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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Mansfield Town  
4 - 2
 Stockport County
Christie 6, Corden (pen) 48, 79,<BR>Disley 54
 Day (og) 3, Burgess (pen) 17
Attendance: 6, 434 (817 away)
Date: 26th December 2002

Two reports from today's game:
For report by Martin Shaw, click here.
For report by Rob Wheldon, read below.
The Stags began with the same side which won last Saturday at Barnsley. This meant that Tom Curtis had recovered from a thigh injury and made his home debut. The game survived 3 pitch inspections after heavy overnight rain, but as kick off approached the rain had stopped and the surface, though heavy, was definitely playable. Stockport manager Carlton Palmer was suspended but former Spireite striker Luke Beckett began in attack and former Stag Martin Pemberton started the game on the left wing.

The Stags got off to a bad start, falling behind after just 3 minutes. A left wing corner was headed into his own net by an over-stretching Day. However, the lead was short-lived as the Stags undid the Stockport defence with a great short corner which saw Lawrence put in a perfect cross for Christie to head home his 15th goal of the season. The Stags then took a grip on the game and dominated possession, however, on 15 minutes they fell behind again. Curle was harshly adjudged to have fouled Beckett inside the area and Burgess made no mistake from the spot. This set back didn't disrupt the Stags play and several times they carved open the Stockport defence only to waste numerous opportunities to score a second equaliser. White broke clear on the left but he lacked support and his ball into the area was easily dealt with. Next to try his luck was Corden, who curled a trade-mark right foot shot which County keeper Jones saved easily. The Stags then saw the referee spoil a great chance when Disley was clean through inside the area only to be hauled back by the referee's whistle for a free kick to the Stags, the referee should have played advantage and didn't. Then Referee Beeby further incensed the Stags fans by not punishing a crude challenge from behind on Andy White just before the break. There was still time for the Stags to waste another chance, Corden firing over a superb Christie cross. The Stags had dominated the half but incredibly went in 2-1 behind.

Half Time: 1-2

The injured Andy White didn't appear for the 2nd half and was replaced by Colin Larkin. Just a minute into the half and the Stags were level. Christie powered through on goal only to be cynically tripped from behind by Clare, the defender clearly preventing a goal scoring chance. Referee Beeby gave the penalty but only cautioned Clare, another poor decision. After 5 successive spot kick misses Stags fans were not confident, but Wayne Corden stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left to bring the scored level. Just 7 minutes later the Stags went ahead with a freak goal. Craig Disley burst through the middle from a Larkin pass but hit a very tame shot straight at the keeper, however, the ball must have taken a bad bounce or keeper Jones took his eye of it as somehow it evaded his grasp and trickled over the line. Soon afterwards Disley was replaced by Lee Williamson. The Stags were now in total control and really should have added to the scoreline. Larkin, his pace again causing problems, put in a neat cross to Christie who shot just wide, then moments later Christie fired another Larkin cross low to the keepers right which he did well to save. Lawrence was the next to pick out Christie but once more Jones was equal to the Stags strikers shot. However, on 79 minutes the points were safe when Christie turned provider for Corden who hit a perfect low drive past Jones. As the game drew to a close Gadsby replaced Curtis. As they did against Blackpool, the Stags closed out the game comfortably, though had one nervy moment when the otherwise excellent Day was beaten to a header by Burgess to set Beckett away, despite a great last ditch challenge from Hassell the ball broke back to Beckett who fired in a shot which Pilkington saved superbly. The game ended with the Stags in possession, as they had been for most of the game.

Another excellent performance from a side brimming with confidence. To go in behind after dominating the opening half might have caused heads to drop a couple of weeks ago, but the side came out determined to carry on the good performance of the opening half and reaped the rewards. Despite conceding two goals, the Stags again looked good defensively, Rhys Day recovered well from the own goal and he and Curle look a tight defensive partnership. Lawrence had a great game on the right, putting in numerous telling crosses, and Corden did likewise and added two goals to his display too. Tom Curtis made an excellent home debut and Iyseden Christie was a thorn in the Stockport side all afternoon. However, the major area of improvement over the last few weeks has been at full-back and in Hassell and Eaton we have two excellent players. Both were again on top form today and are almost inseparable for Man of the Match. For me, Hassell just edges it.

Man of the Match: Bobby Hassell

Photo's from the excellent http://www.followthehatters.co.uk

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington - 8 - Made one fine save but otherwise had little to do
Hassell - 9 - Another excellent performance, a couple of superbly timed challenges and great going forward
Curle - 8 - Marshalled the whole side well and lead by example
Day - 8 - Showed great character after the OG and performed very well
Eaton - 9 - Quality performance, some well times challenges and like Hassell got forward well
Lawrence - 8 - Great cross for Christie's goal and looked great in possession
Curtis - 8 - Much better performance, tackled well and distributed well
Disley - 8 - He'll claim the goal as a 25 yard cracker!! All action stuff from Dis.
Corden - 8 - Magic at times and two goals
Christie - 8 - Another hustle and bustle display and another goal
White(A) - 7 - Did well enough but occasionally found himself isolated - injured just before half time
Sub Line Up:
Larkin (for White 45) - 8 - Pace caused all sorts of problems for back line
Williamson (for Disley) - 7 - Did an effective job after replacing Disley
Gadsby (for Curtis) - Only on for a minute.
Not Used: Beardsley, White(J)
Opposition Line Up:
Jones , Clare , Challinor , Tonkin , Gibb , Briggs , Lescott , Pemberton , Lambert , Beckett , Burgess
Subs: Jones , Fradin , Ross , Daly , Hardiker
R Beeby

Season 02/03 Reports