The Green Light with FGR fan John Light
4:31pm Tuesday 19th March 2013 in Sport
IT was Red Nose Day and in charitable spirit Rovers gifted Mansfield two goals.
Playing the better football in the second half they could only pull one goal back.
At the match we were entertained by the Rock Choir. It would have been appropriate if they had sung 'Don't Be Cruel'.
Swindon and Cheltenham are still in with a real shout of the play-offs and therefore a lifeline for promotion. It now seems too late for FGR.
If the unlikely happens and Rovers are successful I shall invoke the words of that sombre sage Leonard Cohen and "ring all the bells that still can ring".
Playing with all the confidence their lofty league position gave them Mansfield were never going to lose after such Rovers generosity.
Rovers were two goals behind. They could have collapsed. From then on I thought they were the better side. Rovers passed the ball better, had more possession and had chances to win the game. Goal scorer James Norwood also hit the bar with a cracking shot and Wes Burns showed he could go past defenders using both skill and pace. He looked a most exciting talent.
An easy far-post chance was missed and it was our season long problem of no cutting edge that let us down. Poor use of dead ball situations did not help. Since the Kenilworth Road combination of Klukowski and Taylor free-kicks and corners have scarcely threatened.
The players left the field deflated and drained. They had given everything in a cause they never accepted was lost. Two deserve special mention – Norwood and Green. Nors does not get everything right but he is always determined and dangerous. Never giving up he was always a threat.
Paul Green is a tremendous competitor. After the first Mansfield goal did not he and Bangura change positions?
Perhaps they had started the game with Al playing a deep role and Paul playing further forward, but I do not think so. The more advanced position gave Greener the chance to support his forwards and our only goal sprang from his absolute determination. He would be one of my first names on the team sheet.
Overall I was not displeased by the performance. The main stand crowd reacted well to youthful encouragement and were properly acknowledged by the manager at the final whistle.
There is one general point that needs to be made. Mansfield were bigger and stronger. They created little going forward, but all across the field they showed they could bustle us out of it. It was the same with Wrexham and Grimsby.
It was like Arsenal playing Stoke City. Yet again visiting supporters and media were full of praise for all around them, especially the playing surface, which considering the rain, was magnificent.
All that was needed was one player capable of scoring goals. Nors cannot do it all on his own. I saw one in the Carol Embrey Suite after the match – an affable young man with a proven scoring record. The trouble was he was on crutches. Of all the injuries the one to Reece has handicapped us most.