Tough times for the Mangos
Mangotsfield United take on Larkhall. Picture: Dave Smale
MANGOTSFIELD United were left rooted to the bottom of the table after a hard start to the season.
With no points from their first five league games in the Pitching In Southern League Division 1 South, the Mangos also suffered an FA Cup exit.
The August Bank Holiday weekend saw two losses, starting with a 6-0 drubbing at home by visitors Plymouth Parkway, followed by a 2-0 defeat away at old rivals Bristol Manor Farm on the following Monday afternoon.
Newly-promoted Parkway – already highly fancied to do well this season too – arrived at Cossham Street full of confidence and were ahead in 2 minutes through Jack Crago.
Although the Mangos youngsters battled well, by half time it was 4-0 to Parkway, thanks to Aaron Bentley (28), River Allen (45) and Jack Crago again (also 45).
The game was as good as over even then, and it was all about damage limitation after the break. Unfortunately, Parkway added two more in the second half, via Michael Williams (65) & Jordan Copp (90) and the final whistle merely confirmed a very convincing win for the Devon visitors.
The Mangos' young side did their best, but were punished by a ruthless Parkway side.
Things improved at Bristol Manor Farm just 48 hours later and for almost an hour, Mangotsfield competed well against their neighbours. However, it was Farm who started to dominate and they eventually went ahead on 56 minutes through Ben Bament. This was followed by the harsh sending off of Mangos defender Mircea Llea on the hour, for a second yellow card offence, and then Owen Howe netted a 2nd goal on 63 minutes for the hosts. Farm then comfortably saw out the rest of the game.
Five days later, Mangotsfield’s FA Cup hopes for the season ended with a 1-0 defeat away to Frome Town. The hosts were favourites to win this tie anyway but at 1-0, Mangotsfield were still in with a chance right up to the final whistle. Rex Mannings netted the only goal in the first half and although Frome missed a number of good chances after that, Mangotsfield kept plugging away, to no avail and the solitary goal proved to be enough in the end.
The 4-1 home defeat v Larkhall Athletic on 11 September was particularly disappointing for the Mangos because of the poor goals given away, described as “schoolboy errors” by manager Ray Johnston after the game. Mangotsfield fielded a new signing, experienced defender Luke Hall-Cousins, but Larkhall were soon 2-0 up through Samuel Crumb (20) and ex-Mango Lewis Powell (23), despite the hosts creating a number of good chances themselves. Owen Humphries pulled a goal back with a super strike on 40 minutes, but Larkhall added further goals by Matthew Britton (58) and Aysa Corrick (86), who tapped into an empty net with the home defence totally stranded. Mangotsfield generally played and competed well throughout the game against an experienced Larkhall side, but the difference between the two teams was the clinical finishing by the visitors, as a result of some poor defending by the home side. Dave Smale
Sep 25: Highworth Town (A)
Sep 28: AFC Totton (H) 7.45pm
Oct 2: Cinderford Town (H) 3pm
Oct 6: Melksham Town (H) 7.45pm (League Cup)