|Nationwide League Division 3|
|17th October 2000|
Rob Wheldon at Field Mill
Stags named an unchanged side from the one that beat Shrewsbury on Saturday. However, there was more bade news on the injury front when Shayne Bradley was ruled out for another 4 weeks after aggravating the ankle injury that has already kept him out of action for a month. Blackpool gave a debut to John O'Connor and also had in their ranks Paul Simpson, the ex-Derby midfielder.
The visitors began quickly and soon took control of the vital midfield area. Stags were struggling to retain any sort of possession and too often resorted to the long ball tactics that failed in the 1st half against Shrewsbury on Saturday. However, though Blackpool dominated possession the Stags still managed to create the best two chances of the half. First Greenacre was found inside the box by Corden but his neat flick flew over the bar. Then Williams found space on the right hand side of the area but his shot was also too high. Blackpool continued to control possession some 40 yards from the Stags goal but rarely threatened to take the lead. Their best chance came on 35 minutes when Clarkson headed wide after good work by the Blackpool left back.
The Stags certainly began much better though still all the passing and controlled possession was done by the visitors and the long stuff by the home side. A Blake through ball was headed on by Greenacre which found Clarke free in the area, however, the midfielder's shot flew disappointingly wide. Only the pace of Boulding threatened an opening for the Stags and twice he managed to get in behind the Blackpool defence only to see his low crosses evade any Stags striker in the six yard box. At the other end Simpson saw his 25 yard lob beat Mimms but also the bar as the ball landed on top of the net. Caig was then fortunate when dropped a Corden cross and saw the ball narrowly evade Greenacre just a few yards from goal. Disaster struck for the Stags on 77 minutes when Hicks was penalised for a challenge on the edge of the box. Though we were quite a distance from the offence, contact looked to be marginal. The free kick was well struck by Simpson but should have been cleanly taken by Mimms, however, the ball squirmed out of his grasp and was slid home by Wellens. Despite increased pressure the Stags rarely threatened to equalise. The visitors defenders handled the increasing flurry of long balls well and once more the only danger stemmed from the speed of Boulding. A long ball from Fortune found Boulding on the left, he outpaced the defender but was hauled down just outside the box. Sadly, as has been the case too often this season the Stags set piece was poorly executed and Caig made a comfortable catch.
A bitterly disappointing display by the Stags, who were out-passed by an impressive Blackpool side, who are clearly much better than their current lowly league position. When at their best, the Stags have been able to pass as well as any other side, however, like the first half on Saturday there was far too much long ball rubbish which gave both Greenacre and Boulding little opportunity. A rare error by Bobby Mimms eventually cost the Stags a point but in reality the visitors deserved the points for their dominance of the midfield area where the Stags never exerted and real control. Whilst Blackpool created little, they also managed to prevent the normally lethal Stags attack from scoring and saw out the final 15 minutes with little fuss. Very few of the Stags players did themselves credit with tonight's performance, only Les Robinson and Michael Boulding had good games, the rest were very average. So the Stags have now dropped to 13th place though still only 3 points off a play-off place. However, their form will need to improve drastically if they are to get any points from two tough away games at Cardiff and Torquay in the next 7 days.
Man of the Match: Michael Boulding
|Mimms||5||Bad error cost the goal|
|Robinson||7||Tidied up well at the back|
|Hicks||6||Lost count of how many times he kicked the ball over the Bishop St|
|Fortune||6||Looked like Bambi on Ice at times - needs bigger studs|
|Hassell||6||Busy but never grasped control of the midfield|
|Corden||6||Again did his defensive duties well, but created little in attack|
|Williams||6||Like Corden, created little|
|Blake||6||Not one of his better nights|
|Clarke||6||Missed a couple of good chances, otherwise quiet|
|Boulding||7||The likeliest provider of a goal - worked hard throughout|
|Greenacre||6||Needs a goal|
|Bacon||6||No idea what he is expected to do with only 5 minutes!!|
|Not Used: Disley, Andrews, Pilkington, Asher|