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Archived News from August 2015

FTYBR BLOG: Thespians, Confidence & Nun's Knickers
27th August 2015 12:40

May I suggest that before the encounter with the ‘Thespians’ from the Student City of Oxford, where during the game some of the acting would have had Morse polishing his Jag with pride, that most of us would have been more than happy with a point? However, after the start Stags had, to ultimately end up with a share of the spoils, left me a little frustrated; not at what ‘could’ have been, but at what ‘should’ have been.
Westcarr’s early and well taken finish was followed quickly by one of those penalty kick things we’d heard so much about. As Green put the ball down, I bet there was not one person in the One Call that thought he would miss? I was still stunned at the award of the kick to take in the fact that Matt hit the corner of the post and crossbar. For several seconds I wondered just what had happened? Yes we’d been awarded a penalty, for the first time, it seemed since Dunlop boots and plain white footballs, but Matt Green had missed. I was ready to sack the script writer because he had got it horribly wrong.
It was like the morning after Delilah had cut Samson’s hair. You could see the strength disappear from Green’s game, and although you could say later on in the 1st half when their keeper saved a one on one with Matt, that it was a decent save, you couldn’t help but feel had he had scored the penalty, then a confident Matt Green would have made it 3-0 and that would have been game over. I know he’d been rested for the Stanley defeat and indeed had not trained fully all week, but I felt he played the rest of his game with a lack of confidence, something a goal-getter desperately needs. Let us hope that Matt’s first goal in anger since returning comes soon. Away at York City this weekend would be ideal.
The Oxford equaliser was a strange situation. What one earth was in the mind of Reggie when he flew through the air like Mr Bean on that Snickers advert I don’t know? Needless to say the Ref rightly pointed to the spot and Oxford gained a foothold in the game. From then on Stags lost their fluidity. It can be argued that Oxford as a collective side, have been together longer then our new look team and I heard afterwards that Murray was pleased, “Another point on the board!” but I wanted more. Perhaps it is because I can see that we have a real decent side and I wanted us to prove it by beating one of the so-called better teams in this Division.
Now onto my mumble for the week; the completed lack of atmosphere inside the ground. I know some of you reading this will point the finger of blame in different directions, ticketing policy, Stewards, half empty Ground. The list will no doubt be endless but good god from my position in the pressbox, it was like being sat in the stands of a Sunday afternoon local cricket match. The only thing missing was the knotted handkerchiefs and rolled up brown trousers. To have been in the midst of the away end at Mardy Lane and felt the passion, Saturday was being inside a Nun’s knickers. Surely something can be done to improve matters?
Now I have never been the envious type, but watching a bit of German football on the TV over the weekend made me wish our ground rocked the same way. There were flags waving, passionate support, the lot. Now I am sure that the various supporters groups could get together with the club. It would benefit the team I am sure. Look at Selhurst Park. You know that when Palace are at home, the place will be booming and that has got to get the team more up for it? The One Call is it seems an easy passage for visiting teams at the moment. We need other teams to fear coming here. You can’t build a fortress when there is no one on the battlements bellowing to the attackers below.
What could be done? Safe standing area’s? Stewards who allow football fans to have a bit of fun instead of being treated like you are inside the local cinema? I’d personally love to see a section of the ground allocated as say, an ‘Ultra’ area. You want to sing and wave flags, you go into that section, you don’t, you sit somewhere else. It has never been the same inside our Ground since they put the fence down the middle of the old West Stand terrace which stopped fans going to the end where the Stags were attacking. I just think that creating a more vociferous atmosphere from the home fans can only be good for the team, and also help get fans back inside the ground, there is nothing like an adrenalin filled sing song to make you feel better about life.
It has been a strange midweek watching other League 2 clubs take part in the League Cup. I used to love the two leg games. No one will ever forget knocking out Leeds United, but I suppose the powers that be decided things needed changing, but I feel, it wasn’t for the better. Should I pay credit to Counteh for the way they took the game to Aston Villa? No, I sat with Sky Sports news on and creased each time they pumped up their vocal cords to tell us all that “There’s been a goal at Villa Park, and it has not gone the way you would think!” Thank god Villa eventually edged away, can you imagine the Counteh fans if they had won? I’ve got to admit to being interested in the game, but there was no way I listening to Uncle Colin giving his rendition of ‘Sailors’ 1970’s hit, “Girls, Girls, Girls!” Now that would have been too much. Also is it just me or does Counteh manager, Moniz looks like Lloyd from Corrie? Several other L2 teams did ok but credit must go to Curle and his Carlisle side for winning at QPR. Mind you Rangers make a habit of losing to lower league sides, so I suppose it wasn’t such a shock after all?
So it leave me just to say, best of luck to Stags away at York City. The next few games should provide us all with a better idea of just what Murray’s Mansfield can achieve this season. I know what I think they can do, it’s now time prove it to all the other teams in League 2

Steve Hartshorn.


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