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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Tranmere Rovers  
2 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Hume 16, Haworth 30.
Attendance: approx 7,500 (app 500 from Mansfield, my estimate)
Date: 25th April 2003

This match was abandoned at half time due to a man climbing onto the roof of a stand and refusing to come down. We were told by police at the ground that the man was a known psychiatric patient and has recently done similar things elsewhere. We were given his name but we will not give the name here.

According to BBC Radio Merseyside later, the man was brought down 80 minutes later on a fire crane.

According the Tranmere chairman on the radio after the game, the decision to abandon the game was made by the Police Match commander and not the football club.

As it was, results elsewhere meant the Stags were relegated anyway, and that Tranmere miss out on the play-offs.

The match will be re-played on Tuesday night with free admission.

The Stags went in to this game on the back of a dreadful run which had seen them all but relegated, while Tranmere were unbeaten for 13 games and had slim hopes of making the play-offs.

With an unchanged defence from the side that drew at Blackpool, Disley replaced in the ill Lawrence in midfield, with Williamson moving to the right, and up front Larkin and Christie came in for Mendes and Mitchell. Surprisingly there was no place in the starting line-up for Andy White who was so impressive in the second half at Blackpool. It was the first time Mendes had been dropped despite a long run of ineffective performances.

The home side started brightly and took the game to the Stags from the off. The giant Haworth had the games first chance when his header seemed to be looping over Pilkington, but the Stags keeper, falling backwards, pushed the ball over the bar. However after a quiet few minutes, Tranmere’s opener came right out of the blue on 16 minutes. A ball was played over the top and suddenly Iain Howe was through on goal. Howe smacked a left-footed shot through Pilkington’s legs and into the net. Although it was played through his legs, Pilkington could not be blamed as the shot was hit with venom.

Christie had Stags first chance but shot straight at the keeper. Then Stags had a golden opportunity to equalise. Hassell played a ball forward to Disley on the edge of the box. Disley got a lucky break as a defender tackled him but the ball rebounded straight back to him. He moved forward and with just the keeper to beat from 8 yards, fired low and left footed. From our position it seemed the ball would go in, but somehow it missed, scraping the right hand post on the way.

Within a few minutes, Stags were made to pay as Tranmere made it 2-0. Down by the right hand corner flag, Hassell somehow allowed Hume to get in a cross despite the fact that the Tranmere made was off balance. The cross was perfect for Haworth who jumped highest to nod the ball into the corner of the net. As the Tranmere players celebrated, Pilkington shouted at Hassell and Hassell swore back at him.

Tranmere had chances to extend the lead further as Haworth shot over and then Nicholson rounded Pilkington but ended up with too tight an angle to get in a decent shot. Then just before the break Tranmere had a free-kick from 25 yards which Pilkington did well to save.

Half time 2-0

During the half-time break we became aware that a man had climbed the floodlight to our right. We couldn’t see him as the side of our stand was in the way. I tried to get to the front of the stand to see what was happening but was turned back by a police officer. Soon afterwards it became clear that he had jumped onto the top of out stand and then we saw him, through the perspex areas of the roof, walking on the roof above our heads. At this point the police evacuated our stand and we were led onto the street behind. I walked 50 yards back from the stand and could see the man, in a white coat, walking up and down the roof of the stand. With the fire service now in attendance, we were later told that the game was being abandoned.

And so a very strange day on which the Stags were relegated back to Division 3.

Report by: Martin Shaw at Prenton Park

Line Up:
Pilkington 6 Couldn’t be faulted for the goals, though the first went through his legs. Looks lacking in confidence especially when punched a cross he could have caught
Clarke 7 Defended well.
John-Baptiste 7 Looks a class act.
Buxton 6 Decent performance.
Hassell 5 Should not have allowed the cross to be made for the second goal. Looks badly out of position at left-back
Williamson 6 Played on the right wing.
Curtis 6 A couple of crunching tackles.
Disley 6 Missed a very good chance at 0-1.
Corden 6 Didn’t get into the game.
Larkin 6 Played deep when we needed two up front.
Christie 6 Tried hard with little success.
Sub Line Up:
Subs not used: Welch, Gadsby, MacKenzie, Mendes, AWhite.
Opposition Line Up:
Achterberg, Connelly, Roberts, Allen, Sharps, Anderson, Nicholson, Jones, Loran, Hume, Haworth.
Subs: Mellon, Price, Howarth, Hinds, Hay.
M.Ryan, Lancashire

Season 02/03 Reports