OPINION: Derby demolition shows Mansfield Town have progressed well

Mansfield Town v Notts County.
Matt Green celebrates his first half goal for the Stags.
Mansfield Town v Notts County. Matt Green celebrates his first half goal for the Stags.

There’s something different about Derby Day… no, not the few thousand extra on the crowd, although that’s always nice, nor the few extra crunching challenges which fly in.

It’s that feeling of getting one over your rivals – a bit like in secondary school when the lad that always shows off in front of girls is trying some fancy step-overs during the lunchtime kick about, and then you two foot him and send him tumbling down the muddy hill – just me on that one then!

In all seriousness, to win a Derby game is a wonderful feeling, but to slaughter them 5-0 is on another level. Well done to Muzzas Mansfield.

It’s been a strange season, one in which frustration has cropped up with a section of supporters bemoaning a lack of progression. I just want to echo something from last week’s column here and add in Saturday’s events to gain more perspective.

Matt Green scored twice Saturday against Notts County, three years prior it was THAT goal against Hereford. THAT goal which all but took us into the football league, THAT goal which prevented second placed Kidderminster from doing the same without some mass-mathematical miracle, THAT Goal which made us proud again.

Matt Green scored twice Saturday, two of the five goals which slaughtered rivals Notts County infront of over 6,000 fans in the football league as a stable, tight and together club who are on the brink of going somewhere.

Meanwhile Kidderminster Harriers, who came so close to being where we are now, were relegated from the conference – broken, in a mess.

Who would you rather be?

It was a brilliant display by the lads in tough conditions which almost played in County’s hands towards the end of the first half – credit to the defensive mentality of Murray’s players to not allow the visitors their way back into the game.

One man who impressed me was Matty Blair. His Stags career has always been abit sketchy really, having arrived with many remembering his goal against Paul Cox’s Mansfield in the play-offs, he was just starting to shine before injury put him out of action.

A similar story happened again and he’s found it tough to say “this is what I can do”.

Saturday he covered a terrific amount of ground and read play expertly well, which showed in Reggie Lambe and Mitch Roses’ goals.

Players with that attitude and approach to the game will take us far.

A trip to Exeter follows Tuesday evening, we must ensure that we don’t come crashing back to earth with a bang like we did after the fixture at Meadow Lane. I don’t think there will be a mass overhaul in the summer, there needn’t be either, Murray is playing (what for me is) a sensible game of learning and building whilst progressing – I think Mr Radford will support that and I’d expect to see a play-off push to happen next term with backing. One or two players who have become surplus to requirements may well move on, which happens, but the core will remain and be ahead of rivals in terms of reading each other’s games, knowing strengths and weakness’.

One gripe I have this week (not a slagging off etc) is – on the way out of the ground Saturday, someone was lobbing loads of verbal abuse at Murray for not applauding the fans straight away! He opted to join the entire squad in a huddle to take in the moment and share, what has been no-doubt, weeks of frustration and hard work paying off. I find the comments strange, the one thing that will gain further success is those players – as a manager, the one thing you do is congratulate those and make them feel appreciated.

Appreciated players/ people, will ALWAYS give more in the long run. Thanking fans (after by the way was just a 30 second huddle) can come afterwards and in the various post-match interviews.

Mathematically, the “dream” could still be on. Chase it? No, build and go one better next year. Progress.