CRAIG PRIEST STAGS BLOG: The pain of ‘smash and grab’

Adi Yussuf gets past Artur Krysiak but can't hit the target''Mansfield Town v Yeovil Town - Skybet League Two - One Call Stadium - Saturday 20 Feb 2016 - Photographer Steve Uttley
Adi Yussuf gets past Artur Krysiak but can't hit the target''Mansfield Town v Yeovil Town - Skybet League Two - One Call Stadium - Saturday 20 Feb 2016 - Photographer Steve Uttley

Football is often referred too as the beautiful game, yet just like everything else – the thing we cherish and see as this perfect picture has an ugly side.

It’s something we know that’s there but that we try to forget and hide from. Sadly, however, at 6.40am on Monday morning as I type this through the bitter, icy air on the bus to work, the ugly side of football hit us where it hurt on Saturday - and nobody really knows how to feel about it.

The so called ‘smash and grabs’ are brilliant if you are on the winning side – but for those on the receiving end, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

Credit where it’s due to Yeovil, they sat men behind the ball well and remained patient enough to take the opportunity when it came.

But for Mansfield Town’s players and staff, I can’t help but feel sorrow.

I’m surrounded this morning not just by an unbearable icy chill, but by the tittle-tattle of conversation - one of which happens to be about Saturday and involves the blame game being spilled out like ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ at a children’s birthday party.

It’s unfair and unjustified in my opinion. YES we should have killed the game off much earlier and YES we should have created more chances than what we did, but to say the play-off chase and our season is over because of Saturday’s result, is a stretch too far for me.

I made my feelings clear about our play-off aspirations weeks ago – but just because I felt that at the time we weren’t good enough for a top seven finish, doesn’t mean Murray and his players don’t have my 100 per cent backing.

Prior to Saturday, Murray called for the players to come out all guns blazing and to be fair we did that to start off with.

To use a cake analogy – we started with all the promise of making a Mary Berry Victoria sponge, packed full of mouth-watering flavours with thick layers of jam and cream – topped with a layer of melt in your mouth icing.

And then all of a sudden, the wind/hail/snow/burning sunshine kept changing direction, our recipe went wrong and we were on course to have a supermarket own brand cake instead.

A bit less in flavour, but it’d have gone down well with a dollop of custard and a cuppa.

Reggie Lambe drew a good save from the keeper, while Green, Clements and Collins all came close, and to be fair, with around five minutes or so to go, a point would have left us slightly disgruntled but happy enough.

Then, the footballing gods decided a twist in the tale was needed and out of nowhere, a lapse in concentration was had by all and in a whirlwind of Green and White (like a poorly coloured Roadrunner cartoon) Yeovil had scored, grabbed a winner and trotted off home with three more points than their performance warranted - a statement someone agreed when the Yeovil captain who allegedly apologised to Murray post-match!

As for our cake, well clearly someone switched the gas off!

Now we move on to other games and other situations – beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder.

So let’s ‘behold’ three points in every game (sorry, it’s cold and I’m on a bus wearing skinny tight jeans and being thrown all over the shop thanks to cold leather seats and a Hamilton wannabe at the wheel – poor puns are all I’ve got!) – let the beauty be of us climbing back up the table.

Hopefully this week’s column will not have left you wanting cake too much and you will have read it as a tongue-in-cheek reaction to the weekend’s disappointing and deflating result.

I rarely pay much attention when someone says negative things about my work (been there, done that – got the front page headline to prove it).

But one comment has niggled me of late, saying that the headings on my columns are always a dig at supporters who need to see things in a different perspective.

That’s never the case and seldom what I write about – and I don’t wrote the headlines folks!

Right, I’d better go – it’s now 7.05am and I’m about to cross enemy lines! Have a good week folks and hopefully next week, we can be enjoying a slice of Mary Berry’s Victoria sponge and not chomping on the sour taste of Aunt Maud’s sour fruit loaf!