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Season 03/04 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 3
Mansfield Town  
5 - 0
 Scunthorpe United
Day 9, Mendes 18, <BR>Lawrence 65, 90+3, Christie 72.
Attendance: 5,142 (793 from Scunthorpe)
Date: 26th August 2003

The Stags were forced into one change from the side that won so convincingly at Southend on Saturday, Junior Mendes replaced Colin Larkin who is still slowly recovering from a persistent hamstring injury. Larkin was fit enough to be on the bench, whilst Craig Disley also returned to the substitutes bench in place of Jamie Clarke. Luke Dimech was unfit to play, but watched the game from the stands alongside Clarke and Tom Curtis.

The Stags began in much the same fashion as they finished the game at Roots Hall, in confident, dominant mood. On 5 minutes Mendes and Lawrence combined, with Lawrences cross met by Christie whose shot was well saved. From the resultant corner Rhys Day powered a header goalwards, only to see the ball tipped over the bar by Scunny keeper Evans. Just a minute later Mendes threaded a superb ball to Christie but once again the in-form striker was denied by Evans who managed to push his shot around the post. However, the Stags were not to be denied the lead their early dominance had warranted and took the lead just before the ten minute mark. A perfect corner from Lawrence was again met by the towering Day, this time Evans could get nowhere near the ball as it thundered into the back of the net. Mendes almost put the Stags two ahead but his left foot shot was easily gathered by the busy Evans. Christie then should have increased the lead on the quarter hour when put through by a slide rule Hassell pass - however, the Stags striker placed his shot just wide of the post. Two minutes later Williamson saw his goal-bound effort deflect off Mendes inside the 18 yard box and drift agonisingly wide with Evans stranded. It was completely one way traffic and the 2nd goal arrived on 18 minutes, it was a goal of real class. Lawrence fed a deft pass to Christie who burst through and found Mendes who drilled a low shot past Evans - it was no more than Mendes deserved as his performance in the opening 20 minutes was outstanding. On 20 minutes the Stags defence were at last tested, Pilkington was given a difficult back pass and his clearance cannoned into Torpey but flew wide. Pilkington was again called into action on 25 minutes when Hayes hit a powerful right foot shot which Pilkington acrobatically palmed away to safety. The game entered a quiet phase, Day defended well when Beagrie was put through, the winger's shot well blocked by the Stags centre half. The Stags should have gone three up when Lawrence and Hassell again combined well down the right hand side, the Stags full back put in a perfect low cross which Christie at the far post somehow managed to put wide. Christie then headed a Mackenzie cross over the bar just before the break as the Stags still looked the more likely to score the next goal. The Stags left the pitch at half time to a well deserved ovation.

Half Time: 2-0

Scunthorpe began the 2nd half strongly and enjoyed their best spell of possession in the entire match, however, they found the Stags defence, notably Day and Artell, in commanding form and it was the home side who continued to create chances. Within two minutes of the restart Christie broke free but his 20 yard shot was easily saved by Evans. A few minutes later Mendes held the ball up well and fed Vaughan who hit a low shot which was deflected wide for a corner. Another excellent corner kick left Christie with another chance to score, but his header flew past the post - it looked like it wasn't going to be his night. Another Lawrence corner just before the hour again found the head of Day, this time his header beat Evans but was scambled off the line. The impressive Williamson took a heavy knock which required lengthy treatment, but after a minute on the sidelines he returned to the action. Twenty minutes into the 2nd half the Stags made the points safe. Mendes was fouled on the edge of the 18 yard box and Lawrence curled a stunning free kick off the underside of the bar and into the bottom of the net. In any other game the Lawrence goal would have been hard to match, but the Stags 4th goal was pure poetry. A move which saw the Stags string together numerous passes finally saw Mendes presented with a great chance, Evans managed to save his shot but the ball fell to Christie who fired home his 4th goal of the season. On another day Christie could have had half a dozen goals as Hassell hit a great long ball out of defence which put the Stags striker through, however, his shot was just wide with just Evans to beat. Scunthorpe striker McLean then missed the Iron's best chance of the game, his glancing header from Beagrie's right wing cross sliding a yard wide. Mendes could have crowned a fine individual performance after turning his defender and running through on goal, he looked like he's placed his shot perfectly but agonisingly it flew just inches wide. Pilkington was called into action by McLean whose shot was well saved but it was the Stags who had the final say. Mendes threaded a through ball straight into the path of Lawrence who hit a low shot past the hapless Evans. The Stags left the field to one of the longest ovations I can remember.

This was a top drawer performance, right from the keeper through to the strikers - indeed 5-0 does not really do justice to the brilliance of the Stags display. It was reminiscent of the memourable displays of two seasons ago when the Stags beat Hull, Huddersfield and Luton in similar breathtaking fashion. As in those games, even though the margin of victory was large, it could have been even more!!

The Stags defence was marshalled superbly by the impressive Artell and when called upon Pilkington was equal to everything. In midfield Williamson was again in great form and the prompting of Mackenzie complemented him well. Out wide Liam Lawrence gave a quite brilliant display, his control and crossing were of the very highest order and he weighed in with two goals. In attack Christie could have had a hatful but was a threat throughout the game. However, how nice it is to be able to write more positive things about Junior Mendes, he was involved in just about every attacking move, his movement gave his markers a torrid time and he also scored a fine goal. Only a great performance could have denied Lawrence man of the match, Mendes just pipped him.

Man of the Match: Junior Mendes

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkingon 8 A couple of good saves and again looked comfortable claiming crosses

Hassell 9 At his best tonight - Scunny could not cope with him and Liam on the right

Vaughan 8 Very solid and got forward well in the 2nd half

Artell 8 Another excellent display, this man must be given a long contract

Day 9 A goal and another very impressive display

Corden 7 Often double marked and not quite as involved as he'd like

Williamson 9 Dominated the midfield area

Mackenzie 7 Mixed bag from Macca, some great passing but once or twice gave the ball away

Lawrence 9 As good as I've seen from Liam, his free kick was quality

Christie 8 A constant threat though he did miss numerous chances

Mendes 9 His best performance for the Stags, the visitors just could not cope with his pace and movement
Sub Line Up:
Unused: J.White, John-Baptiste, A.White, Larkin, Disley.
Opposition Line Up:
Evans, Byrne, McCombe, Jackson, Sharp, Kilford, Kell, Beagrie, McLean, Torpey, Hayes.
Wayne Graves for Paul Hayes, 67
Alex Calvo-Garcia for Ian Kilford, 76
Subs not used:
Subs: Lee Ridley, Featherstone, Russell.
A Penn (West Midlands)

Season 03/04 Reports