Mansfield Town - Review and Statistics of the season 2000/2001
by Martin Shaw
Season 2000/2001 started amid some chaos at Field Mill. Whereas Stags did at least start the season with roughly a full squad of players (unlike the previous season), the redevelopment of the North Stand and Quarry Lane ends was not complete, and Stags had to switch the first home league game of the season to an away fixture against Barnet, and play the first round of the Worthington Cup at a temporary `home` of Meadow Lane. In the week prior to the first league game, away to Cheltenham, Tony Lormor, who had been the CHAD Readers Player of the Season in the previous season and the clubs leading scorer, was sold to Hartlepool, with no obvious replacement in the pipeline. Added to that, Stags were starting the season on the back of a run of 9 successive games without a win.
However the season was to start in blistering and dramatic fashion. In the first game at Cheltenham, Stags were behind to a Mark Blake own goal, when Chris Greenacre produced possibly the finest goal the club has ever scored. Receiving the ball on the half way line from an Ian Bowling goal kick, he turned and with no Stags players near him, smacked a shot from the edge of the centre circle (a distance of fully 45.5 yards) over the Cheltenham keeper and into the net. An extraordinary effort and one which vies with a free-kick by Ian Baraclough in the mid-nineties as the finest goal that most Stags fans have ever seen. Against the run of play, Mark Blake atoned for his earlier own goal to put Stags in front, but Stags were denied a win to break their terrible run, when Cheltenham equalised in the closing moments. But it was a goal that photographic and video evidence later proved should have been disallowed as Stags keeper Ian Bowling was clearly fouled in the process. Nevertheless the game showed a fighting spirit in the Stags to come back from going behind, something that had been sadly lacking the previous season, and the same quality was shown in the next game. In the opening minutes, Mark Blake tried his luck from 35 yards and scored with a looping shot. The Stags fans behind that goal simple could not believe that lightning had struck twice in successive weeks - it was another amazing goal. Stags received various national media attention indicating that boss Billy Dearden must have the players on extra long range shooting practice! Stags then conceded 3 goals, but recovered with second half goals from Clarke and Greenacre to rescue a point. It seemed a great point at the time, though one could not have predicted that Barnet would eventually be relegated, based on their performance.
In the first leg of the first round of the Worthington Cup Stags lost 1-0 to home to Wrexham at Meadow Lane in front of just over a thousand fans. Worse to follow as Stags lost 2-0 at Plymouth and had Darrell Clarke sent off. On Bank Holiday Monday 28 August, the redeveloped Field Mill was opened and Stags welcomed Macclesfield Town, with home fans packed into the North Stand and Quarry Lane ends, and with away fans in the old Bishop Street stand along with the press. In a fantastic game, Stags were twice behind in the first half, but pulled back with Mark Blake scoring the first goal in the newly redeveloped ground, and Darrell Clarke scoring a wonderful goal with an acrobatic shot. In the second half, Stags seemed to on target for the win they desperately sought, as Clarke and new boy Shayne Bradley put them 4-2 in front. Bradley had joined for a reported £150,000 from Southampton. But 2 goals for Macclesfield broke Stags hearts. The final goal in the dying minutes was a personal disaster for Ian Bowling who dropped a routine cross, and with it ended his Stags career as Bobby Mimms came in to make the number one spot his own. Another draw followed, 0-0 at Exeter, with Greenacre hitting the woodwork twice, and young Michael Sisson suffering an injury that would end his season. But at last on 5 September, Stags won a game, unexpectedly overturning the first leg deficit to beat Wrexham 3-0 at The Racecourse, with Wayne Corden this time striking a wonderful goal.
Four days later, the worst league run in the clubs history came to end as Halifax Town were despatched 5-1 at Field Mill thanks to a Chris Greenacre hat-trick. A 1-1 draw with Hull followed before an eagerly awaited local derby with Chesterfield at Saltergate, who as it was later shown, had cheated their way to the top of the league. Stags were hopelessly outplayed and finished lucky to come away with a 4-0 thrashing. It was a humbling experience for Stags fans. A week later saw one of the great comebacks of all-time. Stags were trailing 3-1 at home to Hartlepool, with Tony Lormor having returned to Field Mill with a goal. Michael Boulding was brought on as substitute and turned the game on its head in the final 8 minutes. First he produced a great solo goal, then crossed for Greenacre to equalise. Then Wayne Corden produced yet another stunning strike, from 25 yards, arrowed into the top left hand corner of the net, to give the Stags 3 priceless points. It was turning into a season of memorable goals. A week later, optimism was maintained as Stags won their first away game with a 2-0 success to Lincoln. Stags had started the season with 21 goals from 10 league games - bettered only by leaders Chesterfield - and were right in the middle of the table. Either side of the Hartlepool game, Stags had played Premiership Southampton over two legs in the second round of the Worthington Cup, having a creditable 2-0 defeat at The Dell, before losing 3-1 at Field Mill.
After a defeat at lowly York, Michael Boulding scored the only goal in a narrow 1-0 win over Shrewsbury at Field Mill. It was Bouldings 4th goal in consecutive games, but he was only to score 2 further goals during the season as his opportunities were limited. A run of 5 games without a win followed between mid October to mid November, including a two-goal lead thrown away at Torquay in a 2-2draw, and a missed penalty at home to Southend in 1-1 draw, before spirits were lifted by a 1-0 win over Steve Parkins Rochdale at Field Mill. Chris Greenacre scored the only goal in the final minute, and the other hero was Bobby Mimms who saved a first-half penalty. But in the next league game, Stags suffered a humiliating 6-0 thrashing at Scunthorpe with Lee Williams being sent off. Just 3 days later, Stags were beaten 4-0 by Peterborough in the FA Cup first round replay, after a 1-1 draw at Field Mill. 10 goals in 2 games left Stags at a low ebb. Another defeat followed at Darlington, 2-1 with Stags conceding 2 controversial goals, along with defeat at Bury in the LDV Vans Trophy as Kevin Pilkington made a terrible error on his debut in goal. But a week later Stags achieved possibly their best result of the season as two Greenacre goals saw off Brighton at Field Mill in what was billed as a clash of the goalscoring heavyweights, Greenacre and Bobby Zamora.
Two home draws and a defeat at Kidderminster followed either side of Christmas. A much needed second away win was achieved at Macclesfield and this was followed by quick revenge over Kidderminster as Stags came from a goal down to win 2-1 with Boulding coming on as substitute to score the winner. Defeat at Carlisle, despite a wonder goal by Shayne Bradley, followed though Stags were hard-done-by as Carlisles winner was clearly shown to have gone in off a Carlisle players arm.
Friday 2 February was a special day at Field Mill as the rebuilt West Stand was opened and a crowd of 3,800, the second biggest of the season, turned up to see Stags frustrated by struggling Exeter. Exeter took an early lead, but after Wayne Corden scored yet another spectacular goal to equalise, Stags bombarded the Grecians goal but couldnt find the net. Successive wins away to Halifax (4-3) and at home to Cheltenham (2-1) catapulted Stags into 9th place in the table, their highest placing of the season, and just 7 points behind the play-offs. Confidence was high as leaders Chesterfield, whose financial and other irregularities had recently been exposed, were visitors to Field Mill and a crowd of 7,899 with 3,000 fans from Derbyshire, turned up at a buzzing Field Mill. But it was a huge let-down for the Stags as a howler by Bobby Mimms gifted the Spireites a 1-0 victory. This sparked a run of 10 games with only one victory as Stags headed uncomfortably down the table. The only victory was a 4-1 win over Barnet, achieved with 2 late goals, one an exquisite chip by Lee Williams, after Shayne Bradley had put Stags 2 ahead on the first half. Defeats at home to lowly Lincoln and York were particularly depressing and Stags were suddenly dragged into the relegation battle. Only a battling 2-2 draw at play-off chasing Blackpool raised the spirits, indeed Stags youngsters were only denied victory by a late equaliser, after Greenacre had notched two goals.
Following this run of 10 games, Stags visited Southend United on Easter Monday 16 April. In tragic circumstances, referee Mike North collapsed during the game and died shortly afterwards. The game was abandoned and players, officials and supporters alike were left stunned.
With six games of the season still left, Stags were just 7 points above bottom clubs Torquay and Halifax. But a 2-0 win over Leyton Orient, on 21 April, with goals by young Liam Lawrence and Bradley eased Stags fears and just this one win all but made Stags safe. Another victory followed just 3 days later as already promoted Cardiff were beaten 2-1 at Field Mill, and after a defeat at Rochdale, two more home wins were secured against Darlington and then Scunthorpe with Boulding again coming off the bench to net the winner. Southend and Stags were given special dispensation to play the re-arranged game after the final day of the season, in order to generate maximum proceeds to the family of referee Mike North. A win would have taken Stags above Southend into 11th place in the final table, whilst a defeat by only one goal would have seen the Stags finish just in the top half of the table. But after leading through a Lawrence volley, Stags went down 3-1, with the 3rd goal in the very last minute sending the Stags into the bottom half of the table on goal difference.
The final position of 13th was 4 places and 2 points better than the previous season. It was another topsy turvy season and one in which in the end many Stags fans were relieved to see end in mid-table safety. The highlight had been the emergence of some of the younger players, such as the reliable Disley, the talented Lawrence, and Jervis and Williamson. The goals of Greenacre had been a great asset, though his early season form had been better than his form towards the end of the season. But the undoubted star of the season was the returning Les Robinson, who had left Field Mill a decade and a half earlier, to return as captain and a steadying influence in central defence.
Chris Greenacres total of 19 league goals put him equal second in the Division 3 leading marksmen, alongside Rob Earnshaw, and behind Bobby Zamora.
Greenacres 21 league and cup goals was the best by a Stags player since Steve Whitehall scored 26 in 1997/98.
Stags scored 4 or more goals in 5 league games. This total was only bettered by Cardiff and Brighton, and equalled by Chesterfield.
There was confusion over who scored 2 of the goals during the season. The final goal in the 4-3 win at Halifax was initially credited to Chris Greenacre. This would have given him his second hat-trick of the season both against Halifax. But 3 weeks later, it was revealed that the goal was officially credited as an own goal (after the referee changed his mind). In the very next game, the second goal in the 2-1 win at home to Cheltenham was credited to Shayne Bradley by the Press Association. However in some places the goal has been credited as an own goal. No official ruling was ever given (note that there are no panels of judges in the Nationwide League they only exist for the Premier League). In this review, I have credited the goal to Bradley, as per the Press Association. Stags historian Paul Taylor has credited it as an own goal in his statistical records.
Stags scored 64 league goals. Only 6 clubs scored more (including, remarkably, Barnet who were relegated).
Stags conceded 72 league goals. Only Barnet and Torquay United conceded more goals.
Stags failed to score in 12 out of 46 league games, compared to 20 out of 46 the previous season.
Stags went 14 games without a league win (9 games the previous the season and the first 5 games of this season) between 17 March and 9 September 2000. This was the worst run since joining the Football League in 1931, beating the previous record of 12.
Stags failed to win more than 2 consecutive games all season. However they did win the final 4 home games of the season. The total of 12 points from the final 6 games of the season left them equal top (with Hull) of the `current form` table.
Chris Greenacre was Stags only ever-present player, including an appearance as substitute at Bury in the LDV Vans Trophy. Les Robinson was on course for being an ever-present, but missed the last 2 games of the season through injury.
Michael Boulding came on as substitute in 23 league and cup games. This was the most since Iyseden Christie came on in 26 league and cup games in 1998/99. Danny Bacon came on in 18.
Stags handed league debuts to 3 players (David Jervis, Andy White and Stuart Reddington), compared to 12 the previous season.
Stags average home league attendance was 2,667. This was a rise of 3% from the previous season average of 2,593. Highest (home) was Chesterfield 7,899. This was the highest at Field Mill since March 1992 when 8,333 turned up for a game against Burnley. Lowest (home) was Barnet 1,623.
Les Robinson swept the board of Player of the Season awards (Players Player of the Year, Stags Supporters Club, SOS, CHAD, Mansfield 103.2). Craig Disley won the Mansfield 103.2 Young Player of the Year award. Jamie Clarke won the Jack Retter Award for most promising youth team player.
No Stags player made it into the Division 3 Team of the Season, as chosen by Division 3 players.
Chris Greenacre was sixth in the FourFourTwo magazine Division 3 Player of the Season, chosen by supporters. No other Stags player was in the top 50.
Craig Disley won the Match Magazine Matchman of the Month award for April. He was the first Stags player to do so since Bobby Hassell the previous season.
Stags used 27 players in league and cup games, compared to 35 the previous season. Stags used only 2 loan signings (Fortune and Reddington).
Stags disciplinary record of 47 yellow and 3 red cards (league games only) put them 11th out of 72 league clubs in the Nationwide Fair Play League. The calculation also took into account number of free-kicks. The disciplinary record was slightly worse than the previous season of 46 yellow and 1 red card. Mark Blake picked up the most yellow cards, 11, exactly the same number as he picked up the previous season.
My selection of goals of the season:
|1st||Chris Greenacre||v. Cheltenham (A)|
|2nd||Mark Blake||v. Barnet (A)|
|3rd||Wayne Corden||v. Hartlepool (H)|
|4th||Wayne Corden||v. Exeter (H)|
|5th||Wayne Corden||v. Wrexham (A) (second)|
|6th||Darrell Clarke||v. Macclesfield (H) (first)|
|7th||Shayne Bradley||v. Carlisle (A)|
|8th||Lee Williams||v. Barnet (H)|
(Division 3 unless stated)
|Cheltenham Town||A||2-2||Greenacre, Blake|
|Barnet||A||3-3||Blake, Clarke, Greenacre|
|Macclesfield Town||H||4-4||Blake, Clarke 2, Bradley|
|Wrexham WC1/1||A||3-0||Corden 2, Greenacre|
|Halifax Town||H||5-1||Blake, Greenacre 3, Williams|
|Hartlepool United||H||4-3||Greenacre 2, Boulding, Corden|
|Lincoln City||A||2-0||Boulding, Clarke|
|Torquay United||A||2-2||Bacon, Greenacre|
|Peterborough FAC1||H||1-1||Greenacre (pen)|
|Halifax Town||A||4-3||Williams, Greenacre 2, OG|
|Cheltenham Town||H||2-1||Blake, Bradley|
|Barnet||H||4-1||Bradley 2, Greenacre, Williams|
|Lincoln City||H||2-3||Bradley, Blake|
|Blackpool||A||2-2||Greenacre 2 (1 pen)|
|Leyton Orient||H||2-0||Lawrence, Bradley|
|Cardiff City||H||2-1||Bradley, Greenacre (pen)|
|Darlington||H||3-2||OG, Hassell, Lawrence|
Player statistics 2000/2001
(includes League, FA Cup, Worthington Cup, LDV Vans Trophy)
|Squad Number||Player||Apps (sub)||Goals||Bookings (sent off)|
|2||Alistair Asher||27 (7)|
|3||Martin Pemberton||19 (2)||1||2|
|7||Lee Williams||41 (6)||4||3 (1)|
|8||Darrell Clarke||34 (2)||7||5 (1)|
|9||Shayne Bradley||22 (8)||8||1|
|10||Chris Greenacre||52 (1)||21||1|
|11||Wayne Corden||37 (3)||5||2|
|12||Bobby Hassell||42 (2)||1||7 (1)|
|14||Mark Blake||44 (3)||8||11|
|16||Michael Sisson||3 (2)||1|
|17||Danny Bacon||9 (18)||2||1|
|18||Michael Boulding||15 (23)||6||2|
|19||John Andrews||11 (3)||2|
|20||Craig Disley||18 (8)||4|
|22||Andy White||0 (4)|
|23||David Jervis||19 (5)||1|
|24||Lee Williamson||12 (9)|
|25||Liam Lawrence||7 (11)||4||1|
|26||Jamie Lomas||5 (2)||1|
|TOTAL||53 games||70||57 (3)|
Link to 1999/2000 statistics