It’s a massive game at the Little Club with the Big Heart tomorrow afternoon when fifth-placed Maltby Main welcome League Leaders AFC Mansfield to South Yorkshire for a colossal Toolstation NCEL Premier Division clash-and Miners Manager Scott Mason feels that his side should be closer, in the points column, to The Bulls than they are, writes an exhausted Colin Muncie, in his THOUSANDTH article for the Bootiful Game, no less.
Scott told the Bootiful Game “Tomorrow we have the league leaders coming to Maltby. Having watched Mansfield a few times this season I’m not surprised at all to see them at the top; they are a much organised team, they play well as a team and they have the League’s leading goal scorer. So –yes- we shall be up against a quality side. But if I’m honest, we might be a good few points behind them but we have a squad that really should be pushing them closer. The difference is that we just haven’t taken our chances in tight games and its cost us –that’s why we are so behind far them. Mansfield have punished and killed teams off-and we haven’t”
The clubs drew 1-1 at the Forest Town Stadium in early October, but Scott is hoping that the visitors’ home defeat to Liversedge will have a psychological impact “We played well at Mansfield and came away with a good point, so I expect them to come with confidence but also come with last week’s home defeat in mind. We shall set up as normal and go into the game like we always do -trying to get that result we want.
We have goals and targets we want to achieve this season still, Scott insisted. We have a Semi Final date booked in against Penistone later next month in the Sheffield Cup a game both sides will fancy winning ,I’m sure.
“We have all the top sides still to visit Maltby; so our season is still alive and well and we want our lads to realise this- and meet the challenges ahead”
Mansfield Assistant Mark Ward knows that it’ll be a crucial and difficult afternoon for his players. He told us “No matter what league position you’re in or what form you’re in, I couldn’t think of a tougher game than an away trip to Maltby Main. You have to go Muglet Lane and physically prize 3 points away from them. Over the last few seasons involved in the NCEL Premier Division I’ve known then turn over teams like Tadcaster and Cleethorpes- both former League winners- and that’s when they were a mid to bottom of table side”.
Mark is generous in his praise of the job his opposite numbers are doing, and is keen to make a virtue of that home loss last weekend. “Scott Mason and his team have done a great job at Maltby. They have kept the hard working philosophy and now added quality to make them a surprise package this season and real contenders moving forward. Their record against the current top five or six teams this season is very good ,so we really need to be at our best to get anything out of the game “.
“Liversedge did us a massive favour last week and remind us that if we drop our standards we’ll get our just desserts (sic), Mark admitted. “The lads have trained really well this week and are ready and raring to go; so I’m looking forward to what should be one hell of a battle -and a great game”.