Radcliffe Go Down 3-2 Again Against Mansfield Town Academy
A very tough game against an incredibly well drilled side gives Radcliffe their second 3-2 result in 7 days
First away game of the season saw Radcliffe pitched against Mansfield Town who are new to the NYL, having been allowed to put their Academy teams into the league a year up this season.
The 3G surface was definitely something that suited their passing and possession style of football and the start of the first half showed just how well drilled they were.
Radcliffe struggled to get near the ball at times, chasing shadows a little, and with only one substitute this could prove to be critical later in the game.
The back line was being tested quite often but Mansfield weren’t too clinical and Will Halstead marshalled things well. Radcliffe were sloppy in possession though and with so little of the ball we couldn’t afford to keep giving it back.
Having said that, Ollie Petchell could easily have had a penalty when he was scythed down after knocking the ball forward on the edges of the area but the referee was unsighted and decided he couldn’t give it.
It was only a matter of time though and Mansfield finished a lovely passing move with a ball over the top for their number 9 who took it round Harvey Woodward and tucked in from the tight angle with Ethan Fallon despairingly trying to clear off the line. 1-0 (29).
Almost from the kick off though, Radcliffe finally got some luck from a good cross when Morgan Roberts was clearly impeded in the area and this time the referee had a good view and pointed to the spot.
Fin Jackson made no mistake, tucking the resultant penalty into the bottom corner for 1-1 (30).
The Mansfield players were still finding their men much better though and a ball wide to the right flank was beautifully delivered across the box to be slammed home past Harvey Woodward who had no chance for 2-1 (38).
Half time saw us down 2-1 and chasing the game against a very accomplished team. The team talk was all about getting closer to the opposition and closing the space better when off the ball and then using the ball more wisely when we had it.
Radcliffe started the second half much brighter and seemed to have taken heed of the advice - getting much closer to Mansfield in play and starting their attacks much further up the pitch. George Arrowsmith was a threat down the channels and Ollie Petchell driving at their back line was causing more trouble.
Connor Bland had his best chance down the right with a lovely run that saw him cut in and absolutely power drive a shot that the keeper just managed to feather over the bar
A few shots from distance were all we could get away though and their keeper had them covered. In fact, the next goal was a little against the run of play but well worked by Mansfield for 3-1 (57).
Again through, Radcliffe kept at it and were rewarded not long later with a good run from Ollie Petchell and pass to Joshua Jones-Wilkinson who tee’d up George Arrowsmith who shifted well and struck low and hard past the keeper for 3-2 (62).
The remaining time was very much 50:50 in terms of threat, with Radcliffe moving to a back three and packing the midfield to start their attacks higher and negate the width of Mansfield.
Harvey Woodward pulled off an amazing save low to his right to keep Radcliffe in the game with ten minutes to go and almost with the last kick of the game, Joshua Jones Wilkinson ran into the box to meet a lovely cross only to see it drilled it agonisingly wide of the right upright.
The whistle ended the encounter and, for the second week in a row, Radcliffe had showed how competitive they can be but had no points to show for it.
With performances like this though surely it’s just a matter of time before we get our first points on the board.
My man of the match goes to Will Halstead for a rock solid performance in both the back four and the back three, showing some great decision making and using his pace really well to cover time and again.