it or not there is a dearth of decent
aways in the Premier League nowadays,
regular visits to clone-grounds such
Britannia just don't cut it anymore.
And so there a whole bunch of
supporters who pine for an away draw
in the Cup, and the lower league the
opposition the better. And given that
this was only our third ever game
against Mansfield, and my first, then
this was undoubtedly a "must see"
The journey to Mansfield from
Merseyside was pretty straightforward,
we avoided the "short" route through
the Peak District and just went M62,
M1, completing the journey comfortably
in under two
Being seasoned drinkers we always like
to stay overnight and sample the
hospitality that the various towns and
cities have to offer. We booked rooms
at the Mansfield Travelodge the night
the draw was made, we paid £27 per
room which we thought was reasonable,
but if we'd waited until the week of
the fixture we could have had the
rooms for £19 each! The Travelodge is
a mile or two out of town but a local
Private Hire taxi into town would only
cost about a fiver, during the day
time. A Hackney Black Cab back to the
hotel at 2am cost about £9.
The Saturday night in Mansfield town
centre was great, some cracking little
pubs notably The Oak, The Market Inn,
The Swan and the Bowl In Hand was a
nice little starting place, especially
with it's pool table. If you're
younger and are after something a bit
more lively than you too won't be
disappointed as there are plenty of
those types of places. As for match
day drinking AVOID the Byron unless
you like pubs that are rammed full.
Just walk the extra 100 yards to the
Swan. Getting to the ground is a 10
minute walk from here, or a 15 minute
stroll if you prefer.
On match day I was initially tempted
to park on the retail park adjacent to
the away end, but if you wanted a
reasonably swift get away this would
be every inch the bottleneck that it
looks. I instead opted to park on a
Pay and Display just around the
corner, off Peacock St/Garden Rd. 70p
per hour and we were out of town in
less than 5 minutes.
It's a tidy little ground, with decent
leg room for the more "leggy" amongst
us. The catering was OKish, I asked
for a Balti Pie but after one bite I
discovered it was a meat and potato'.
I took it back and the fella was
really professional, he apologized
told me he'd run out of Balti, gave me
my money back and said I could keep
the meat and potato'. So, not being
one to look a gift horse in the mouth,
I ate it. Entry to the ground was easy
and the stewarding was very relaxed.
The atmosphere in the ground was a
little strange due to there only being
stands on three
sides, and you couldn't hear the fans
behind the far goal at all, so most of
the noise was generated by the larger
Ian Greaves Stand. As a result most of
the chanting was between the away end
and the Greaves stand, and it got
quite lively at times!
The game itself will be remembered
mainly for the Luis Suarez "hand ball"
goal, but if anybody cared to view the
facts of the matter they would know
that the Ref saw the hand ball and
deemed it to be accidental. The other
goal (the first) was scored by
debutant Daniel Sturridge, in a not
very pretty game played on a shocker
of a pitch. A late Mansfield goal
ensured that the ball would be pumped
into the Liverpool box at every
opportunity. There were a few nerve
jangling moments but I never really
thought Mansfield would get a second,
and so it proved.
In summary - I wish I could go to
Mansfield every season.