Thursday, 14 December 2017

FORTHCOMING FIXTURES: DECEMBER 2017 & JANUARY 2018

December & January Schedule
It's Winter and we live in England, so it stands to reason that some, though hopefully not all, of the following (very) provisional plans will fall by the wayside because of the weather, so check with the home club before setting out t'wards any of these destinations. 
Stay safe, keep warm and enjoy your football.
December fixtures:
Fri 15 Dec - Mansfield Town v Walsall - EFL U18 Youth Alliance Cup - 12 noon 
Sat 16 Dec - Tideswell United v Retford - CMFL North - 3pm
Tue 19 Dec - Swallownest v Swinton Athletic - Sheffield & Hallamshire Cup R3 - 7.45pm
Thu 21 Dec - Worksop Town v Retford United - WVH NMU19L - 7.45pm
Sat 23 Dec - TBC
Tue 26 Dec - Grimsby Town v Mansfield Town - EFL League 2 - 1pm
Sat 30 Dec - Campion v Brigg Town - NCEL Div 1
Mon 1 Jan - Mansfield Town v Carlisle United - EFL League 2 - 3pm
January fixtures:
(more in due course)
Sat 6 Jan - Blaby & Whetstone Athletic v Teversal - EMCL - 3pm
Sat 13 Jan - Aylestone Park v Graham St. Prims - EMCL - 3pm
Sat 20 Jan - Birstall United v Teversal - EMCL - 3pm
Sat 27 Jan - Stapenhill v Graham St. Prims - EMCL -3pm

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Cleethorpes Town 0 v Sheffield FC 4 - NPL Div 1 South

Saturday 9th December 2017
EvoStik Northern Premier League Division 1 (South)
at Bradley Recreation Ground, Grimsby
Cleethorpes Town (0) 0
Sheffield FC (0) 4
Andy Gascoigne 56, 61 
Ben Algar 68
Rob Worrall 70
Admission £7. Programme £1.50, Attendance 163
EvoStik League newcomers (relatively speaking) Cleethorpes Town started the afternoon in fourth place in the table, with games in hand over every other team in the division, having only previously lost two league games to date all season, both away from home.
It's been an impressive start to their first season at this level, having been promoted as champions of the NCEL Premier Division last term, which they won by a margin of eleven points over second placed Pickering Town. The Owls lowest ever finish during their five year spell in the NCEL, was fourth in Division 1 at the end of their inaugural year (2012-13) at step 6. Besides promotion last season, they also won the Lincolnshire Senior Trophy, following emphatic wins against Winterton Rangers (7-2) and Barton Town Old Boys (6-1) en route to their 1-0 victory at Sincil Bank over Deeping Rangers in the final.
 
Of course, Cleethorpes also reached the FA Vase Final at Wembley, which proved to be a step too far for them in their pursuit of the treble, but what a great achievement it was for the club to have reached the national stadium (HERE).
Sheffield, officially the oldest football club anywhere in the known universe, since the beginning of time itself AKA 1857 (something of which they are justifiably very proud) rolled into town, desperate to kick start their season and attempt to start to negotiate the steep climb away from the relegation places, as fourteen defeats in their opening twenty games had seen them slump to twenty first in the table, just three points above bottom club Romulus.
'Club' have recently installed Mark Shaw as their first team manager, who has a job and a half on his hands to salvage anything out of their wreckage of a season so far, but he's been around the blocka few times, and despite appearances to the contrary, he knows what he is doing... and when the match referee Kieron Salmons blew the final whistle after four minutes of stoppage time, the visitors had taken all three points with an assured second half performance and climbed three places up the table as a consequence. 
Corby Town's 2-1 home win over Leek Town today, meant that they leapfrogged over 'Clee' in the table to go one point ahead of them, but Marcus Newell's side have played four games less than the Steelmen. 
Having been given the green light following a pitch inspection earlier in the day, there was a fair amount of conjecture pertaining to whether this game ought to have gone ahead or not, but the match referee Kieron Salmons seemed to be satisfied that everything was in order, so it was 'game on'.
Neither of the young goalkeepers: Richard Walton whose been cutting his teeth with Lincoln City's academy side and was wearing the number one shirt for the Owls today, or Louis Jones of Doncaster Rovers who is on loan at Sheffield (after appearing briefly for Maltby Main last season), will have been too thrilled about having to do their thing at either end of the field of play, as both goal areas didn't seem to soften up any over the course of the afternoon.
The home side started brightly, with Adam Drury, Andy Taylor and Brody Robertson (who was marking his return to the club from Alfreton Town) combining well. Alex Flett shot wide from just outside the visitors area, while Liam Dickens passed the ball forward to Drury, who rolled it to Robertson who released Tim Lowe on the right, but his cross was cleared away by the Sheffield captain Adam Chapman.
While at the other end, Rob Worrall found a space right in the middle of the Owls defence, but didn't get enough power behind his shot and it was an easy save for Walton to make.
Ben Turner played a long ball towards the Cleethorpes area from out on the right, which bounced up abruptly, stranding Walton in no mans land as he came off his line, but the ball dropped awkwardly for Andy Cascoigne who knocked his close range effort to turn it into the unguarded net wide.
Ben Algar and Alex Brown linked up on the left wing for 'Club', but when the latter knocked the ball sideways to Cascoigne, Walton saved an angled shot from ten yards with his outstretched foot.
The noise of studs rattling on the hardening ground, resonated in the icy cold air, as players from both teams took turns to recreate everyone's favourite scene from a certain Walt Disney film.
The Owls finished the first half in the ascendancy, having survived a couple of scares; Robertson came out of a 50/50 challenge with the ball and teed up Taylor who scooped a shot wide from the edge of the visitors area, and moments later Peter Winn lashed a twenty five yard free kick wide of the left hand post after Algar had upended Robertson as he attacked in tandem with Taylor. Jon Oglesby broke forward as far as the dead ball line, but Jones claimed his cross as Taylor homed in and almost on the stroke of half time Drury smashed a shot from distance wide of the post.
Both sides had their moments in front of goal during the first half, but as the interval arrived it was still goalless.
HT: Owls 0 v Club 0
'Clee' had the first chance of the second half, when Oglesby was only a whisker away from knocking the ball past Jones as he ran from his area to cut out Drury's long knock forward and before long, Lowe had picked out Taylor with a long dipping ball from out on the right flank, but having taken a touch on the slippery wicket, the Owls number nine diverted the ball past the wrong side of the post.
Sam Finlaw almost released Tyler Williams, with a probing pass, right through the heart of the Cleethorpes defence, but Winn kept his footing and made a timely interception, which under the circumstances was no small achievement as the east coast fell into the grip of the next Ice Age.
Finlaw was involved again, when he latched onto a clearance, but his long shot dropped wide of the target.
In the 56th minute Tyler Williams broke sideways, from right to left, across the face of the Owls defence and slipped the ball through to Gascoigne, who hooked it into the top corner of the net, just inside the left hand post beyond the reach of Walton to open the scoring.
The home side looked for an immediate response, but Drury's shot was blocked by Chapman. Oglesby sped forward on the left, leaving Ben Turner standing for pace, but when he cut inside his shot skidded wide of the far post.
Sheffield went on the attack again and won a throw in level with the Cleethorpes area, Algar found Cascoigne with his throw who exchanged passes with Worrall before planting the ball past Walton from a central position fifteen yards out from the goal, tonet his second goal in the space of five minutes.
Uncharacteristically, having gone two goals behind, Cleethorpes started to lose their shape and began to play several stray passes, while Sheffield continued to pick up the pace and make light of the underfoot conditions.
Julian Lawrence was playing his part in breaking down any attempted forward moves by the home side, picking up a booking along the way, for a robust 'interception' just inside the Sheffield half, but that could be seen as taking one for team while preserving their lead.
The visitors third goal reminded me of that one that John Barnes scored for England against Brazil in days of olde... Algar took a throw on the left to Brown, who knocked it back into the left back's feet for him to make a diagonal run straight across the front of the Owls capitulating defence, before reaching the right hand side of the area straight through the D and planting the ball past Walton at a right angle.
The game was all but killed off with twenty minutes still remaining, when Finlaw drilled a low ball into the 'Clee' area from forty yards for Williams to chase, that was blocked but only half cleared as far as Worrall, who had been waiting five yards outside the area to pick up any scraps and he advanced forward before placing the ball past Walton.
Taylor and Lawrence McKay had half chances to reduce the margin of defeat for the Owls, but Cecil Nyoni fluffed a great opportunity to score a fifth for the visitors, when he launched a shot high into the dark Winters sky.
FT: Cleethorpes Town 0 v Sheffield FC 4
After an evenly matched first half, Sheffield had turned the screw with a convincing performance in the second half, whereas Cleethorpes seemed to run out of impetus and ideas for a while, after the visitors closed ranks to shut off their usually reliable supply lines and pressed high up the field.
Marcus Newell's side travel to Gresley next weekend, who dropped to twenty first in the table today as a result of Sheffield's win and who might just be on the receiving end of a backlash reaction to today's below par performance by Cleethorpes. While Mark Shaw's team have a home game against Carlton Town, who are currently sixteenth in the table, but only have one more point than the South Yorkshire side.
The following Saturday, the Owls entertain Frickley Athletic at the 'Bradley' while Sheffield travel to Loughborough Dynamo.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Mansfield Town 2 v Crystal Palace 2 (AET) - FAYC R3 - Palace won 6-5 on pens

Friday 7th December 2017
FA Youth Cup Third Round
at Field Mill/One Call Stadium
Mansfield Town (1) 1 ET (1) 2
Aiden Walker 44, Jake Dumbleton 115
Crystal Palace (1) 1 ET (2) 2
Joseph Hungbo 15, Tariq Ossai 105
Crystal Palace won 6-5 on penalties
Admission £3. Programme £1
 Match report link on Mansfield Town website: CLICK HERE
 U18 Manager John Dempster's post match views on Mansfield Town website: CLICK HERE
Stags U18's playmaker/midfielder Keaton Ward's post match views on Mansfield Town website: CLICK HERE
 Reaction to Stags U18 v Palace U18 on Stagsnet: CLICK HERE
Shoot out details:
First kick: Nya Kirkby scores for the Eagles
Second kick:Palace keeper Matt Funnell almost gets his hand to it, but Sam Jackson makes it 1-1
Third kick: Sean Robertson buries his spot kick into the top right hand corner.
Fourth kick: Harry Bircumshaw levels thing up again, Funnell went the right way but the ball was beyond his reach.
Fifth kick: David Boateng steps forward and... you don't stop those!!!
Sixth kick: Funnell got down quickly to deny Jake Dumbleton. 3-2 to Palace after three kicks each.
Seventh kick: Xavier Sundby to the rescue as he thwarts the Eagles captain James Daly.
Eighth kick: Cool as you like, Keaton Ward levels things up after four kicks apiece.
Ninth kick: Brandon Oddy nets for the visitors, to put the onus on Cameron Jones.
Tenth kick: Jones makes no mistake with his effort, and the five penalties each shoot-out has finished 4-4 and the tie will be decided by the gory sounding 'instant death' method.
'Instant death' shoot out details:
Eleventh kick: Francis Baptiste stroked his kick past Sundby.
Twelfth kick: Who'd want to be in Aiden Walker's shoes right now!? But he planted the ball authoritatively past Funnell.
Thirteenth kick: Unlucky for some... but not Tyrick Mitchell who struck the ball cleanly into the bottom corner.
Fourteenth kick: Iwryah Gooden, who's run himself to a standstill all night, went for power with his kick which skimmed agonisingly over the bar. Palace win 6-5 on penalties, a harsh way for the young Stags to lose after such a commanding and battling performance. Gutted for them, but immensely proud too.
Brandon Averio, the Eagles number 15 walked forward in preparation to take his sides next kick, as it took a few the visitors a few moments to realise that they had already won the game. 
The crowd had really got behind the Under 18 side tonight, because they could see how hard they were working for the Stags cause. The youngsters in the seats made a proper racket as John Dempster's lads gave it a real go. Hopefully a few more people will turn out to watch them on Saturday morning's now, once the EFL Youth Alliance season recommences in the new year, on the strength of tonight's efforts and non stop entertainment.
Mansfield Town U18 team forthcoming fixtures: CLICK HERE
I might just have mentioned it before, but the Stags youth team have won the Youth alliance championship title for the last two years, and are currently back at the top of the table. #ForzaStags

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Frickley Athletic 5 v Athersley Recreation 1 - S&HFA Senior Cup R3

Tuesday 5th December 2017
Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Third Round
at the Big Fellas Westfield Lane Stadium
AKA the Wezziecana, South Elmsall
Frickley Athletic (2) 5
Danny Frost 26, Jacob Hazel 38, 62,
Tom Dugdale 69, Gavin Allott 90
Athersley Recreation (0) 1
Simon Poole 85
Admission £5. Programme £2. Attendance 140
I used to enjoy reading and partaking in the banter on the Frickley Athletic fans forum, but I hardly ever even look at it nowadays, because of all the negativity, sh*t stirring, rumour mongering, misinformed sabre rattling and occasional downright fibs that have been finding their way onto there of late. Best practice appears to be steering clear of this particular 'chat-room' until they introduce an 'ignore this poster' facility, to sieve out any mischief making, spamming and trolling.
Each to their own, but vindictive individuals playing at being a fly in the ointment and stretching the truth out of anything and everything to try and make it fit their own fairly obvious agenda isn't for me; and it's a real shame that the forum has taken such a turn for the worse, because as regards every other aspect of the club's media innovations and communications, the calibre of people that they have on board to that end couldn't be any better, and their collective input continues to gather momentum as they go from strength to strength.
Before kick off we were given a tour of the recently opened 'Building Products Solutions Building' by our extremely lovely guide Penny Wall. The new dressing rooms (all six of them) are massive and incorporate physio and first aid facilities along spacious shower rooms. The new facilities mark a massive leap in the right direction for Frickley Athletic, compared to the olde world rooms they used to use beneath the main stand. 
Besides the luxury surroundings for players and an impressive reception area, the club secretary Ruth Simpson also has her own well appointed and heated office, which is a million miles away from the confined space where match-day operations used to be run from; well it's more like a hundred yards diagonally across the pitch, but you get my drift. 
And the jewel in the crown is a large function suite, that can be hired out for formal occasions or be used as a place where local societies and groups can hold their get meetings. 
The suite incorporates catering amenities too, namely: the Keepmoat Kitchen. 
And you don't have to duck at regular intervals to avoid hitting your head on the girders that were part and parcel of strolling through the passageway beneath the stand. What's not to like!? 
Potentially the buildings are a great source of income for the football club. I was even tempted to sign up for the 'Booty Camp' fitness sessions that are held there myself, but only in a spectator capacity.
As of Boxing Day this year, when Stocksbridge Park Steels are the visitors, Frickley Athletic will be incorporating match sponsorship for home games and fully utilising their new rooms, for further details click HERE
Of course, the very welcoming Big fellas Social Club is still open within the ground itself and doing a roaring trade, where 'mein host' the equally lovely Neil, awaits your custom with a charming smile and pleasant demeanour... and of course, the pie, peas, chips (and mint sauce) from the kiosk at the home of the 'Blues', is the food of the Gods.
Frickley have won the Sheffield & Hallamshire Cup a (joint) record fourteen times (along with Sheffield Wednesday).
The first occasion was during the 1927-28 season, when they beat Ardsley Athletic 3-1 at Hampden Road. For purposes of clarification, that isn't the home of the Scottish national team, but a slightly more modest ground in Mexborough, that has been the home ground for several South Yorkshire teams over the years and is currently used by Swinton Athletic. Frickley lost last years final at Bramall Lane against Shaw Lane.
Athersley have won the competition once, when they beat Frickley 1-0 in the 2013-14 cup final, at Hillsborough in front of a crowd of 607, on a night that it must be said, both teams got exactly what they deserved silverware wise, i.e the 'Penquins' were impressive while the 'Blues'... err, weren't.
Tonight's hosts currently occupy a top six spot in the Evo-Stik North Premier League (South) table, while the Rec' are seventeenth in the next division down from Frickley, the Northern Counries East Laegue (Premier Division), but comfortably clear, points wise, of the clubs who are facing a relegation battle.
As the teams emerged from the space age tech dressing rooms and entered the field of play, with Frickley in their traditional royal blue and white and Athersley sporting their change strip, I overheard somebody saying: "I thought that penguins were supposed to be black and white, not orange!" Hmm... that just goes to show what you know then, doesn't it!?
Not as big as they used to be, but eight for a quid in Asda
As regards this seasons S&HFA Senior Cup, both sides got a bye in the first round, and in the second Frickley won 4-0 at Sheffield FC and Athersley travelled to Dinnington Town, where they triumphed 3-0.
The visitors gave a good account of themselves tonight, with a lot of their play passing through their captain Ryan White, as is the Athersley tradition, but I don't think that the final outcome was ever in any doubt.
The hosts had the first chance of the night, when Nicky Darker's right wing delivery produced an impressively lengthy bout of head tennis in the 'Penguins' area, but just as the umpire was about to declare a tie-break, the ball broke loose to Lewis Szanto on the edge of the area, but he shot straight at Jordan Greaves, the Athersley keeper.
Dane Hodgson broke into the 'Blues' penalty area, but Teddy Bloor kept tight on him and forced the Athersley number eight wide and forced him to shoot from too tight an angle to get the ball on target.
The 'Penquins' midfield lynch pin (R) White, threaded a long pass into the path of James Eyles, but Seb Malkowski had read the situation and advanced quickly from his line to claim the ball.
Adam White drilled the ball on target from outside the 'Blues' area, but the 'Pole in the goal' was down quickly to his right to turn the ball round the upright.
Both sides were looking to break the deadlock in what was an open start to the game, but Frickley took the lead in the twenty sixth minute, when Jocob Hazel delivered a great diagonal knock over the visitors defence, that found it's way through to Bloor on the right hand side of the area, who delivered a slide rule pass across the face of the goal, to Danny Frost whose first touch with his right foot was blocked, but his second with his left bulged the net.
This is, of course, the same Teddy Bloor (above left) who played for the Mansfield Town U18 side for the last two seasons, who won back to back league titles.
It's great to hear so many people at the 'Wezziecana' praising his input this season to the Frickley cause, where he is on loan from the Stags until the end of the current season. 
Hazel was chasing the record of having scored in eleven consecutive games for Frickley, but found himself denied twice in quick succession when Greaves smothered his ball across the face of goal from out on the left and then tipped his thumping effort from eighteen yards over the bar.
On thirty eight minutes, the 'Blues' doubled their lead when Jack Burton's left wing corner picked out Hazel on the edge of the box and he rifled it past Greaves, via the slightest of deflections off of Frost's head. Following much deliberation, the goal was awarded to Hazel and as such, the official club line must be adhered too. Personally, I've no doubt that Hazel's strike was destined for the back of the net anyway, with or without glancing off of Frost's head. Either way, it was a Frickley goal and subsequently they upped the ante towards the end of the first half and a good exchange of passes between Richard Patterson and Fabian Bailey down the left flank, saw the latter pick out Frost with a cross, but his close range downward header was well saved.
HT: Athletic 2 v Recreation 0
Keith has been sat there since he joined Frickley Athletic from
Grimethorpe in 1926 and nobody has ever seen him move yet.
After the break, the Penguins tried to p-p-p-p-pick up the pace, but Spencer Fearn's side were frustrating their Barnsley based visitors and moving the ball around well... inviting Athersley on but keeping possession well and waiting patiently for another opportunity to break forward and finish the game off. Frost peppered a string of balls into the Athersley area, but both Hazel and Szanto were being crowded out.
Tom Dugdale and Gavin Allott were both introduced from the bench for the 'Blues' and made a big impact on the full time result. Allott's first touch saw him sprint forward after receiving a well weighted fifty yard pass from Bloor along the right flank, but Cameron Clark hooked his cross away before it could reach Dugdale.
But it was the prolific and in form striker Hazel who delivered the 'Blues' third goal, with a flash of individual brilliance, when he picked up the ball in D on the edge of the area, motored forward to the right and planted a left foot shot across the face of the Athersley goal and into the bottom left hand corner of the net. It's no wonder this guy has a flag of his own dedicated to him.
Dugdale was in a rampant mood, wanting to put the game out of Athersley's reach once and for all, he smashed an angled shot from twelve yards against the right hand post and was denied by a worldly of a save from Greaves when the rebound fell back into his path.
Hazel tried putting Allott through on goal, but the visitors cleared the ball away and moments later, Dugdale crossed from the right but Allott directed his powerful header over the bar.
Frickley's fourth goal was a real team effort; Bloor won the ball out on the right and rolled it to Hazel on his left before sprinting forwaed in support of his attack, Hazel nudged it forward to Darker who released Allott with a sublime knock through the right channel that caught Athersley flat footed, Allott played the ball across the area, Bloor unselfishly left it and Dugdale spanked a shot into the visitors net from ten yards. End to end football par excellence.
With five minutes remaining, Athersley showed that they had a trick or two in their arsenal as well, when a deft back heel on the edge of the Frickley area by Eyles, freed Simon Poole through the left channel and he sprinted forward, waited for Malkowski to commit himself and then planted the ball through the advancing keeper's legs.
In the final minute Allott added a fifth to Frickley's total, when he picked up the ball from a flick on just inside the Athersley half and slalomed his way through several challenges, advanced on Greaves from the left hand side of the area and picked his spot with an emphatic finish.
FT: Frickley Athletic 5 v Athersley Recreation 1
The South Elmsall public can be an unforgiving crowd when the need arises, but they were generous in their praise and applause for both sides tonight, as they celebrated reaching the next round of the County Cup.
It's back to league action for both teams on Saturday, with Frickley heading down the A1 to take on Peterborough Sports, while Athersley welcome in form Bottesford Town to Sheerien Park.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Mansfield Town 3 v Guiseley AFC 0 - FA Cup 2nd Round

Sunday 3rd December 2017
FA Cup Second Round
at the One Call Stadium/Field Mill
Mansfield Town (1) 3
Jimmy Spencer 31, 52, 65 pen
Guiseley AFC (0) 0
Admission £12. Programme £1.50
Attendance 4,081 (inc. 675 away)
Mansfield Town
Conrad Logan, Hayden White, Rhys Bennett, Zander Diamond (C), Johnny Hunt, Alex MacDonald (Calum Butcher 74), Wilf Atkinson,  Paul Anderson (Alfie Potter 69), CJ Hamilton, Jimmy Spencer (Omari Sterling-James 88), Danny Rose
Unused subs - Bobby Olejnik (GK), Paul Digby, Krystian Pearce, Jacob Mellis
Guiseley AFC
Jonathan Maxted, Connor Brown, Ashley Palmer (C), Jake Lawlor, Lee Molyneux (Alex Purver 55), Kayode Odejayi (Danny Lowe 43), Simon Lenighan, Mike Fondop-Talom, Chris M'Boungou, Darren Holden, Liam Hughes (Kevan Hurst HT)
Unused subs - Joe Green (GK), Raul Correia, Callum McFadzean, Andy Haworth
An eternal optimist among the Guiseley press corp
Guiseley AFC, who currently occupy twenty third place in the twenty four team Conference Premier/National League (or 'Division 5' as some people have nicknamed it), saw off Shildon of the Northern League by six goals to nil in their first FA Cup game of the season (Fourth Qualifying Round), then beat EFL League 2 side Accrington Stanley (who are four places and five points above today's hosts Mansfield Town), 4-3 on penalties at the Crown Ground, AKA Wham Stadium, after their first round replay had finished one all.
The initial game against Accrington finished goalless at Nethermoor Park.
In their first round game, the Stags had comfortably beaten Shaw Lane AFC three - one at Sheerien Park, Athersley, with one of their goals (the third), scored by Danny Rose, picking up the accolade of winning the 'goal of the round'... and rightly so.
Formed in 1909, today marked Guiseley's first ever appearance in the second round of the FA Cup, though they have been as far as the first before, on more than one occasion.
At the end of the 1990-91 season, the West Yorkshire club reached the FA Vase final at Wembley, where they drew 4-4 against Gresley Rovers, before winning the replay 3-1 at Bramall Lane. In the same year that they won promotion from the NCEL to the Northern Premier League. Two season's later they reached Wembley again in the same competition 1992–93, but lost 5-3 against Wimborne Town, while also reaching the first round of the FA Cup, where they lost to Chester City who were still a Football League club at the time. Subsequently 'the Lions' have climbed up through the non league ranks to reach their current standing, just one division below today's opposition. Though at times this afternoon, that gulf in class appeared to be far bigger.
An added point interest to this afternoon's main event, was that Guiseley's management team: Paul Cox and Adam Murray have both recently managed Mansfield Town. In fact Murray was Cox's deputy for a while... and when Cox moved on from his post, Murray was his replacement.
When the Stags won promotion back into the Football League at the end of the 2012-13 season, after a five year (over)stay in the aforementioned 'Division 5', it was Cox who guided them to the Conference Championship and Adam Murray, as club captain, who raised the Trophy aloft on the Field Mill pitch, after a final day of the season win against Wrexham at Field Mill had confirmed the Stags return to League Two. I hope you've all been paying attention thus far, because there's a 'no prizes, just for fun' quiz at the end of this blog report.
When Steve Evans had said that places were up for grabs in this FA Cup tie for players who impressed in Tuesday night's ill fated friendly at Clipstone, I had fully anticipated seeing Calum Butcher, Paul Digby and Alfie Potter all lining up from the off this afternoon, as well as Jimmy Spencer, given their collective midweek efforts in a forty five minute pummeling of their neighbouring non league side.
But, I should know by now never to second guess the Stags manager, especially when it comes to team selection... and subsequently, when the team sheet's came off the press, three of the aforementioned 'contenders' were on the bench, while Spencer, who prior to today had never scored in the FA Cup before, nor had he found the net in any of his previous sixteen outings in Mansfield colours since Evans signed him for the club, was starting as the home side's main striker.
Hmm, let's have a look at the old scoreboard... and didn't they (Evans and Spencerdo well!?
By the time that Spencer was replaced by Omari Sterling-James in the 88th minute, just moments before the announcement was made that he was today's match sponsors choice as man of the match, he had scored all three of the goals that had secured Mansfield's safe passage into tomorrow night's third round draw and wholly justified his selection.
Today's win, meant that Evan's side ticked off an eleventh unbeaten game in a row while avoiding a potential banana skin against an overly physical Guiseley side, who could have no qualms whatsoever about being reduced to nine men, as they left the match referee Carl Boyeson with no alternative but to issue two red cards, with Darren Holden getting his marching orders on 40 minutes for a dangerous two footed lunge on Spencer, and Chris M'Boungou received a second booking early in the second for tripping CJ Hamilton, though he had been walking the tightrope for a while with a string of poor challenges after his initial booking, and had already incensed the home crowd with an unpunished strong-arm late challenge on Spencer.
Jimmy Spencer completes his hat trick
Football is  a results based game and though it is (really) tough on some of the first teamers and youngsters who are understandably feeling left out in the cold at the moment, Steve Evans and Paul Raynor are paid well to win games, any which way, and the frustrated players who are chomping at the bit to be involved, will be well aware that the horses for courses selection policy is pushing the Stags up the league and keeping them firing on all cylinders in cup competitions too.
Truth be told, if it wasn't for a great performance by the visitors keeper Jon Maxted, the hero of their penalty shoot out win against Accrington, Cox's team would've been dead and buried by half time, such was the nature of this virtually one sided game, and much as the noisy 675 Guiseley supporters sang: "Three-nil to the referee!", the Conference side only had themselves to blame for their numerical disadvantage, for adopting such an overly robust approach.
Guiseley AFC's wrong 'uns watching
the 2nd half from on the naughty step
'Physical' is one word you could use for it. However; implementing spoiling tactics by way of employing attempted bullying, brawn and intimidation, is probably a more accurate description. But to their immense credit, the Stags refused to let all of the rough house stuff knock them out of their stride. And to be fair to the referee, he wasn't about to let anyone bugger him about either.
Maybe if Guiseley had played to their strengths, instead of trying to stop the Stags playing to theirs, then they might have fared better.
Remember, this isn't a plumber, a butcher, a window cleaner, a baker and a bloody candlestick maker type of club. Guiseley have full time players... and I personally expected them to be much better than they ever gave even the slightest indication of aspiring to be this afternoon.
I genuinely like Paul Cox and Adam Murray and love what they did for Mansfield Town in the not so distant past, but I was very disappointed with and unimpressed by: the way that their current team played today. I was expecting them to be much better to be honest.
The match stats reflect the story of the afternoon fairly accurately, inasmuch as Mansfield had twenty four attempts on goal, while Guiseley mustered just four. But the home side committed three fouls all afternoon in comparison to the visitors eighteen.
Of course those figures don't include the Stags second minute penalty appeal, when M'Boungou clattered into Danny Rose as he burst forward into the left hand side of the area at speed. Hmm... "Three-nil to the referee!" indeed.
A combination of Maxted and the woodwork was keeping Mansfield at bay as they forced the Lions to play on the back foot time and time again, although Kayode Odejayi had the first chance of the game for the visitors during the opening exchanges, when he shot tamely at Conrad Logan... and five minutes later Lee Molyneux drilled the ball over the bar and into the unoccupied Quarry Lane End, which wasn't open for today's game. Which begs the question: why didn't Guiseley maintain their early threat, instead of resorting to the kind of tactics they employed from then on in?
They were evidently adept at absorbing pressure, but opted not to threaten on the counter attack, even once the Stags had taken a deserved lead in the 31st minute, when Anderson pushed forward on the right and delivered across at the perfect height for Spencer to glance a header pass Maxted.
It looked almost inevitable that the home side would rack up a few more goals now, but a combination of some dogged defending, a string of crude challenges around the fringes of the visitors last third and Maxted's agility, saw the two sides go in at half time with just a solitary goal separating them, though of course by now, the visitors were down to ten men following Holden's 'studs up' episode shortly before half time.
Seven minutes after the restart, with Guiseley down to nine men after M'Boungou's accumulated total of fouls had finally gone against him, CJ Hamilton, who put in a great shift today, broke free in the Guiseley area and cut the ball back from the left hand side of the goal to Spencer, who doubled Mansfield's lead as he drove the ball into the roof of Maxted's net from eight yards out.
And it was Spencer who sealed the Stags lead from the penalty spot, after he'd been upended in front of the visitors goal by their captain Ash Palmer while controlling Johnny Hunt's sideways pass across the six yard box.
Calum Butcher's introduction from the bench with fifteen minutes remaining almost led to a fourth Stags goal, but as Rose released the Stags substitute through the right channel, he powered a well struck shot narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area as he advanced on Maxted.
CJ Hamilton whose input to the game deserved a goal went close twice as the clock ticked down and Omari Sterling-James almost scored with his first touch from Alfie Potter's cross, but saw his effort deflected wide of the upright.
In the end, Mansfield had put in a professional performance against their West Yorkshire visitors and their superiority had seen them comfortably over the finishing line, while Guiseley's physical approach backfired on them today.
FT: Mansfield Town 3 v Guiseley AFC 0
Footnote (Added Monday 4/12/17 at 7:22PM): Mansfield Town have been drawn away against Cardiff City in the third round of the FA Cup.