Phil Bater returns to manage Mangos

February 28 2022

THE biggest story of the last month from Cossham Street was the departure of manager Ray Johnston following the 3-0 defeat at Cinderford, which left Mangotsfield United in deep relegation trouble.

He was quickly replaced by former boss Phil Bater, the ex-Bristol Rovers player, and his assistant, Neil Arndale.

Both have previous Mangotsfield connections: Phil previously managed at Cossham Street from 2009-2012, during which time the club reached the FA Cup 4th qualifying round and the Southern League play-offs.

Neil, also a former Bristol Rovers player, spent six years as a player at Mangotsfield, including the 2009-2010 FA Cup run, having been a previous captain of the club.

Both men were in charge at Larkhall Athletic for several seasons, until last year.   

Mangotsfield, like many other clubs, have had matches affected by the weather in recent weeks. However, improved form by bottom club Barnstaple Town, with other relegation-threatened sides like Cinderford Town, Bideford and Slimbridge all picking up points, put the Mangos are back in the bottom two of the Pitching In Southern League Division One South again, with the business end of the season soon to come.

The Mangos had no game on January 15, as scheduled opponents Larkhall Athletic were on FA Trophy duty.

The following week they drew 2-2 at home to mid-table Willand Rovers. Kye Simpson gave the Mangos an early lead, but the Devon side rallied and were ahead by half time. The Mangos recovered in the second half, with Joe Beardwell hitting the post with one fierce drive, but they deservedly levelled in stoppage time when Daniel McBeam fired home to secure a valuable point.

A week later, however, the Mangos went down 3-0 away to promotion-chasing AFC Totton, watched by a near-600 home crowd.   

Spirits at Cossham Street were boosted by the welcome distraction of a Gloucestershire FA Trophy semi-final tie against neighbours Yate Town, and the Mangos battled well against their higher-level opponents from the Southern League Premier Division, holding the Bluebells to a goalless draw, but were beaten 4-3 in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.

The following Saturday, however, brought things to a head, with a generally poor performance at relegation rivals Cinderford Town, which included an own goal by Josiah Dunstan and a red card for Luke Smith, following a dangerous challenge.

The club announced Ray Johnson's departure several days later but with no game on February 12 and the home game v Highworth Town called off due to a waterlogged pitch on the 15th, the new managerial duo had to wait to start their bid to keep the club up.  

 

David Smale   

 

Fixtures

 

March 5 Barnstaple Town   (Away)

March 19 Frome Town (Home)

March 26 Winchester City (Away)