Allegedly it’s grim up north, and I suppose for the 1200 supporters that made the 160-mile round trip from Mansfield, it really is.
The game began like a scene from Fast and Furious. Both teams going a hundred miles an hour and seemingly going nowhere. With stray passes a plenty from the boys in black and white, it looked like we could be settling ourselves in for another frustrating afternoon.
Mansfield began the stronger of the teams and put the mariners on the back foot early on. No real chances created, but a lot of work in and around the Town half. The strength became even more apparent when a scything challenge on Sam Jones looked to have ended his day a little early. A crunching knee high challenge that rocked the stands but play continued as the referee believed an advantage was there. Nothing gained from the advantage, an eventual booking for the Mansfield defender and Sam Jones hobbling around for a couple of minutes as he shook of his injury.
Not a great lot else seemed to happen in the first half. Until a moment of genius or madness, depends how you view it. A training ground free kick. Oh god no!! These things never work. And how we were so very nearly proved right. Had it not been for Bollie getting the header back across to Clements I think his initial shot would have gone out for a throw near the corner flag. But a bit of comedy and finally a bit of luck for Town and 1 – 0.
With a few “oohh’s” and “aahh’s” from the Mansfield fans as headers went directly to Macca, half time drew in and Town went in 1 – 0 to the good. We had worked hard, but I truly believed a draw would have been deserved at half time. Neither team having really done enough.
As the second half started, we sat and talked about young Callum Dyson being taken of as he was looking a little leggy towards the end of the first 45. However, the young sprite suddenly found himself on the right wing ball at feet after a surging run from Bollie. He drifted inside took on one player, dropped his shoulder, created and opening and curled an effort in to the far post. An hour gone and 2 – 0 up.
Still feeling like Town should take him off, we all looked to the sidelines to see if there was any movement. And there was. Only it was in the shape of the Mansfield Manager being sent to the stands. Laughs, cheers and smiles all round as he stropped of like a spoilt teenager not getting his way.
As the game pushed on and Town looked more confident Bollie continued to cause Mansfield no end of problems. With a darting run in to the box, Bollie was brought down and young Callum Dyson stole the ball for the subsequent penalty. Calmly sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 3 – 0.
What a brilliant result. Being a season ticket holder I go to every home game and I can see the improvements Marcus is making. I can also see that there is still some way to go. As individuals, the squad is starting to look very good. As a team, we look ok. But as a team, it is still very young and as they get to know each other and grow together, I can only see us going from strength to strength.
Man of the match for me was Tom Bolarinwa. Closely followed by Danny Andrew. The two players were a handful for Mansfield and both looked comfortable and confident on and off the ball.
Bring on Morcambe!!!