John Lomas’ Chad Stags Programme notes v Bristol Rovers

John Lomas. Mansfield chad.
John Lomas. Mansfield chad.

In the midst of all the excitement on the pitch, there are expectations of a level of decorum and neutrality in press boxes up and down the country.

But, after trying hard to stay in my seat for Adi Yussuf’s late winner at Dagenham, I have to admit defeat after jumping up and making a noise like a strangled cat when Mal Benning’s volley flew into the net against Newport on Saturday.

But what the hell? I love football and I am only human. That is the sort of moment you dream of seeing live.

You get goals like that from all over the world on your TV screens, but at League Two level how often do you see a goal of that quality?

It wasn’t just the awareness of Jack Thomas that a second spectacular Benning volley may be on the cards in as many games, but it was his unerring accuracy to send a pinpoint crossfield pass towards him that would drop perfectly for Benning to shape up for the big finish. The telepathy between them was superb.

Even then it needed perfect timing, power and accuracy. Benning got all three right and the reception for his wonder goal by team mates and supporters was fully deserved.

I don’t think the television angle really did it justice and I can’t think of too many better ones I have seen at the ground since my first visit in 1975.

Let’s be fair, the other two goals against Newport were hardly shabby either were they?

Craig Westcarr may not have had the same distance to smash his volley into the net from, but his timing and accuracy still had to be spot on and the cushioned ball to him over the defender from Jack Thomas was sublime.

Then we had Adi Yussuf reprising his superb sub role from Dagenham to come on and make it two goals in as many games near the end with a great finish on the turn.

Adam Murray felt the Dagenham goal would spark Yussuf into becoming the goalscorer the club believe they have acquired – and that was underlined by the confidence in which he buried his chance against Newport.

I am sure Yussuf will desperately want to secure himself a starting place every week. But, in his first season at this level, fans will be delighted if he can at least become the club’s regular ‘super sub’ to begin with.

It is no co-incidence that three games with an unchanged side have resulted in three wins on the bounce and they will only grown together in confidence and as a side as the games go by.

There hasn’t been a single League game yet so far in which I felt Stags would lose and didn’t look like they might do something. It’s been a long time since I felt that and word seems to be getting around with a much better home gate at last last weekend.

Let’s hope they return today and the Stags can reward them with a fourth consecutive win.

Today aside though, I wish Rovers and Darrell Clarke all the very best.

As a local journalist, you always hope the players will be nice people to work with on a day to day basis and when he was here Darrell was one of the best.

I also have a few friends who are Gasheads who I hope I will be able to taunt tonight.

Enjoy the game!