Icy lakes of Mansfield

I’ve said this many times before: one week is a long time in football! Stags have perhaps had one of the longest weeks for quite a while – a trip to Barrow on Tuesday night not only provided a lengthy trip to the ground, but an even longer trip home, as we returned with no points and yet another midweek away hiding! The curse is still upon us, and we won’t get a chance to put it right until 1st December, when we make the trip to BSP new boys Gateshead.

The Stags headed to Barrow on the back of two home wins, seeing off the league leaders Oxford 2-1 and brushing aside BSP New boys Hayes & Yeading 3-1, thanks to Rob Duffy’s hat-trick. After a run of poor luck five games without a win, Stags now looked to be back on track following the above mentioned home wins. Us Stags fans just hoped we could continue the luck away from home and complete our first ‘double’ of the season over Barrow, who we saw off 4-1 at home during August. I didn’t expect many to travel to Barrow, it being a long way and on a Tuesday night is a huge stumbling block for the faithful. But 63 Stags fan did make the trip, heading to the game full of hope, and heading home cold, wet and annoyed following a 3-1 defeat.

The Travelling Stags Fans Welcome The Teams Onto The Pitch At Barrow

The travelling Stags fans welcome the teams onto the pitch at Barrow

However, this game will always stick in my memory, not just for the defeat, but for what I can only describe as one of the best experiences of my Stags fan life so far. I met up with a few friends in town before heading up to Field Mill for our 2pm departure. We had a few games of pool; I even got a second shot at beating Birdy, following my success at Woking last season. He was keen for revenge and quickly set about getting an advantage. I clawed my way back to a black ball game, although he claimed victory this time!

Plenty of room on the coach gave us all room to stretch out for what was perhaps our longest away trip of the season, and I quickly drifted off to sleep – my phone pumped with new music to  help me to get an afternoon nap! We arrived at the services for a quick break, and were just about to pile back onto the coach when local radio presenter Tony Delahunty appeared from nowhere to try and grab a few comments about the trip. Most people slipped back onto the bus before Tony could grab hold of them and get some comments. I wasn’t one of them and my comments apparently appeared on the 5.30 news.

I got back on the bus to a few ‘friendly’ comments from Frank and Nigel before eventually arriving at our destination. Of course the next port of call was the pub. Frank had just about settled down to watch the cricket in the main bar before Stace spotted the pool table in the other bar, which also had a TV, so Frank remained happy. A few games of pool later, me victorious over Stace 2-1 (sorry!), we all dug out the coats, hoodies, scarves and gloves making the short walk to Barrow’s ground. Inside the weather looked bleak and I really didn’t relish the prospect of scribbling notes onto wet paper (For the Stagsnet match report), while trying to avoid footballs that were wide of goal!

Inside the ground I got talking to Mark Stevenson (head of media and communications at the club), when out of the blue Tony Delahunty asked me if I wanted to help him with the commentary of the game. I was going to say no at first but after a reassuring wink from Mark, I said yes. I’m glad I did as well – I really enjoyed it and apparently sounded like a pro – according to those who were listening at home. Oh and thanks to Frank, Weaver and Nigel for all the ‘friendly’ text messages during my commentary! They were just jealous because I had a roof over me!

As for the performance, the wet conditions did not play to our advantage, causing us to be careless in certain areas, giving the ball away and generally looking like a side at the bottom of the table, not one lurking in the play-offs! The only positive I suppose you can take is Kyle Nix’s brilliant free kick which gave Stags an equaliser, before we crumbled and headed home deflated and well and truly defeated.

Rob Duffy Added 1 More Penalty To His Collection Saturday (Photo By Dan Westwell)

Rob Duffy added one more penalty to his collection on Saturday (photo by Dan Westwell)

Saturday dawned and visiting Field Mill were six game unbeaten Forest Green Rovers. Stags managed to grind out a 1-0 victory thanks to a Duffy penalty early in the first half. Again the conditions didn’t help and the performance wasn’t one of the best, but this is a results based business!

Football-wise, Stags are walking on ice at the moment, Making a few slip ups along the way but managing to pick themselves up at home to grind out three points. Let’s just hope when we head to Altrincham next Saturday, someone’s either built a bridge or put some grit down so we don’t fall once more.

My brief stint as a radio co-commenter made for some interesting conversations on Saturday. I spoke to Martin Shaw from stagsnet, Kev Goodman and Malcolm Storer – who are both huge non-league football fans and write their own blogs about their experiences. But this season Malc & Kev have both got season tickets, following the summer offer. It was nice to have a chat with them all – I look forward to more of the same, but only if Malc brings us some of the cake his friend made him! A final shout out to Pete, who was interested in our car trouble at the end of the game.

Thanks for reading and all the feedback from last week’s blog and of course my radio exploits during the week!

Craig.

“Mansfield Town FC; Dancing on Ice!”

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2 Responses to “Icy lakes of Mansfield”

  1. Malcolm Storer Says:

    Sorry Craig…. the cake lasted all of one day!!!!! But it was very tasty and was a fantastic gesture from a lady colleague who spent 5 hours producing the masterpiece!! I hadn’t been feeling too good and although the lady in question doesn’t really cook, she had made up her mind to cheer me up !!!! Soppy I know, but very much appreciated……

  2. craigpriest14 Says:

    Yeah, its like being on xfactor again! we love a good sob story!

    Do you think you purswade your collegue to do it again, maybe a “Bloggers” cake?……….. But not choclate! haha!

    Cheers for reading 🙂

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