Monday, 9 February 2009

Unity at Stags is encouraging for future

MANSFIELD Town are a club who have taken a hell of a lot of criticism over recent seasons.
During the Keith Haslam era, the Stags never seemed to be far from the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
And even though the new board have been in charge for just a matter of months, they have already had their problems, not least when the club were deducted four points for fielding ineligible players early in the season.
But for getting their game on against York City on Saturday, Mansfield deserve a fantastic amount of credit and praise.
Because, encouragingly, the 48 hours leading up to the match saw the club – supporters, board, stewards, administration staff, groundsman and others – unite as one.
When the pitch and stadium as a whole was covered with a five-inch blanket of snow on Thursday morning, it would have been easy for Mansfield to give up there and then and announced that the game would be called off.
It would have been a particular temptation to postpone the game given the fact so many other clubs had given up on their games a long time in advance.
But the Stags gave the match every chance to go ahead and were deservedly rewarded in the end.
Yes, the pitch was not ideal, yes all parts of the ground were not open and yes, some areas around the ground were still slippy.
Given that Friday’s overnight temperature went down to –5C, though, it was a miracle those involved made conditions even close to acceptable.
Of course, much of the recognition should go to the hardy Mansfield fans who came down to Field Mill at 8am in the morning to shift the snow.
Without their help, there would have been zero chance of play. They showed their passion for their team stretches far beyond turning up every week to sing the Stags’ praises or register their disapproval.
Having got the go ahead to play, there was still a job to be done by David Holdsworth and his side - and they obliged.
It may not have been particularly pretty, but the 1-0 win was enough to lift Mansfield into the top half of the table just a few weeks after the possibility of them dropping into the relegation zone.
Things at Field Mill finally look to be on the up.

Read your Histon-Mansfield preview in Tuesday's Evening Post.

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