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Bridge to Nowhere
Bridge to Nowhere

Interaction in Mansfield

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 18/02/2007

"THIS is what they don’t see down south. I like this" commented a colleague from Stockport to me once as one grey day we passed through the middle of Appleby Frodingham steelworks.

Home > 2006-2007 Season > Reports > Mansfield (a)

He’d have been in poetic raptures if he’d seen Mansfield. It’s everything a northerner could dream of. No frills, no fuss and no sign of life, duck. Just a lot of anonymous retail outlets with grey skies as the backdrop. A couple of days ago in London, I’d seen a sign on a shop front advertising "hair systems". I worked out this was a barber’s shop. None of this stuff and nonsense in Mansfield. Here it’s called a barber’s shop. The weather was grey, cold, wet and windy. From my experience this is a normal day round these parts.

The Mansfield Town FC web site advertises a pub, situated next to an electrical retailer, which encourages "friendly interaction" between fans. The bar I found in the town centre afforded similar interaction and the chance to have something to eat and discuss the ballet, the price of beer and more importantly today’s game before venturing back into the grey world, where the impressive West Stand stood high and proud in the background, a landmark of North Nottinghamshire, making us wonder at the same time which retail outlets surround the Bernabeu and San Siro stadiums.

In spite of the less than ambient surroundings, we have reason for optimism. 10 goals in two games, yet uncertainty still remains and we’re very much in trouble. This will not have been lost on Field Marshal Buckley. Of that I have no doubt. But will the players respond again and condemn the goalless, pointless and joyless nightmare to oblivion in our memories? My friend Pete observed after last week that Town and the England cricket team have something in common. Not just 11 no hopers any more, but the ability to rise from the ashes. There are weaknesses but let’s hope he’s right. At least we’re not beating ourselves now.

Today’s game is spiced up by having two ex-Town players in the Mansfield line-up. Gritton was a good, honest player and had a good relationship with the supporters. Boulding, in spite of his success, did not. So Grimsby weren’t good enough for you, then? In the light of that, going to Mansfield was an interesting career move.

Some 1300 Town fans were here for the latest development. Town warmed up under the watchful eye of Dave Moore. Tom Newey’s hair system had gone haywire. So long as he can tackle and pass and cross the ball, we don’t mind. The Town team was Barnes - Bloomer - Fenton - Whittle - Newey - Bore - Bolland - Hunt - Boshell - Toner - Paterson. So, it’s back to 4 - 5 - 1.

First Half.

Boshell almost put Paterson through on 3 minutes, but offside was given. A further move started following a Hunt interception. Paterson harried the defence, Toner crossed too far. So far there was no cause for excitement. Mansfield won a corner on 6 minutes. Nothing came of it and Town reciprocated as Bloomer pushed the ball too far for Bore. Hunt started a move on 9 minutes which set Bore off on a run. Bore was clearly here to run fast and hard at the defence. Bolland got a useful low shot in on 10 minutes.

Mansfield were quick on the break and Barnes had trouble with a high ball, with Mansfield’s Conlon descending on him rapidly. The battle for supremacy continued. On 16 minutes Paterson intercepted a pass, and set Bore off on a run, resulting in a corner. Fenton’s header went just over. Back up the field came the ball, and Conlon blasted over after Newey lost his man on the left. On 20 minutes Fenton was booked for tripping Mansfield’s Hamshaw. The free kick gave a chance to Conlon, who headed to Barnes.

Moments later, good work from Conlon saw the ball with Dawson who was tripped up, this time by whittle. The free-kick from 25 yards was headed away by Whittle for a corner. Conlon curled the ball over. Mansfield were on top. Town were not in a rhythm. Whittle once again conceded a corner on 27 minutes, before Paterson had a chance on 30 minutes, going clear but was adjudged to have fouled the Mansfield player.

Mansfield attacked again on 30 minutes and the ever dangerous Conlon had the ball in the box, beat Fenton with ease, cut back skilfully and found Boulding who turned and rapped the ball past Barnes’s right hand. Mansfield Town 1, Grimsby Town 0.

Four minutes later, Hamshaw found Conlon who netted with a header but the goal was disallowed for offside. Town had a lucky escape on 36 minutes when Newey slipped up and was once again beaten. Hamshaw crossed and Barnes fumbled but the ball went clear. Town got a corner soon after. Bore tried to link up with Whittle but this was never going to work.

Then on 41 minutes, Town had a legitimate shout for a handball outside Mansfield’s penalty area but rather than waste time arguing, Newey collected the ball, pushed it outside and crossed. Mansfield could not clear it and the ball went to Bolland who on the right corner of the 6 yard line, turned and with his right foot fired a shot into the left roof of the net from an awkward angle. Mansfield Town 1, Grimsby Town 1. On 45 minutes Newey put in a dangerous run and cross, but the half ended with Mansfield threatening.

Half time verdict: Bore was making some dangerous runs, and Newey was fulfilling his attacking potential but it was all a bit patchy, not helped by the stop-go nature of the half with the referee awarding a number of free-kicks. Hunt was impressive in Town’s midfield, but Boshell wasn’t doing much today, unlike last week. Town were trying to get their passing game going on a decent pitch, but the play wasn’t fluid. In defence we were looking vulnerable, on both Newey’s side and in the middle where Mansfield’s muscular Conlon was being allowed too much freedom. Barnes was not inspiring confidence in goal. All in all, we were lucky to be drawing.

The report continues in the Second Half

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