Early Season Pacesetters

This is the first time I’ve had a chance to sit down to discuss the events of Tuesday night, and if you’re wondering about the delay, so am I! There are a dozen excuses I could have used for not writing until now, I could say I was packing up ready for my move on Saturday, or I was writing my column for the forthcoming WUP, but the truth is I didn’t do those either! I’m actually still in a pleasant state of shock. I could barely get any work done yesterday for reading match reports, opinion, and watching blocky phone-shot youtube footage of events that may or may not have been goals over and over again.

And I wasn’t even there! Perhaps this is one of those performances that will take on near legendary status because of the number of us that weren’t at Field Mill on Tuesday night. I wonder what effect this will have on the numbers travelling up to Wrexham on Saturday… I did notice the coach has been booked out earlier in the week than usual… Of course, I won’t be there, as I only have one day to move my stuff to my new temporary home in Kingston. Still, at least I’ll get home quick enough after games in future…

So, what does the Mansfield result actually mean? Despite not yet managing to record a point against the other early season pacesetters, Mansfield still have the potential to be within touching distance of the playoffs come January, when their owners money will bring a higher calibre of reinforcements. It’s unlikely they will throw money around like Crawley have, but the question then would be; will they gel quickly enough to get a promotion charge on track? Either way, we’ve taken three points and three goals off a promotion rival, which could turn out to be crucial come the end of April.

Plus our front three each got on the scoresheet for the first time, including Danny Kedwell’s tenth of the season. I don’t seem to be writing much about Keds lately, I even restrained myself after his heroics against Crawley, and the truth is because what more can you say that hasn’t been already? I really fear we won’t be able to keep him in January despite his age and the large fee it would take to prise him away, there isn’t much money floating around in the Football League at the moment, but his sheer consistency must have planted a few ideas here and there. It’s great to see Ryan Jackson hitting the net, I don’t think many of us would have put much money on him and Christian Jolley being regular starters this early in their Dons careers. They bring the two things that seem to scare Conference defences the most – good close control and out-and-out pace. Jolley has half a dozen already, an amazing start for him, and very much still something to build on – but it’s tough not to get excited by the potential he has shown.

There was another big game on Tuesday night, as Luton fell to a last-minute goal to Crawley. Games between ourselves and the two teams we consider our main rivals in the race for a place back in the League have seen us win and lose one each after one round of fixtures, which if anything goes to prove what Terry Brown mentioned after the Crawley game that games between these sides won’t decide where the title will go – which kind of lows my comment over the value of the Mansfield result out of the window unless this was his clever way of saying Crawley have already bought it…

And if you read my match preview and are wondering whether I regret not chucking that sickie… well of course I do! Still, my employers cheered me up by presenting me with a cheque for £25.00 made payable to The Dons Trust, they aren’t a bad bunch to work for (but it still wasn’t enough to blag some free advertising out of me!), but it does involve me running the Minithon a week on Sunday… too late to get in training? I could do it in my sleep… still, best have those paramedics on standby…

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