunity for Williams to rescue a point - and he took his chance with aplomb as he blasted the ball past Stone to make it 2-2.

The substitute then could - and perhaps should - have wrapped up all three points as he headed against the post in the 94th minute, but despite their late efforts, Town had to settle for the point - and with Barrow claiming a dramatic late win over Crawley, the gap to safety now stands at 10 points.


Grimsby Town player ratings: George Williams the hero for Mariners in dramatic draw at Mansfield
grimsbytelegraph.co.uk, By James Findlater, 20 MAR 2021

Grimsby Town rescued a dramatic point at Mansfield thanks to George Williams’ superb stoppage time free-kick.

The substitute stepped up to earn the Mariners a 2-2 draw after goals from George Maris and Jason Law either side of Lenell John-Lewis’ header - and Williams could have even secured a win had his header not come back off the post.

The draw though does mean Town fall further adrift at the bottom of League Two, with the gap to safety now standing at 10 points with 11 games left in the season.

James Findlater shares his player ratings from Field Mill, and you can have your say below too…


James McKeown: Left helpless for both goals, and bar those he wasn’t tested too often by the hosts 6/10

Luke Hendrie: Popped up at the right time on a couple of occasions during the first half, otherwise Town might have found themselves further behind at the break 5/10

Luke Waterfall: Started really brightly on his return as he made a couple of important interceptions inside his own area, but should have perhaps done better for Mansfield’s second 5/10

Elliott Hewitt: A slight change in position as he moved to the left side of the two centre-backs, and he didn’t quite seem to be at the same standards he’s set recently 5/10

Harry Clifton: Had a really tough time of it with Kellan Gordon proving a real threat on his flank. Wasn’t really helped out by his wingers though 5/10

Ira Jackson Jr: Given his chance from the start, but he couldn’t really make an impact. Has won plaudits for his attitude, hopefully he can learn from this performance 4/10

Jay Matete: Not his most fluent performance to date, and he found himself having to help out his defence more than he would have liked in the first half 5/10

Giles Coke: Looked to have the tempo of the game under control during the opening 20 minutes, but once Mansfield took the lead, they controlled the midfield battle 4/10

Julien Lamy: Found himself doing more defending than attacking in the first half, and when he did get the chance to go forward, it didn’t come off for him 4/10

Lenell John-Lewis: Worked hard with very little support at times, and popped up with the header after the break as he put recent misses behind him 6/10

Stefan Payne: Just didn’t get into the game. Very hard to describe his performance as it’s there really weren’t any standout moments from him 4/10

From the bench
Luke Spokes (Coke 45): Gave Town a bit more impetus in midfield and showed some good energy - could even have bagged an assist for the winner were it not for the woodwork 6/10

George Williams (Lamy 45): Left out in the cold in recent weeks, but stepped up off the bench when his side needed him. Just a shame he couldn’t also bag the winner 7/10 (STAR MAN)

Matt Green (Jackson Jr 70): Worked hard towards the end as Town chased the victory 5/10

Joe Adams (Matete 82): Thrown on to add some more attacking threat during the final moments.

Not used: Battersby, Rose, Starbuck.


The Spirit of Grimsby
By: Andrew Doherty
AFTER Wednesday's promising display against high-flying Tranmere, it is to be hoped that Town spent a bit of time honing their skills in the all-important Final Third. Today's opponents Mansfield have been patchy of late after a good recovery following the appointment of Nigel Clough as manager.

But at the end of the day it's up to us to perform well until the end of the season. That does seem to be a lot to ask.

Today's starting line-up for Town was: McKeown - Hendrie, Hewitt, Waterfall, Clifton - Jackson, Matete, Coke, Lamy - Payne, John-Lewis. As Menayese is on loan from Mansfield, he was ineligible, while Morais and presumably also Hanson were injured, forcing the three changes.

Mansfield's Field Mill ground is nowadays called the One Call Stadium as is the way of these things. Football is field theatre, not One Call theatre, but then I'm out of touch. What hasn't changed is that it has a big, slippery, heavy pitch. It was nice to see Town wearing black and white and not switching to an away kit. Mansfield dominated the first half, showing greater intent and quality. Waterfall headed clear on 9 minutes after the same's player's headed clearance put Clifton in trouble on the left. Coke then gave the ball away and this time Town were saved by Waterfall's alertness. On 19 minutes Mansfield worked the ball up the left. Law passed the unmarked McLaughlin who teed up the unchallenged Maris, who slammed the ball into the top left corner from outside the box. Town 0, Mansfield 1. Town won a free kick on 22 minutes. Hendrie crossed but Waterfall was guilty of a foul. Mansfield went close on 24 minutes when McLaughlin flicked on a Benning free-kick with a header after a Jackson foul. Town were getting nothing to Payne or John-Lewis. The only encouraging sign was Hendrie's runs up the right but there was no support. Town won a free-kick on the right after a foul on Jackson. Hendrie put the ball over but Waterfall was once again the culprit, this time handling the ball. As Town struggled, Mansfield looked a threat Iinattack, with the physical Bowery leading the line. Town looked rushed and were error-prone. A poor clearance on 44 minutes led to Payne winning a corner but this was headed clear, and at half time Town were second best, deservedly being behind. Town were trying to be inventive but didn't manage a single chance.

Spokes and Williams came on at half time for Coke and Lamy to freshen up the midfield. Town immediately played with more enterprise. Nice work by Payne found Jackson who won a throw deep in the Mansfield half. Williams found Spokes who was hesitant and instead of shooting unsuccessfully tried to chip the ball over the defender. A Spokes run on 52 minutes won a free-kick. Town's dead-ball specialist Williams crossed but there were too many defenders around for John-Lewis to take advantage. Jackson was then booked for backing into a defender. Town were committing too many fouls. Town won a free-kick after a foul by Law on Payne but Williams's cross sent the ball into the stand. Mansfield attacked briefly and won a corner but Waterfall positioned himself well and headed clear. 61 minutes had passed. Good work between John-Lewis and Williams earned a corner. Williams took it and sent in a pinpoint cross to the middle, where John-Lewis struck a powerful header into the left corner of the net. Mansfield 1, Town 1. Town deserved this equaliser. Matete was then booked for a foul before Jackson won a free-kick on the halfway line. Spokes had two shots both of which were blocked by a resolute Mansfield defence. Mansfield had a rare attack on 66 minutes. Good perseverance on the left resulted in a cross. In spite of the close attention of two Town defenders, Law saw a gap and blasted home from inside the box. Mansfield 2, Town 1. Town continued to press in spite of this setback, and Matete went on a run which ended only when McLaughlin tripped him, earning the Mansfield player a booking. On 69 minutes Jackson was replaced by Green, an ex-Mansfield who one of the home commentary team described as a “legend”. Williams put in another cross which Hewitt headed over, then Town won a corner. Mansfield were reduced to counter-attacks, and Waterfall was booked on 74 minutes for a high boot. A Williams error led to a Mansfield attack, and it looked as if Town were rushing around to no avail as Mansfield threatened to control the game once more. But Town plugged away. On 81 minutes Adams replaced Matete. Payne did well to get the ball into the box for Clifton who was penalised after battling with the defender. Town stumbled and stuttered. A nice turn on 89 minutes by Adams led to a goalbound shot which the defender cleared for a corner. Williams took it. The ball came back to Williams who ran across the edge of the box while looking for a gap before being tripped by Sweeney. The wall lined up. From 25 yards out Williams curled his Ronaldoesque free-kick over the wall and into the top left corner beyond the keeper's outstretched hand. Mansfield 2, Town 2. Five minutes were added. Town continued to apply pressure. The legendary Green forced Rawson into an error near the left corner flag. Spokes crossed to the far post. Williams was there to meet it but his header crashed against the post. Town weren't giving up. Town won a throw. Hewitt's throw came back and was returned into the box. Under pressure from a defender, John-Lewis's header went wide. With 95 minutes played, Clifton won a free-kick after being fouled. There was no time now to cross the ball into the box so Williams lined up for a direct shot. The dead-ball kick went just over. The game was over. Mansfield 2, Town 2 was the final score. This had been a spirited performance by Town.

This was the proverbial game of two halves. Town lacked ideas in the first half, but although we could never pretend it was a magnificent performance in the second, we showed loads of fight and in the end deserved at least a point out of this game. Town's substitutions were good and galvanised the team into a much-improved second-half performance. We came to the former mining town of Mansfield. The result wasn't the pits. The performance wasn't perfect. The effort and team spirit were commendable. It's still a long shot but I shan't be dusting off my Non-League Directory just yet.


Baking flans for Nigel
Cod Almighty - Match Report
by Tony Butcher
Mansfield Town 2 Grimsby Town 2


The queue in the car park beyond Field Mill; dodging the abandoned fridges on the path beside the car park beyond Field Mill; watching stewards pick on the timorous teenagers inside Field Mill. This is our Field Mill of dreams.

Ah yes, Mansfield, we remember it. Well...

Flags a-fluttering, Twitter a-muttering and one day they'll fix the guttering in the abandoned tin pan alley stand.

Only a dozen more of this rotten box set to get through before the season is cancelled, we may as well keep watching to the bitter end to see if the Fridge Magnate finally falls.

First half - Bapp for bolts

Town kicked off towards the invisible army of Townites watching at home on their surroundsound TVs set to Grumblerama mode.

Straight up, straight out.

Up, up and away, where is the ball? Sucked into the shack of shame, constantly lobbed into the sludgepits of gloom, it's all slipping away as stripes slipped over.

Gordon's alive! Behold Galloping Gordon's drive and dive for a Town goal kick. What a shame, Lamy was a bit lame. Let's avoid the blame game.

Punting, shunting, bog-snorkels and bogle-clenching. Oh don't mention Omar, you’ll make grown men cry. McKeown punched a free kick away and a red van pulled up outside Wrens Kitchens. Did you see anyone get out?

Heads on a stick and hearts on a sleeve as a Town free kick, well, just sigh and let your feelings go. How can you go with the flow when there is no flow, just the slow, slow death of dignity.

A Matete pass set up a yellow drive down their right and Waterfall scraped away from the near post for a corner that was overhit, over our James to the giant Perch, who noodled back. Scrumbles and yumbles as a scruffed shot was handled with care by Waterfall. Play on said Macduff.

Bumbling and fumbling deep down the Town right. Benning and Law passed along the floor, McLaughlin was shivered and shooed across the face of the penalty area and the ball rolled on into the void dead centre. Maris took a step and swept straight in off the right post with McKeown motionless without a wave. Without a wave we're drowning.

Headless chickens roosting, pecking at the dirt, no-one laid an egg. Reputations changeable, situation intolerable.

A Benning free kick coiled, McLaughlin stooped and glanced inchlets wide of the farthest post. You know that red van has gone. Suspicious, eh?

And the sun came out as the sun set on the five-year mission to meekly go back to where we've been before. There'll be strange new worlds down there, though Kings Lynn does not count as a new civilisation.

Flash Gordon driving past Lamy again, Hendrie skewered away.

What of Town? A series of free kicks for Benning going wacko on Jacko. As is customary, there is nothing to declare as we pass through the border between leagues. Town haven't even had a cross, let alone a shot.

Shall we count the cars in the car park? A couple of grey hatchbacks, a green van, a big black SUV. Two people stood on the hillock between stands. 11 hillocks in stripes stood on the mud in front of the stands. This is beyond feeble.

Every moment has its pleasure and hope. On half time the Manskeeper fluffed to Payne and Perch cleared the uncontrolled interception. Lock up the streets and houses, there's something in the air. It's a corner! Elevated. Deflated. The keeper arose unmolested.

Two minutes were added. One of the grey cars drove off.

Shape without form, shade without colour, paralysed force, gesture without motion; this is how Town always end - with a whimper.

Second half - The last post

There's going to have to be different men. Ch-ch-ch-changes: Spokes for Coke, Williams for Lamy and Town moved to 4-3-3.

Hurrying, scurrying, pestle and mortar bombs with Spokes at the wheel. Town fizzing around, falling down and finally, after 49 minutes a 'shot'. Williams' eyes brightened as he imagined a better world and Baled a free kick into Watership Down.

Spokes whirled and slicked a slinky pass into the penalty area, but a sprinting Payne is painful to watch. Spokes tractored through the mud and was halted by a barbed wire fence. The free kick coiled and we have the fantasy of almost nearlyness as shins and chins wagged.

Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.

We're keeping it tight and putting up a fight. In and out, scrapping and yapping at yellow ankles. A Town corner on the right coiled gently into the centre. This provincial John-Lewis hasn't been shut down yet, as the man arose alone to graze into the unattended far corner

Lennie scored? No kiddin'. This calls for a celebration. I'll go get some donuts.

Matete was booked immediately on the restart for clattering clots. You know, I'd rather forgotten that Mansfield existed. Let us have the luxury of silence from these lambs.

Scruffy fluffiness with flailing feet. Striped surging, yellow gurgling as finally a Spokes shot was blocked. It's one-way traffic but we're on a one-way ticket to the blues. Behold befuddling buffoonery with Benning on their left. A vague cross vaguely near knees at the near post as bodies arrived vaguely. Shins were knocking and bees were bumbling. Law spun slowly and placed a pass into the far corner with Hewitt writing a haiku and Waterfall watching.

Perhaps they were so anxious to do what is right that they forgot to do what is right.

And still Town marched on Mansfield in waves of mudball. As McLaughlin hooked Harry and was booked, on came Matt Green for Jackson, who'd had an enthusiastically non-League afternoon. Hewitt arose at the free kick to head highly over. A Town corner, straight out, what a waste.

Rejoice! Rejoice! It is my duty to report to the nation that in the 78th minute Town had their first effort on goal from open play. Jamie Mack's drop kick bounced once and would have gone in had Stone not existed. Actually, when you put it that way, did he exist? Is it just an assumption that they had a goalkeeper?

Rejoice! Rejoice! With staggering stupidity the Stags removed attackers and brought on defenders with 10 minutes left. Yes, they have their Parslow Point too as they threw on the flying squad and dug up Mr Potato: Sweeney for Maris is your tortured wordplay for today.

And Adams replaced Matete as Town moved to a three defenders, Clifton, Spokes and loads of blokes upfield formation. The application of chaos theory: what a delicious contradiction for Mr Keep-It-Tight.

What we really need is Malvind Benning to do the decent thing and score another own goal. It's what he does best and this would be all done in the best possible taste.

Town: underhitting, overhitting and an unstructured blob of desperate activity. Just stick it in their mixer and see what happens.

In the last minute Adams faced North but went South and Perch scraped away the swinging cross from the near post. The corner drooped farly, was headed back and out and back and out and Williams dropped when feeling yellow peril. A free kick, central, 20 or so yards out.

Five minutes were added.

Stone lurked on the left of goal and Williams beautifully Baled a dipping wobbler into the top right corner. Blimey.

Listen lads we can still do this!

Mansfield panicked, Town attacked in spasms of spits and spots. Green fiddled about down the left and Spokes coiled a big dipper beyond the far post. Yellow statues, Stone perplexed by pigeons, Little George snuck around the back and, a couple of yards out, headed against the left post. Out the ball bonked, Lennie twizzled and flibbled widely over.

Come on, come on, your inside is out when your outside is in, the higher we fly the deeper they go. Hewitt hurled a chuck and yellows nodded back for a lob that Lennie nodded wide.

In the seventh of the five added minutes a yellow clot clattered Clifton 25 or so yards out. Is this moment when this worm of a season turns? Stone wibbled behind a wobbling wall, Williams puffed out his cheeks and Baled way, way over. We're through, we're through, it's over, it's over, it's over.

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the evening.

Stones, worms and seasons unturned. There's a time to laugh, a time to weep, many would swear it's too late.

We've been fobbed off and we've been fooled. We've been robbed and ridiculed. Will the anti-Fenty flouncers bounce back to Blundell Park after another march towards adequacy?



Latest | March 2021