Away Days- Mansfield Town vs Yeovil Town

Mansfield v YeovilIt’s been too long since I did an Away Days with Yeovil. I am a northern Glover living in Lincoln, so I haven’t seen them play since late November, when they played Northampton. This was a much shorter trip, with the drive to Field Mill (I know it is technically the One Call Stadium, but I hate naming grounds after sponsors, so it’s Field Mill) only 45 minutes from Lincoln.

This was my first trip to Field Mill (I know, I called it Field Mill again), and I didn’t really expect much. Mansfield have averaged about just 3,000 fans each week, and just like Northampton, is missing one of its main stands. In the end there were just over 2,700 fans, 183 who came from Yeovil. Well, I say that, but I came from Lincoln so it’s not really 183 who came from Yeovil. The atmosphere created by the Mansfield fans was pretty poor, and these ridiculous clapper things they were given, which I don’t know their actual name, did very little to improve the amount of noise they made. The Yeovil fans created a much better atmosphere, and made the only noise coming from the stands. People always tell me there is no point in supporting Yeovil, and with this match, the first time I have seen the Glovers play for three months, I was reminded why I do.

The £10 ticket prices for under 18s and £18 for adults is a pretty good price for League 2, and a lot better than some of the other games I have been to. While I’m on this subject, I would like to say that the £42 on the day price for Bolton fans at Leeds was an absolute disgrace, and it’s no surprise that they aren’t a big club anymore. Bolton are at the bottom of the Championship, and Leeds aren’t exactly Barcelona. At the moment, Leeds, and Massimo Cellino in particular, are signifying everything that is wrong with modern football.

Anyway, back to Mansfield. As it was ridiculously cold on Saturday I got food before the match simply to help warm myself up. I would probably say that compared to other food I’ve had this season, the burger was a little bit sub-standard, and the roll it came in tasted a little bit old and dry. However at £3 it was better than most clubs, and they got the change wrong so I’m not complaining. It wasn’t the most glamorous of settings though. You were either sat in the stands at your seat or you were out in the open air, there was no in between.

The first half was pretty poor as a contest. There were very few chances created by either side, and even less noise made by the home fans. It was pretty much only a midfield battle in the first half, with the just the one shot on target, a long range effort well saved by Artur Krysiak in the Yeovil goal. Given how in my last Away Days for a Yeovil game I referred to Nathan Smith as one of the worst players I have ever seen. He played at centre back as opposed to left back to day and was probably one of the best players on the pitch, something that I think came to the surprise of everyone.

The second half saw a much more open game as it seemed that both sides went for the win. Mansfield were probably the better team, and Reggie Lamb wasted a host of opportunities. The closest he came though was probably his most difficult chance, with his curling effort from range brilliantly tipped onto the bar by Krysiak. I actually felt sorry for the Polish ‘keeper as the TV replays show it going straight onto the bar, but sat behind it, he clearly got fingertips on it to keep the shot out.

Unbelievably, Yeovil nicked it right at the death, just as Mansfield had at Huish Park earlier this season. It was a good piece of football to get Brandon Goodship in behind on the left, and he showed great composure to set up Ryan Dickson. I have to admit I had previously questioned what Dickson was doing so far forward from left back in the 91st minute when 0-0 would have been a pretty good result. It turned out he had actually gone forward to score the last minute winner, with only Town’s second shot on target in the entire game. This obviously led to wild celebrations in the away end, with chanting showing that Yeovil fans feel that they now have done enough to stay in League 2, something which is probably correct seeing as the Glovers are now nine points clear of relegation.

That was all I really have to say about the day, and I have to say that was probably the best Away Day I have been on all season. The ground itself and everything else that went with it probably wasn’t the best I have been to, but to finally see Yeovil win made it the best I have been to this season.

Rating out of 10: Great to get a last minute winner, even if the ground and atmosphere created by the fans wasn’t great. 7.5/10

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