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Season 03/04 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 3
Doncaster Rovers  
4 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Blundell 38, Green 53, McIndoe pen 68, Brown 76.
 Lawrence 21, Corden 81
Attendance: 8,500 (2,760 from Mansfield)
Date: 18th October 2003

The Stags were again without injured striker Junior Mendes and first choice full backs Bobby Hassell and Adam Eaton. Iyseden Christie returned to the side following suspension and partnered Chris Beardsley, Colin Larkin, still not match fit, dropped to the bench. Luke Dimech also returned to the side following injury and rather surprisingly replaced Rhys Day who also dropped to the bench. Another returnee was Lee Williamson, who played on the left of midfield with winger Wayne Corden very unfortunate to also find himself on the substitutes bench. For Rovers former Stag John Doolan lined up in front of a huge band of travelling Stags fans.

The game began rather scrappily with the home side certainly more eager and quicker to the loose ball. Rovers had the best of the early chances, most notably from set pieces but headers from successive corners fell comfortably at the feet of Pilkington. The best chance came after a Stags corner was cleared and after a couple of quick passes Blundell was released only to lob well over. Pretty much against the run of play the Stags took the lead just past the 20 minute mark - Williamson found Lawrence in acres of space and the young winger struck a perfect low right foot shot past Warrington. Sadly this was as good as it got for the Stags as for the remainder of the half they failed to maintain any sort of possession and an equaliser looked more and more likely. The fact it took until the 38th minute owed as much to luck as anything, especially in one incident when Lee Williamson blocked a goal bound effort - the young midfielder required lengthy treatment after the block which impacted in a rather painful area! The inevitable equaliser came when Blundell skipped through a static Stags defence and neatly finished past Pilkington. In a rare Stags attack Christie cut across the area and his well hit left foot shot flew just wide. At half time the general consensus was that the Stags were fortunate to go in level and a vast improvement was required in the 2nd half.

Half Time 1-1

Wayne Corden replaced the largely ineffective Neil Mackenzie at half time, this allowed Lee Williamson to move into central midfield and allowed Corden to take his place on the left. Five minutes into the half Colin Larkin replaced Chris Beardsley. Within ten minutes of the restart the Stags fell behind. A deep cross from the right seemed to be heading for the head of Jamie Clarke, however, the right back managed to lose the header at the far post to the much shorter McIndoe and Green was on hand to tap home the knock back. With Clarke being given the run-around by McIndoe, Stags boss Keith Curle made his final change, Rhys Day replacing Clarke which saw Luke Dimech switch to right back. However, disaster was to strike Day within 3 minutes of coming on. A cross field ball found Blundell on the right and with Day closing he tried to cross, the ball clearly struck Day on the hand but was equally clearly ball to hand, Day had no chance to move his hand out of the way as the ball was hit just a yard from his hand - unfortunately Premiership referee Mark Halsey somehow adjudged Day's handball to be deliberate, much to the disgust of the Stags players and fans behind the goal and McIndoe converted the kick. As if things couldn't get any worse the Stags were to fall even further behind and once again the goal was a calamity. Christie, some 20 yards from goal, played an awful pass to Vaughan who had to retreat deep into his own half, under pressure he was forced to return the ball to Pilkington whose clearance was mis-hit and fell straight to Brown who had the simple task of finishing. The Stags did manage to pull a goal back with ten minutes remaining, Warrington spilling the ball under a challenge by Christie and Corden being on hand to perfectly lob the ball home. Indeed the Stags were now, for the first time in the match, well on top and at last began to dominate possession. A tight finish might have ensued after more great wing play from Corden and a perfect cross found Christie unmarked with a free header at the far post - sadly his effort was poor which summed up the strikers day.

So a very poor display, most notably in central midfield and in attack, where the Stags never really competed and never controlled possession. Despite the scoreline, Pilkington had very few saves to make, it was individual errors and a terrible refereeing decision which cost the goals. Man of the match is very difficult on a day where few players shone. Liam Lawrence scored a fine goal and Tony Vaughan was solid on the left. However, Dave Artell did little wrong and probably just about deserved the award.

Man of the Match Dave Artell

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington 5 Some good catches but terrible error for 4th goal
Clarke 4 Shocker - roasted by the Donny left winger
Vaughan 7 No messing and very solid
Artell 7 Defended well under considerable pressure
Dimech 6 Did OK but not commanding in the air - was much better at right back
Lawrence 7 Fine goal but disappeared for long spells - not really his fault though
Mackenzie 5 Very poor - never got to grips in midfield
Curtis 6 Like Macca, lost the midfield battle
Williamson 6 Quiet in the 1st half, better back in the middle 2nd half
Christie 4 Absolutely terrible, no end product and no real effort
Beardsley 6 High on effort but not enough quality passing when he had the ball
Sub Line Up:
Corden (for MacKenzie, 46) 7 Should have started, gave us proper width and provided a real threat
Larkin (for Beardsley, 51) 6 Still looks rusty
Day (for Clarke, 65) 6 Did OK and like Corden, should have started
Subs not used: JWhite, Disley.
Opposition Line Up:
Warrington, Price, Albrighton, Foster, Ryan, Tierney, Doolan, Green, McIndoe, Blundell, Brown. Subs: Richardson, Morley, Barnes, Fortune-West, Ravenhill.
M Halsey (Lancashire) 6 - Handled the game well but a shockng penalty decision

Season 03/04 Reports