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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Queens Park Rangers  
2 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Furlong 20, Gallen 90+3.
 
 Christie 25, 50.
Attendance: 11,942 (1000 from Mansfield)
 
Date: 22nd February 2003

A truly extraordinary game here in West London this afternoon as Stags played for 10 men for an hour, and came within just a minute of what would have been a fabulous victory, before conceding an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time.
In front of the biggest crowd to watch a Stags game this season, the Stags started with 5 across the back, with Hassell replacing Doane at right back (Doane presumably having been dropped after his late mistake at Colchester). Stags management claimed after the game that it was 3 across the back, with Hassell and Eaton pushing forward, but I would have to disagree. The other change from the side that finished at Colchester was Gadsby for the suspended Curtis. Lawrence and Andy White, who had both started at Colchester were also suspended.
It was a fabulous and brave performance from the Stags after youth team midfielder Andy Jones was sent off within 9 minutes of coming on as a first half substitute on his debut. Curle was preparing to bring Jones on to shore up the midfield after Stags had been carved to pieces time and again in the opening 25 minutes. They had gone behind to a goal by Paul Furlong on 20 minutes, the same player having earlier missed two sitters. Just as Jones was about to be brought on in place of Corden, (manager Curle having signalled to the bench to indicate the number 11 to be taken off), Stags equalised out of the blue. Corden himself put in a great cross from the left side and Mendes leapt to head the ball against the bar. The ball rebounded kindly down to Christie who nodded it into the empty net.
Corden immediately went over to the bench to plead to be left on, but the substitution went ahead. Jones was booked within a minute of coming on, and then after giving away another free-kick with a handball, he then left a foot in on another challenge and was booked again. The second booking was indeed a reckless chalenge It was the 34th minute and the youngster had been on the field for just 9 minutes.
Stags were in a state of shock but quickly re-organised with Hassell moving into midfield leaving 4 at the back. The performance from then on noticeably improved as Stags held on till half time.
Half time 1-1
At half time, it was hard to see the Stags hanging on for a point. Little did we know how it would pan out.
Within 5 minutes of the re-start, Disley played Christie through and he beat the offside trap before slotting the ball under the keeper for a great finish, similar to his goal at Luton. The large Stags following went beserk as Christie showed off his new captain’s arm band in celebration.
Within minutes, the home side were awarded a ridulous penalty for an innocuous challenge by Gadsby (not Curle as first thought) on Furlong. Curle was booked for protesting. Having studied the incident from TV, it was a dreadful decision by the referee. But Welch made a brilliant save, diving low to his right, to keep out Gallen’s effort.
Just two minutes later Stags should have been awarded a penalty of their own, right in front of the travelling fans. Christie took the ball past keeper Culkin and went down over the keeper near the byeline. There was no doubt it was a penalty. Incredibly the referee pointed for a goal-kick: a disgraceful decision, and conclusive proof that the referee was a homer.
Stags came under pressure but as time went on, the home side had fewer chances, and Welch made a couple of superlative saves.
Stags had two chances of their own to open up a two goal cushion as first Day’s header from a corner was blocked on the line, and then from another corner Christie just failed to force the ball home.
But as the game went into 4 minutes of injury time, (and in truth Stags had visibly tired for the final 10 minutes or so), a mix up between Gadbsy and Welch on the corner of the box cost Stags dear. As Welch came for the ball, Gadsby flicked it away from him, and into the path of Gallen who lobbed the ball into the empty net from 18 yards. It was another sickening late blow for the Stags after the late goal at Colchester, and the final whistle went within a minute even though Rangers still managed to get the ball into the Stags box twice more in the search of a cruel winner.
As the game ended, Stags players dropped to the ground in despair, but the shocked Stags fans did their best to give them a rousing reception.
Overall a terrific display from a brave Stags team. The defence was superb after going down to 10 men. Welch’s handling from crosses was outstanding and he made some great saves as well. Disley was great in midfield, and up front Mendes had his best game in a Stags shirt, while Christie scored twice and won a penalty which was not given by the prat in black. The regular chant from the Stags fans during the second half was “We’ve only got 10 men … you’ve only got 12 men.”
So much happened, it’s hard to do it justice in a report - you just had to be there.
Man of the Match: Keith Welch.


Report by: Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes at Loftus Road



Line Up:
Welch 9 Outstanding handling, outstanding saves, great penalty save.
Hassell 7 Got caught out early on; recovered well and did well in uncustomed midfield role.
Gadsby 7 Solid performance. Unlucky to give away penalty. Will be distraught that his flick in injury time fell to Gallen to score.
Day 8 Powerful display. Physical battle with Gallen.
Curle 8 Marshalled the troops well.
Eaton 9 Outstanding. Read the game beautifully, often intercepting balls down the right wing.
Williamson 6 Worked hard. Distribution not great.
Disley 8 Terrific battling display. Great ball for Christie’s second.
Corden 7 Did nothing wrong and a great cross for first goal. Unlucky to be sacrificed for a change of formation.
Mendes 7 Best game in a Stags shirt. Always worried the home defence.
Christie 8 Two well-taken goals. Won a cast-iron penalty not given. First game as captain, and really at his best.
Sub Line Up:
Jones (for Corden, 26 mins) 1 Sent off within 9 minutes and barely touched the ball. Bizarre debut.
Mitchell (for Mendes, 80 mins) 6.
Subs not used: JWhite, JClarke, Beardsley.
Opposition Line Up:
Culkin
Padula
Shittu
Palmer
Forbes
Langley
Bircham
Bean
Furlong
Gallen
Griffiths
Subs:
Oli
Carlisle
Murphy
Not used:
Angell
Day
Referee:
J.Robinson, E.Yorkshire 0.1 J.Robinson, E.Yorkshire 0.1 A disgrace to the refereeing fraternity. The same referee who sent off Sellars at Wigan with a terrible decision, though who made the right decision in sending Bradley off at Chesterfield.


Season 02/03 Reports