John Lomas’Chad Stags Programme notes v AFC Wimbledon

John Lomas. Mansfield chad.
John Lomas. Mansfield chad.
  • JPT exit was price to pay for fitness
  • Farewell to York press box - maybe
  • Battle of the Beasts ahead today

Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit was a disappointment, but not entirely unexpected.

It is never a nice feeling to lose a local derby but I am sure every Notts County would gladly swap this week’s low key win over Adam Murray’s side for the three hotly-contested League Two points last month.

Murray has said all along that the League has to be his priority and, with having such a small squad and no reserve team, he is having to manage his pack very carefully.

Although a cup run and dreams of a Wembley final are all very well, Murray knew he had to take the opportunity to give some of his ring-rusty players an outing in case they are suddenly needed for the League games and are not up to speed.

So Murray made six changes and everyone at Meadow Lane could see why as the pace of the night caught up with them in a 3-1 defeat.

Murray admitted afterwards he will need to organise them more behind-closed-doors friendlies to keep them topped up.

But if any of those players are needed today, they will probably feel all the better for Tuesday’s burst of action.

I must admit I would have liked to have seen Matt Green play at Notts as Murray had said after the Oxford game that Green was short on full fitness and a fit Matt Green might have had a hat-trick that day.

At York last weekend he started to look like the Green of old and bagged his first two goals. So I thought maybe another outing at Notts and another goal or two and he may have been back at the heights of his powers for today.

In the end he would probably have got crocked after 15 minutes at Notts and missed today and that’s why my management skills are limited to Championship Manager!

After the spine-tingling excitement of the League clash, it was almost inevitable that Tuesday would never hit those heights. Around 2,000 Stags fans who made the short journey for the League game decided to give Tuesday a miss and the derby atmosphere never really caught alight, though my mouth did.

Pre-match at Meadow Lane I gave a try to something I usually avoid – Pukka Pies’ curry pie. I won’t be trying it again.

At the risk of sounding like Peter Kay – I love curry and I love Pukka Pies. But together? It will never catch on. Surely?

Post match at Meadow Lane we made what feels like the descent of Everest to get from the press box to pitch level to interview Murray near the tunnel, only for the stadium lights to be switched off two minutes into it and all of us left plunged in darkness.

That is when having a voice recorder on your mobile phone suddenly top trumps shorthand notes.

With my report and reaction on the Chad web site, wandering back to my car parked on a dark non-residential side street with a laptop on my back was the usual edgy experience.

It is late at night, it is dark and you are the only car visible when you get there and you half-expect to get jumped.

The game at Hillsborough last month was the worst with my car being the last in the middle of a pitch-black field next to an industrial estate with me wondering how I had got away with the gate on the field not being locked by this stage.

I missed the game at York on Saturday, though kept in touch via Chad’s excellent new Scribble feed (follow the link on www.chad.co.uk on Saturday).

The only good thing about missing the game was that, I believed, with York moving grounds next summer, it meant I would never have to sit in one of the League’s worst press boxes again.

York is set up perfectly for the ‘old days’ with double wooden seats attached to a central wooden fence (almost attached anyway) and a little wooden sloping shelf for a notepad with another piece of wood sheltering the shelf with a light on it.

This means you are unable to use a laptop on those shelves and end up begging seats among the York fans to try to type off your lap (always a problem for me with such short legs).

So imagine my delight on Tuesday when Martin Shaw informed me the York programme stated they would be there until the middle of next season at least and we may have to go to Bootham Crescent one more time.

Then again if Stags are promoted, it might not be an issue!

Today we welcome AFC Wimbledon (the real Dons, accept no imitations) to the One Call Stadium and I really hope to see Jamie McGuire selected and given the job of marking/annoying man-mountain striker Adebayo Akinfenwa once again.

Known as the world’s strongest footballer, at 5ft 11in, he weighs more than 16 stone and can bench-press 180kg, close to double his body weight.

Also, if Akinfenwa goes through one-on-one with the imposing Brian Jensen in the home goal we will actually have a ‘Beast’ on ‘Beast’ showdown with the two players sharing the same nickname.

It’s more like Twycross Zoo than a football stadium! If they collide you will feel the vibrations over a 50-mile radius.

Enjoy the game!