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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Notts County  
2 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Liburd 63, Caskey 85
 Lawrence 43, Christie 90
Attendance: 10, 302 (3,083 from Mansfield)
Date: 9th November 2002

Two reports from today's game:
For report by Martin Shaw, click here.
For report by Rob Wheldon, read below.
The Stags were without suspended skipper Neil Moore and despite playing part of a Reserve match, striker Colin Larkin was also missing. New signing Matt Gadsby replaced Moore in a back three, with Jamie Clarke playing in central midfield for the injured Scott Sellars. Dion Scott was on the bench after recovering from a shoulder operation early in the season. The Stags were backed by a massive away following, over 3,000 fans having made the trip up the A60.

The first 15 minutes or so were quite cagey, neither side taking any risks and so chances were few and far between. However, the Stags soon began to dominate, Little the first to try his luck with a shot from the edge of the box which flew narrowly over the bar. At the other end young County striker Heffernan missed a great chance when, with just Pilkington to beat he sliced his shot into the side netting. This was a rare attack for the home side who were being saved only by the late flagging of the Assistant Referee, several times Stags players were denied attempts at goal by a late flag, though whether these decisions were accurate or not is impossible to say from where we were watching the game. Stags almost took the lead when Christie got a glancing header on to a Corden cross only to see the ball cleared off the line. This was only a temporary reprieve for County though as Liam Lawrence put the Stags ahead just before half time with a fine low finish from 12 yards out. Lawrence almost added a 2nd just before the half time whistle but his well struck volley was straight at County keeper Garden

Half-Time 0-1

The Stags again began by far the stronger in the 2nd half and should have increased their lead several times. The best early chance fell to Jamie Clarke who found himself 6 yards from goal, his first touch was excellent but with the goal at his mercy he fired straight at Garden. The Stags then had a very strong penalty appeal turned down when Garden clearly caught Little inside the box only for referee Jeff Winter to wave play-on. Little was clearly injured by the challenge and required lengthy treatment. Lawrence then tried his luck again from distance but Garden saved easily and Christie had a shot charged down on the edge of the area when it looked like the ball was goal-bound. As the Stags poured forward the only way it looked likely the home side would score would be from a break, and so it proved. Cas broke free on the right and hit a low cross which was bundled over the line by Liburd. County then briefly enjoyed their best spell of the game as the Stags re-grouped but soon the familar pattern of chances created and chances wasted recommenced. Little, having an excellent game, wasted a great chance after a poor Garden kick when put through by Disley, instead of chipping the ball over the stranded keeper he hit a poor low shot which was easily saved. Moments later Disley missed an equally simple chance, found perfectly by Corden his free header from 8 yards out was mis-timed and lobbed over the bar - he had the whole goal at his mercy and should have scored. The Stags were denied yet another penalty when Williamson was shoved in the back as he was about to head goalwards and at this stage it looked as though it wasn't going to be the visitors afternoon. This feeling was confirmed just 5 minutes from the end when Vaughan was adjudged to have fouled Allsop on the edge of the box, Vaughan appeared to win the ball but the free kick was given and County sub Darren Caskey expertly curled the kick over the wall and past the diving Pilkington. However, the Stags continued to create chances, Christie volleyed over on 90 minutes when it would have been easier to score and all Stags fans must have had that sinking feeling. Then in the final minute of added time Christie burst through onto a poor defensive header and fired the ball home to give the Stags a point.

The Stags should have won this game comfortably. They were better in every area than County. However, despite the numerous chances created the Stags failed to capitalise on their superiority and only have themselves to blame for dropping the two points. In particular, Little and Christie had outstanding games except in front of goal, Disley, Clarke and Lawrence were also guilty of missing good chances. Nevertheless, this was an excellent performance by Stuart Watkiss' men.

Man of the Match: Mark Lever

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 - Little to do but made one decent save
Vaughan 7 - Defended very well at times
Lever 8 - A real Captains display, won every header & tackle
Gadsby 8 - Excellent debut, quick to the ball which is just what we need
Corden 7 - When attacking looked back to his best
Lawrence 7 - Good goal and lots of effort, though still gets caught in possession too often
Williamson 7 - Getting close to recapturing last seasons form
Disley 7 - Another all action display but did miss a fantastic chance
Clarke 7 - Did well in a midfield role but like Dis missed a golden chance
Little 8 - His approach and hold up play were superb, his finishing let him down
Christie 8 - A real handful again, missed chances but scored a vital equaliser
Sub Line Up:
Mackenzie 6 - (for Vaughan 87) Not enough time to get involved

Subs Not Used: Scott, Jervis, Bacon, White (J)
Opposition Line Up:
Garden , Ramsden , Ashton , Stone , Nicholson , Cas , Brough , Whitley , Bolland , Heffernan , Stallard
Subs: Mildenhall , Allsopp , Liburd , Jupp , Caskey
Jeff Winter - 4 (Premiership Referee, surely a joke?)

Season 02/03 Reports