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Mansfield Produce Too Little Too Late

Stamford 31 - 12 Mansfield

Last Updated: Oct 14, 2015 08:05pm
Oak Tree, Mansfield
By Andy Foster
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A constant hindrance for the Mansfield coaching staff continues to be not being able to field the same side two weeks running. So it was again that some of the blue & whites took to the field on an introduction only basis. Unfortunately it manifests itself in a lack of continuity and understanding particularly with regard to positional play and game management. 

 

Senior Coach Wayne Robinson was understandably disappointed with the result and said, “Our first up tackling just wasn’t good enough at times. Stamford took their chances well and deserved the win but we need to fully concentrate for the full 80 and not just the last quarter were we looked significantly better”.

 

One has to agree, being able to pass, catch and tackle are the three fundamentals of rugby and at times it appeared that the third one was being viewed as an option. It didn’t help either side that the game wasn’t allowed to flow. After only ten minutes there had been such a succession of penalties and free kicks most stopped counting. Both sides were awarded in equal measure but in truth it only served to stifle the game at the outset before either team could establish any real rhythm.

 

Having just missed what looked like a kickable penalty Stamford burst into life with a well taken try in the corner after eleven minutes. The following twenty minutes saw the game see saw a little with both teams enjoying enough possession and territory to make inroads. The visitors spurned the opportunity to go for goal on two occasions and then having opted for the kick with the third penalty awarded, it sailed agonisingly wide. 

 

During this period, the home team continued to do what they did well for most of the game, which was to secure their own ball at set piece time, compete at the breakdown when needed, step back from the breakdown when necessary and transfer the ball out to their strong running backs as soon as possible. 

 

As the half hour mark approached, Mansfield continued to apply a fair bit of pressure and having worked their way up field, putting themselves in a scoring position, they frustratingly conceded another penalty. This handed the advantage back to the home team and they were about to make full use of it.

 

Just two minutes later Russ Coleman was sent to the bin and within five minutes Stamford had made the extra man tell with another try in the corner. It wasn’t just the try that hurt it was the manner of its delivery. It was clinical and left Mansfield chasing down shadows as they ran out of defenders resulting in the home team really starting to assert their authority on the game. A further try on the stroke of half time did even more damage to moral with a poor defensive effort mostly to blame for that one. The half ended with Stamford looking good for their 17 nil lead.

 

The hosts came out strongly in the second half clearly intent on carrying on where they left off and crossed the line again with ten minutes played. By the end of the third quarter Stamford had extended their lead to 31 nil and looked justifiably confident in thought and deed. However, just when you thought the flood gates might open Mansfield decided to fight back and that score was to be Stamford’s last of the game.

 

With fifteen minutes to go the visitors started pressing hard and Stamford were now forced into defending rather than attacking. They also received a yellow card at this point which didn’t help their cause. A poor kick out of defence was gathered by Ollie Stanford who ran back beating several defenders before linking up with Bobby Ogunode who danced past two more. At the breakdown the forwards took over and drove the ball over the line with Andy Simms claiming the five pointer bringing the score to 31-5.

 

With one minute of allotted time left to play Mansfield’s Josh Hall was also despatched to the sin bin. Two minutes into injury time, following a further delayed put-in at the scrum, which this time resulted in a free kick for the blue and whites, they ran the ball back passing it through several pairs of hands for a score. This time Russ Coleman was the final recipient who was able to convert his own try to complete the scoring at 31-12. A further seven minutes of injury time ensued resulting in a 50 minute second half but Mansfield were unable to add any more points taking advantage of the territory and possession they had enjoyed for the final minutes of the game.

 

Mansfield host Nottingham Casuals for the second time this season at the weekend. This time is in the NLD Shield competition. Kick-off is 2:30pm. You can follow the action on Twitter, just go to @MansfieldRugby.

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