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Season 03/04 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 3
Southend United  
0 - 3
 Mansfield Town
 Christie 43, 50, 90.
Attendance: Att: 3,837 (approx 350 from Mansfield, our estimate)
Date: 23rd August 2003

An outstanding performance from the Stags earned a 3-0 win here in Southend this afternoon. Such was Mansfield’s domination that a scoreline of 6-0 would not have been unjust. The Stags ran the home side completely ragged in the second half with brilliant approach play and created so many good chances that home manager Steve Wignall said after the game on local radio that his side had been run into the ground.

Mansfield brought in Rhys Day for his first start of the season in place of Luke Dimech, who had picked up an injury on international duty for Malta on Tuesday. Tony Vaughan replaced Jamie Clarke at left back. Neil MacKenzie came in for Tom Curtis and Colin Larkin returned from injury to replace Andy White. The home side were without dangerous striker Tes Bramble, who was injured.

Mansfield had their first attack on 6 minutes when Bobby Hassell broke into the box and then Liam Lawrence crossed but the ball was cleared. We noted Wayne Corden’s second header of the season in midfield, and then amazingly moments later he had a header on target which was easily saved from a deep Lawrence cross. This was possibly Corden’s first ever header on target.

On 11 minutes, Southend created their first moment of danger but a superb last ditch tackle from Artell prevented a shot on goal. The Stags were looking comfortable at the back but a bad back pass on 15 minutes put Pilkington under pressure and his clearance was lucky not to rebound off the onrushing Southend striker. Four minutes later, the Stags had appeals for a penalty turned down after Christie went down following a challenge from the keeper. From our position at the far end, we couldn’t really judge the situation. A minute later, at the other end, Pilkington made a good double save, first punching clear through a ruck of players and then catching the cross that came in moments later. It was refreshing to see the Stags keeper commanding his box. Wayne Corden was booked on 21 minutes for stupidly kicking the ball at a Southend defender after a decision went against him.

Midway through the half, Lawrence tried his luck from 30 yards but in truth his lob was poor and was easily taken by the keeper. A minute later, MacKenzie showed great trickery to work a shooting chance for himself but his effort was weak and straight at the keeper. Mansfield were looking comfortable without looking particularly dangerous. On the half hour, Southend striker Broughton found himself in space in the six yard box but was given offside and headed wide anyway. The Stags were then awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal and with everyone expecting a Corden shot, the ball was rolled across to MacKenzie whose shot looked on target but was deflected for a corner. Just 2 minutes later, MacKenzie had another shot just wide. At this stage, the Stags midfielder seemed to be involved in everything.

A mistake from Williamson gifted Southend a rare shot on 37 minutes but fortunately it went high and wide. A minute later, Artell went close for the Stags with a header from a Corden cross. Then, at the other end, Rhys Day did well to nick the ball off Broughton’s toe as he was poised to shoot.

Two minutes before half time, Mansfield got the goal they just about deserved and what a cracker it was! Lawrence fed Hassell wide on the right and he provided a great cross for Christie to head low into the bottom right hand corner of the net. At half time, we noted that Hassell had been pushing forward well, Day was looking good and Artell strong. Meanwhile MacKenzie was spraying passes around and Tom Curtis was not being missed!

Half time 0-1

Soon after half time, Pilkington made an easy low save from a shot on the left and a minute later, a header flashed wide of his post low on the right. On 49 minutes, the home side had a penalty appeal turned down. This was Southend’s best spell of the game but ironically, within a minute, the Stags were two in front. Corden had a shot deflected wide and from the resulting Lawrence corner, Christie headed the loose ball home to make it 2-0. The Stags fans and players celebrated joyously and Lawrence lifted his shirt to reveal a t-shirt underneath with the word “Sorry” on it.

Just a minute after the goal Lawrence showed his confidence when he picked up a loose ball 45 yards out and with the keeper well off his line, lobbed the ball goalwards. The keeper was nowhere but the ball dropped agonisingly just over the bar. It was tremendous display of Beckham-esque talent. Incredibly, 5 minutes later, Lawrence had another shot from about 35 yards but this time, the keeper saved.

On 58 minutes, Pilkington did well to catch a corner and a minute later it really should have been Christie’s hat-trick. The home keeper made a mess and dropped the ball but Christie’s effort was cleared off the line. In a rare Southend attack, Pilkington made a good save from a header and then, shortly afterwards, made a superb save from a free kick.

Midway through the second half, Lawrence pumped a lob into the box and, as the ball came down just under the bar, 3 Stags players barged into the keeper who somehow held on to the ball with no defenders nearby but a free kick was given. Two minutes later, Larkin broke down the right and provided a chance for Christie who shot over the bar to the annoyance of Lawrence who was well placed to his right. MacKenzie, who’d had a quieter second half, was then replaced by John-Baptiste who slotted in just in front of the back four. Then, from a Hassell cross and a Williamson flick, Larkin shot just over. The Stags were so much on top at this stage it was embarrassing for the home team. However, 10 minutes from time, the Stags were reminded that it was still a game when Pilkington spilled a cross and Hassell had to clear off the line. The Stags keeper was injured in the incident but no free kick was given.

On 83 minutes, Mendes came on for the tiring Larkin and, a minute later, Christie had yet another good chance but pulled his shot wide of the post in front of the Stags fans. Four minutes from time, Mendes showed great pace to race into the box dummying two defenders on the way but after he had rounded the keeper his shot was incredibly cleared off the line. But it was 3-0 on 90 minutes. A throw-in reached Christie in the box, he turned well and his shot was deflected off a defender past the stranded keeper. From our position it wasn’t possible to tell if it was going in anyway though it was probably roughly on target.

So, the Stags came away with their first win of the season with a performance that promises much for the coming season. The Stags were simply superb and created numerous gilt-edged chances. Southend were truly run ragged in the second half, a point noted by the refreshingly honest Southend manager after the game. Everyone in the Stags team played their part with Christie just shading the man of the match from Day and Williamson thanks to his three goals.

Man of the Match: Iyseden Christie.

Report by: Martin Shaw & Jeff Barnes at Roots Hall (Pics by Rob Wheldon)

Line Up:
Pilkington 8 Didn’t have too much to do, but did well on crosses and made one super save.
Hassell 8 Linked up really well with Lawrence down the right, and defended stoutly.
Day 9 Superb at the back.
Artell 8 Won some good headers, and made one outstanding challenge in the first half.
Vaughan 7 Did ok though looked slightly out of position at left back.
Lawrence 8 Some superb trickery down the right. Full of confidence, summed up by his 45 yarder that just cleared the bar with the keeper beaten.
Williamson 9 Outstanding, won plenty of 50:50 balls and pushed the team forward with purpose.
MacKenzie 8 Great first half, and had several good efforts on goal. Faded a little in the second.
Corden 7 Did well down the left though crossing could have been better.
Larkin 7 Showed glimpses of what we’ve been missing.
Christie 9 Hat-trick, and could have had 5.
Sub Line Up:
John-Baptiste (for MacKenzie, 71) 7 Brought on just in front of the back four. Did well.
Mendes (for Larkin, 83) 7 Showed great pace and one superb run led to his shot cleared off the line.
Not used: J.White, Clarke, A.White.
Opposition Line Up:
Southend: Emberson, Jupp, Cort, Warren, Stuart, Gower, Maher, Odunsi, Corbett, Husbands, Broughton. Subs: Robinson, Wilson, McSweeney, Nightingale, Constantine.
Referee: Clive Penton 5 Poor.

Season 03/04 Reports