‘R’ is for . . .

Rockets, Rescue, Replay & Relief!

After Horrible Histon presented us with the frightening prospect of defeat on Hallowe’en weekend, Ryan Williams banished the evil with a thunderous rocket – a goal that won’t be forgotten for quite a while!

Fireworks DW

Free Fireworks BOOMED The Stags Into Life (Captured By Dan Westwell)

As a Stags fan, I don’t enjoying watching my side desperately chasing an equalizer, staring defeat in the face. OK I accept it has to happen once in a while . . . but  as long as it doesn’t happen again for a while I shall be relieved and grateful!

The magical FA Cup would provide the bonfire weekend entertainment. A trip to Forest Green Rovers may not have been the most mouth-watering of ties, but it was still winnable and in my eyes the perfect opportunity to show that last week’s minor scare against Histon was just a blip. At least that’s what I thought!

I was back on the SSA bus for this trip, still involved with Mansfield 103.2 , which I will come to later. The normal topics of conversation emerged, along with a few laughs about my Hallowe’en puns in last week’s blog “Remember Remember”. I Promised not to do the same this week with bonfire night, so like a sparkler being extinguished in the water bucket, my puns are well and truly finished!

As I said above, I was still to be involved with Mansfield 103.2 – but in a different capacity. Because of contractual reasons the station was not broadcasting the show from Forest Green; instead they were doing something totally different. The station would be taking calls throughout the show from people wishing Stags or whichever local team well – and for each call taken live the station gave £5 to Macmillan Cancer Support. My role would (apparently) be key to the show – providing live reports on how the game was going and keeping the station updated, a prospect I was looking forward to. For those wondering, yes – the station DID donate £5 for each one of my calls, which must of clocked up at least £50. I had lots of airtime!

Michael Brough FGR dw

Debuatant Michael Brough In Action (Picture by; Dan Westwell)

This situation meant I was back in the stand, without the suit which has been lucky for Stags in recent weeks (so I’m told!) Back in a Stags shirt and amongst my people I quickly soaked up the atmosphere and was ready to watch the Stags win. If only Rob Duffy’s third minute shot had trickled in and not wide! If only new signing Michael Brough’s shot would have sailed into the top corner and not the keeper’s hands. With Stags unable to break down the Forest Green barrier, it was only a matter of time before things got worse for the travelling side. At 28 minutes it did. Forest Green went in front catching Stags on the counter attack following a free kick.

With the rain pouring, darkness descending and wind blowing, Stags were still unable to break down the barrier and almost conceded a second, having Luke Jones to thank after he cleared one off the line whilst I was on air! Alan Marriott also kept the score at 1-0 with a string of fine saves – routine for him really!

Before the game the players and management expressed their desire to progress in the FA Cup. With this in mind, David Holdsworth changed tactics from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 bringing on wingers Craig Dobson and Ryan Williams. They had some impact but Duffy and Perry couldn’t hit the target. With the clock ticking down Stags threw on Blair Sturrock to try and rescue us. He couldn’t really break through, so the ball went to Williams and Dobson, who managed to win several set-pieces for the Stags.

Scott Garner FGR dw

Like a rocket- Scott Garner Celebrates his late goal (Picture By; Dan Westwell)

Somebody near the ground thought they heard the final whistle and let off some premature celebration fireworks as Stags won a corner. Centre halfs Luke Jones and Scott Garner set off a rocket-like run to be in the box for the corner, Garner exploded and headed the ball home – spreading some pretty colours amongst the Stags fans! In a flash the final whistle went, meaning a replay will be needed at Field Mill- relief for not only me and the commentary team in the studio, but relief for the players and travelling fans that had to endure a rare taste of deja vu.

I headed back to the bus, desperately trying to reach the studio to update them as I’d lost my signal. I eventually did get through and gave a post match analysis on the bus, ended with a relieved chorus of ‘Yellows’.

The way home was nicely wrapped up with talks about the game and our new signing Michael Brough, who I personally thought did well in midfield – though others will and did disagree with me. Everyone has their right to an opinion! I’m looking forward to seeing what else Brough can bring to the side in the coming weeks. The FA Cup draw hasn’t been drawn at the time of writing – I’d like a home tie, but of course we have to beat Forest Green yet!

I was told that with my help, the station had raised over £1,500 (and rising) – so a huge thanks to those who listened and called in.

Thanks for reading. With a sigh of relief I know we must not focus on the Cup draw – it’s Crawley next week so let’s focus on that and get back to winning ways!

Craig

 “Mansfield Town FC; did not get burnt on bonfire weekend!”

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