Dirty Dons, dreadful Darren and sparkling Stags!


After sitting and suffering the dire, depressing spectacle that was Mansfield versus Dagenham last Saturday, how good was Tuesday night?

Just when we were all losing faith in going to Field Mill, Billy’s boys gave us a timely reminder of just why we go to football.

The Dons game was an absolutely brilliant night, spoiled only by the two late goals for the visitors and the excruciatingly bad refereeing display by a certain Darren Drysdale.

Stags did not deserve to lose it. And they didn’t deserve to be on the wrong end of so many decisions from Mr Drysdale.

Billy Dearden has been around in the game as long as the Pyramids, so for him to say it was the worst refereeing display he has ever seen is telling.

Players look back on a game and hold their hands up and admit they had a stinker.

Surely Mr Drysdale is not sitting there today thinking he did a good job last night?

Dons were a big, powerful, physical outfit and Mr Drysdale simply allowed them to beat the Stags up.

Some of the challenges were blatant fouls but play was waved on. Once they realised they could get away with most things, the Dons simply continued as would most sides in that position.

One challenge on Micky Boulding from behind where he was literally mugged was unbelievably not deemed a foul.

With two arms round him and a tackle from the back, the defender was still allowed to come away with the ball.

It was just a wonder the Dons man wasn’t wearing a hoody and boasting an ASBO.

The penalty decision was even worse. Boulding was clearly fouled in the box, the ball ran to Matty Hamshaw whose shot was blocked and play was waved on as Boulding stumbled under the foul but did not go down.

Mr Drysdale said he didn’t give the penalty as Boulding did not go down.

What does that say to us then? If a player is elbowed in the face or kicked late in the box, what is the difference? Surely both are penalties?

So is that saying you could punch a player in the face in the box but you would need to actually fall to the ground to be awarded the kick?

Mr Drysdale later had the crowd screaming in disbelief when he failed to send off Danny Swailes after a late dust-up between the sides.

Initially Swailes, who had been putting it about all night, clattered Boulding.

It was a bookable tackle from behind and sparked the proverbial ‘mass handbags’ between the sides as emotions overspilled.

But in the midst of that Swailes clearly pushed, two-handed, an opponent onto his backside. Surely that is a second yellow offence? Or can you now do what you like while you wait for the referee to get the yellow card out of his pocket?

Admittedly Swailes was provoked by the angry inrushing players and Dons boss Paul Ince felt the Stags were trying to get his man sent off.

But, if that was the case, the Dons man was guilty of being unprofessional and rising to the bait. What happened to Cristiano Ronaldo at Portsmouth earlier this season when he was goaded?

Stags say they will complain about Mr Drysdale’s display. But that will not change the result which has now left them rock bottom three points from safety.

What they must now do is build on that. Once again the Stags fans saw just what this side is capable of which makes the lacklustre displays of recent weeks ever harder to swallow.

The rough stuff actually helped to get the crowd going which helped get the players going.

But the patched-up Stags side did play with much more passion and spirit and players like Dan Martin, Lee Bell and Sean McAllister all had their best games for the club.

Now we know what they can do, let’s see them reproduce that at Rotherham this Saturday.

If the players are available, let’s go for the same 4-3-3 and go for it. To hell with caution away from home!

The Millers have not had the brightest of starts themselves and to have that Stags line-up go at them at that tempo from last night would give them an uncomfortable afternoon on Saturday.

If James Derry is right, we are only a couple of weeks away from the end of the Keith Haslam era. We do not want to be adrift by the time it happens.

These are critical weeks in the club’s history.

Supporters who are saying let’s get rid of Keith Haslam by going down and we will come back stronger are talking garbage.

If this club goes down in the state it is right now, what makes you think it would come back up?

It is not easy anymore. Ask York. Ask Oxford. Ask Kidderminster.

I have every respect for the opinions of those who have stayed away from home games to make a point and do not want to put money into Mr Haslam’s pocket.

But for all those who truly care about Mansfield Town Football Club, the most important thing right now is ensuring they stay in League football, whatever it takes.

Over to you Mr Derry.


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