Mid-week I made the journey to see a team whose name has intrigued me for some time. Leaving the M1 at the A38 junction No. 28 you drive through the large industrial estate, Huthwaite and a housing estate to the carpark for Mansfield Hosiery Mills FC. for a Central Midlands League, South Division, game against Long Eaton United Community. A game that pitted the third placed team against the bottom club Mansfield Hosiery Mills. You would have to win 11 leagues to play in the Premier League yet that in no way diminished this competition. The football club is part of a larger sports and social club and the cricket clubs bar facilities shone out as I crossed the car park.
The evening was still, dark, dry and warm for the time of year. The pitch slopes from side to side and there is a steep slope from end to end which has a good grass covering with some wear in the goal mouths. The ground was compact with a barge board fence around the ground, a small seated area to one side of the goal, a club house on one side and hard standing fully around the pitch. Considering this is one of the smaller clubs I have visited I have to say they are some of the cleanest toilets I have ever been in.
Mansfield Hosiery Mills FC were formerly known as North Notts FC but have been playing under their current name in 2002. They reached the Northern Counties East League Premier Division before dropping back down the League structure and disbanding for ground problems before re-forming in the Nottingham Leagues and rejoining the Central Midlands League only three years ago.
Long Eaton United Community are an off shot of Long Eaton United who play in the United Counties League.
Mansfield Hosiery Mills FC 2 Long Eaton United Community 1
Wednesday 23rd March 2022 7.45 pm. 17th (Bottom) v 3rd, The Millers v The Blues
M.H.M. payed in change kit, yellow shirts and black shorts: L.E.U.C. red and black vertical shirts and red shorts.
With the clocks changing this weekend it was great to get in one of the last games fully under the floodlights which always seem more exciting. This game re enforced this as Long Eaton took immediate control with their number 11 proving a handful. It was on one of his fast tricky runs that the home sides right back brought him down in the goal area for the referee to have no doubts about awarding a penalty. The away teams number eight placed the ball well along the ground into the left hand corner of the net to give Long Eaton the lead.
With the away team continuing the pressure it was a surprise when Mansfield equalised only 3 minutes later. A long ball in from the left was totally misjudged by the goalkeeper and Liam Walker accepted the dropped ball, swiveled round and tapped it home.
Long Eaton should have retaken the lead on 21 minutes when the goalkeeper ventured out of his goal to stop an attack leaving an open goal that was missed as the ball sailed over the cross bar. Long Eaton dominated play for 35 minutes of the game but let Mansfield gain their composure and start to take control. With only 2 minutes to half time Mansfield were awarded a free kick for a high tackle and the ball was swung in from the left which again caused havoc in he air. Liam Walker was there again to give the home fans some cheer at half time.
Mansfield Hosiery played down hill in the second half and played with more composure. Their right back who was under pressure in the first half took control of that dual and even ventured forward at times. For me their man of the match was their number 5 who played with some maturity considering what looked like a young age.
I noticed that the Mansfield goalkeeper placed a camera behind his goal to record his game, good dedication this to review his strengths and weaknesses.
Mansfield’s win moved them off the bottom of the League and up two places. Two wins out of three now must surely mean they are finding the right blend in their team although too late this season to progress much higher.
No Chips here so I went for a hot chocolate served by very friendly helpers.