John Lomas’Chad Stags Programme notes v Crawley Town

Will today be the day that Mansfield get that elusive first home win of the season?

Saturday, 12th September 2015, 3:00 pm
John Lomas. Mansfield chad.

We all know it’s early days yet and a long way from panic, but with six points already missed out on from the first nine home points available, hopes of making One Call Stadium a fortress this season looks like it’s going to take some additional fencing and patching up of holes.

Once Chris Clements had scored that superb free kick last weekend after just 15 minutes to level the match against AFC Wimbledon, Stags had more than enough on that pitch to go on and win it.

They did have their chances with Ryan Tafazolli guilty of missing a good headed chance and Krystian Pearce and Reggie Lambe denied by goal line clearances.

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But the shots on/off tally was simply not high enough on the day due to players not making the system their manager wanted work properly.

Poor Matt Green cut a frustrated figure as the lone striker as many of the balls he was asked to chase were poor ones and when he did get the ball at his feet, the midfield were slow at getting forward to support him.

As it was, the Dons’ defence had a relatively comfortable day with Stags’ goal, tellingly, coming from a set piece.

Either the side has to play to Green’s strengths or boss Adam Murray has to change the system and go with two up front.

Nothing is settled in September, but a failure to win today would leave fans feeling that what has seemed to be a promising start to the season is fast becoming an average one.

Stags still sit relatively pretty in eighth place in League Two, despite their home wobbles, but Crawley are only three points behind with a game in hand way down in 18th place with an identical goal difference, so that is how quickly things could change.

Elsewhere in the division, Morecambe and Exeter are surprising a few people with early surges.

Exeter ended Leyton Orient’s magnificent start to the campaign on Saturday with a real thud.

Orient had won five out of five and sat top of the table, but the Grecians thumped them by an unexpected 4-0 scoreline to move up into the play-off spots.

Meanwhile Morecambe made it 11 goals in three League Two outings as they won 4-2 at Yeovil Town, who have reacted to their relegation in the opposite fashion to Orient, still suffering a hangover from the heartache of the drop and are currently in the bottom two alongside a Newport side that sits bottom without a win.

Peterborough became the first club this season to axe their manager this week as Dave Robertson was shown the door after only six League One games, losing four of them, but winning one and drawing one too.

Sadly the timing of the game on Saturday made it impossible for anyone in the press box to watch it due to filing reports and chasing interviews. But it was nice to hear that England had put the mighty San Marino to the sword 6-0 and qualified for Euro 2016 in France next summer.

Congratulations also to Wayne Rooney for becoming England’s joint all-time top goalscorer alongside Sir Bobby Charlton with his 13th minutes spot kick success. How frustrated he must have been to have been substituted with over half-an-hour to play against the rapidly-tiring part-timers of San Marino.

Next weekend it’s off to Luton (or are they officially still known as Dirty Luton?) for another clash with Stags’ old rivals.

I may be best setting off for Kenilworth Road straight after today’s whistle as it would give me half a chance of finding a parking spot.

On a Saturday it has to be one of the worst located grounds in the country for finding somewhere to park with little available paid-for parking in the town centre where the ground sits and then streets and streets of ‘resident only’ parking circling the ground for what seems like miles.

But I do enjoy the hostile atmosphere in there, particularly as it can often very quickly turn against the home side rather than the opposition.

As last year, much was expected of the Hatters this season with the squad they have and attendances they generate. But Saturday’s 3-1 success at Cambridge was their first win of the season after three straight defeats and kept them out of the bottom two relegation spots.

Today they head to Notts County where another win could see them really on the up for the Stags visit.

Maybe it would be nice to see the Magpies put one over on them today?