Excited Marriott still smarting over decision

Alan MarriottAlan Marriott
Alan Marriott
Stags keeper Alan Marriott is still smarting from the decision that saw the referee and his assistant decide Marriott had caught the ball over his own goal line in last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Southend.

But the experienced stopper is excited over the thought of the club starting out on another FA Cup run at St Albans tomorrow, a competition that saw the Stags just pipped by Liverpool in last year’s third round.

“That second goal at Southend was very controversial and, for the linesman to give it, I was very disappointed,” he said.

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“My feet were over my line but I was leaning forward and I don’t think there was any doubt about it going over the line, so I was gobsmacked.

“We had stood up to a lot of pressure and, when the teams were back at 10 on 10 after their red card we thought we had a bit of a sniff.

“But a decision like that knocked us and left heads and jaws on the floor, thinking the game was over now.

“I could have come forward and taken the ball higher but I might have fumbled it.

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“That’s football and you have to take the rough with the smooth at times.

“We didn’t play well as a team and I had quite a bit to do throughout the game. We need to get back to clean sheets, which we had a good run of earlier this season.”

For Marriott and his team mates, excitement is now building for the first round tie against minnows St Albans City at the compact Clarence Park stadium tomorrow.

“I spent the early rounds injured last year and came back in for the replay against Lincoln,” he said.

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“But there is something magical about the Cup. You know if you can get through a couple of rounds you could be playing your boyhood teams and playing at fantastic venues. We had a taste of that last season and it makes you want more of it.

“We have a lot of new lads here who want to taste that as well.

“We won’t underestimate them (St Albans) on the day. Anyone can beat anyone and we are at their stadium which is a bit more of a leveller.

“For them, playing against someone like Mansfield, who were the best team in non-League football last season, is a benchmark. They will get a bigger crowd than usual and that will lift them.

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“To earn a replay would not be a negative thing. We would have done our job and got them back here for us to beat them.”

After beginning the season in impressive fashion, Stags have stuttered of late, failing to win any of their last seven games or score in the last 428 minutes.

But Marriott said: “There is a lot of effort gone into all our games. I watched the Plymouth game as I was injured and I thought it was one of our better performances. It’s just having that killer edge.

“We have had a lot of chopping and changing, especially at the back where we’d been a consistent unit for a few games.

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“We need to keep going, keep believing and everyone stick with us. As a Conference side just promoted I think we have exceeded expectations to a certain degree, though I know the chairman wants us to get out of this league.”

Marriott said he has now fully recovered from the back spasm that kept him out of the Plymouth home game two weeks ago.

“I think it’s just old age,” he smiled. “ I just woke up and couldn’t move. I got the kids to try jumping on my back to sort it out.

“I wouldn’t have been fair on myself or my team mates to go out there 70 per cent right. I made the right decision and I though Liam Mitchell did very well in my place.”