PDW's match report: Luton Town 1-1 Mansfield Town
A very dull match to replicate the dull weather. The highlight of the day being the final whistle that and oh the fact I have just been followed on Twitter by a lady whose bio says cryptically “Sex Addict”, I like her already.
On the bright side, that’s one less tiresome fourth division football match I won't have to waste my time watching in my life. Watching the giants from NG18 time waste isn’t something I wish to spend my spare time doing.Too many teams play to not to lose than try to win and far, too many games only get going with twenty or thirty minutes left. Most sports are more watchable these days, pity Football bucks that trend.
It was certainly a clash of styles. Actually style is far too much a compliment to give Mansfield, you will see better and entertaining football down the park tomorrow morning, then they produced. Their fans as witty as ever “1-0 to the England” and chanting “ Yellow” despite the fact they were wearing a white kit. Given the choice between living in war torn Syria and Mansfield, I know which one I would pick me dooks and it wouldn’t be the latter.
A match where we didn’t get going until the double change which saw the arrival of Ruddock and Vassell. Personally I thought it needed a change at half time, then another one 15 minutes later if it wasn’t working still. Yes, Hylton is a big loss. I did wondered what the plan was when he was unavailable. The answer is isn’t one, not one that currently works. When he misses games in future with injury, it’s probably best to play him, but get someone to push him around in a wheelchair. Perhaps not ideal, but worth a pop.
Mansfield tried to kill any flow to the match and the referee should have clamped down harder on time wasting. However it was not the referee’s fault, that we let Mansfield players have two free headers in our box for their goal. It was not the referee’s fault, that the movement in front of the defenders was static, meaning we went sideways, backwards to retain possession, only to lose it the first forward pass. This was repeated regularly until the last twenty minutes.
At least then we had some much needed urgency to our play, McGeehan dropped drop to give Rea and Cuthbert, an option and drove forward, admittedly some of his play wasn’t great, but at least he was trying to make something happen. His goal was excellent, a controlled strike low into the far corner. We had time to get a winner, but apart from a couple of attempts thereafter, Shearer pushing away Cuthbert’s curler and Marriott very unlucky to see a strike whistle just past the far post.
In summary, we conceded a soft goal. Spent most of the game huffing and puffing around, improved, scored but didn’t exactly battle the Mansfield goal. A game we could have won but didn’t, but at least we didn’t lose. Best to move and not speak about it again really.
There was one change to the side which beat Orient. Hylton banned so Gray came in. Jones changed with the system, starting with a 4-3-2-1, in homage to Ted Rogers presumably, but soon went back to a diamond with Cook supporting Marriott. It was noticeable, how far advanced O’Donnell played. It was also noticeable how O’Donnell stood off Benning, to cross, which lead to the corner for their goal. Dear James Justin, please get fit soon. Warmest Regards.
The goalkeeper and back four remained unchanged. Rea in the holding role, McGeehan and Gray just in front, then Gilliead on the right, Cook left and Marriott up front on his own. Marriott hard well, but unless he brought a step ladder he had no chance to reach a couple of Walton hoofs against two towering blocks in Pearce and Howkins.The players weren't used to that system,looked unbalanced, a bit lost and we didn't have any rhythm to our first half performance.
Mansfield, Mansfield, Mansfield. What can you say? If you like alehouse football where Gaelic Football meets WWF, please visit Field Mill soon, you are in for a treat. They are known for their physical, direct approach, but have taken it to a new high. Baldy Murray has banned mobile phones, but if I had to watch them every week, I would be calling The Samartians. Not sure which is worse the type of football they play or the town itself. I do actually, it’s the town.
They are well organised, defensively strong, but didn’t create much although Green is a good striker at this level, Clements in a better footballing team would shine and Benning can stick a good cross in.
If you like watching football , when one team time wastes and the other team passes the ball sideways and backwards in their own half, and loses it as soon as they get enter the opposition’s half. It was great. If not, it was rather mind numbing fare.
We had a few good moves, Gilliead, again looking like a Rolls Royce in a garage full of Skodas with Marriott, Cook, displayed a couple of exceptional control and touches bringing down an aerial passes. But it was also another first half of football, where we didn’t test the goalkeeper and concede a sloppy goal. Two free headers from a set piece is basic fundamental stuff in this awful, horrible division. For all the good football we can at times, gets wiped out when unable to deal with such situations.
Being a lightweight team, young team we do struggle and get bullied by the more physical sides. With Mansfield sitting deep after their early goal, we struggled to pass through them. Without the necessary tempo, we are a fairly predictable team to play against. On our day, when the movement and passing is spot on, we look brilliant; those days don’t come around very often, sadly.
Our first god move come down the right, early pass by O’Donnell into Gilliead, in turn found Cook breaking infield, but looped his left foot over Shearer’s bar.
Mansfield switched the ball over to their left Benning came forward O’Donnell stopped and let him cross the ball, it was in a decent area, but Sheehan flicked the ball behind. Hurst took the corner, Bennett won the first header and Green the second flicking it into the net from close range.
We looked stunned. No idea why as Mansfield scoring against us from a set piece you didn’t need to Mystic Meg to foresee that coming. Mansfield pressed forward, encouraged by the goal, winning a lot of knock downs and second balls, Collins picked up most things, they thumped the ball forward for Hoban and Green to chase or got the ball wide to Bennett and Benning. Rose’ centre half cleared by Cuthbert (the only man in our defence who appears to know how to deal with a cross currently) and Hurst could only help it over.
Gilliead and O’Donnell combined well down our right, low pass slipped through to Marriott despite having two efforts couldn’t score past the wall of white shirts. Lovely vision by Gilliead, played the ball between Benning and Pearce, but Marriott couldn’t get to it, before Shearer pounced to collect.
A hoof downfield by Shearer, O’Donnell didn’t jump at either Hoban or ball, Cuthbert dealt with it and told O’Donnell in fairly simple Scottish what he thought of O’Donnell’s effort. Along the lines "I say Stephen old boy, could you jump please?" Bennett’s cross found Clement, his snapshot charged down for a corner. Benning swung across the set piece ball dropped for Clement, a well struck shot but Walton fielded it moving to his left.
For some reason, Mansfield decided to sit back and declare on one. So slowly we were more in control of the ball, not the game. Gilliead rolled a pass to Marriott taking aim on his left foot, stopped by the out stretched leg of Collins.
From that corner, summed up the laugh out loud quality of this division. The idea was a sound one, in fairness. A short corner routine by Gilliead and Cook, found O’Donnell unmarked just outside the box, a poor strike, which the ball bobbled to Pearce who took an almighty swing at and merely touched the ball behind.
As O’Donnell got the wrong side of Collins from a Hurst corner, he galloped impressively up the wing, but with no Luton player rushing to join him, he eventually run into the Mansfield defence.
Marriott dropping deep to receive the ball, lovely reverse pass to Cook carrying the ball forward, before cutting inside and sending a drive, inches wide of the far post. Marriott and Cook linked up, Collins caught Cook, play continued, no advantage as Gray had to combat Benning and Pearce. McGeehan turned but got fouled by Clements, but again nothing.
Clements found Benning centred for Green unbalanced could only knock his header over. Rea brought the ball forward, pass into Cook, nudged into McGeehan; he looked up, elected to shoot over. O’Donnell was unmarked, in which case the hot was the correct option.