Nationwide League Division Three
16th September 2000



Mansfield Town

Edwards 5
Williams 39, 58
Beckett 52
Attendance: 6, 793  

Martin Shaw at Saltergate

This was an appalling performance by the Stags against a rampant Chesterfield side who showed why they are the early pacesetters in the division. Indeed Stags were lucky to lose 4-0, as only the brilliance of keeper Bobby Mimms prevented several more goals. Ryan Williams showed why he was Match magazine divisional player of the year in Division 2 last season for the Spireites with a truly outstanding performance on the right side of midfield, and former Stags transfer target Luke Beckett was also in brilliant form.  Mansfield made just one change from the team that drew with Hull, with Darrell Clarke returning to the starting line-up as Danny Bacon dropped to the substitutes bench. Shayne Bradley returned from injury to claim his place on the bench at the expense of Michael Boulding.

In front of a near full-house, with over 1300 making the trip from Mansfield, Chesterfield opened the gameJamie Lomas receiving treatment very positively and took the lead after just 5 minutes. Slack defending allowed plenty of space for new signing Rob Edwards to shoot, totally unmarked from just 12 yards, and beat Bobby Mimms with a low shot just inside the far post.

Stags had to re-shuffle on 17 minutes when right wing back Jamie Lomas went down injured. He was stretchered off (see right) in agony and it looked a very nasty injury. Surprisingly, Dearden took the opportunity to bring on Shayne Bradley as Stags changed from a one man attack to two up front.

Chesterfield remained on top throughout the first half and only a magnificent last ditch challenge by Mark Blake prevented Luke Beckett making it 2-0 when he seemed certain to score. Mimms also tipped over a shot from the edge the box. But it was not totally one way traffic as Darrell Clarke struck a quick free kick just a couple of yards wide catching Chesterfield keeper Pollitt unawares.  But on 38 minutes, the Spireites went 2-0 ahead. Beckett had a chance from 5 yards but played his shot across the goal only for Ryan Williams to ghost in at the far post totally unmarked and tap the ball home from 2 yards.  Once again it was the result of abject defending from the Stags. Mansfield had a golden opportunity to pull a goal back just before half-time when a fine cross from Corden found Greenacre unmarked in the 6 yard box. But the Stags striker had to lean backwards to reach the ball and only succeeded in guiding his header over the bar.

Half-time 2-0

Just after half-time, Mark Blake conjured a moment of magic as he spotted former Rotherham keeper Pollitt just off his line. Blake's chip seemed destined for the back of the net but unluckily struck the bar and went behind for a goal-kick. And with it went Stags' last chance of salvaging something from the game as from then on, Chesterfield poured forward in wave after wave of pressure.

A mistake from Jon Fortune, surely being played out of position at left-back, gifted the ball to Luke Beckett 25 yards from goal. The former Chester striker surged forward and easily beat Mimms with a shot from 12 yards. This seemed to break the heart of the Stags as Mimms was called upon to make save after save. One particularly memorable save was when Beckett shot from 5 yards following another pin-point cross from Ryan Williams, but Mimms somehow managed to clear the ball with his left foot. Ryan Williams made it 4-0 after 58 minutes with another tap-in after Stags' defence was exposed again. After that, it was just a question of how many Chesterfield would score. The best chance fell to Sean Parrish with a diving header but Mimms was equal to it with another excellent save.  All in all, this was an embarrassing performance by Mansfield against their arch rivals. Clearly Chesterfield look like hot favourites for the title with strength in depth throughout their squad. But there was no excuse for this abject performance from the Stags. After the game, Stags manager Billy Dearden admitted his side had been lucky not to lose by 6 or 7, and said it was the first time this season he had been very upset by the performance.  Bobby Mimms had a fine game in goal and prevented an even more humiliating scoreline. Stuart Hicks had a reasonable game in defence and Chris Greenacre was, as always, hard working up front but other than that, none of the Stags' players can have been pleased with their performance.  In my opinion, it is time for Les Robinson to be played at right-back, where he had such a distinguished career for Oxford, and Jon Fortune to be played in central defence rather than out on the left which does not appear to be his best position. This would leave the way open for John Andrews to return to the team at left-back, until Martin Pemberton returns from injury. At the end of the game, Shayne Bradley looked to be hobbling once again. It seems that Stags are once again having an unlucky season on the injury front.  Mansfield now need a decent performance on Wednesday at the Dell, but, perhaps it will be more important to pick up some victories in the league, starting with Hartlepool at Field Mill next Saturday.

Man of the match: Bobby Mimms


Line Up Rating Remarks
Mimms 8 Three or four excellent saves and could not be faulted for any of the goals
Lomas 6 Injured after just 17 minutes
Fortune 5 At fault for 3rd goal and generally poor at left back
Hicks 6 Some good tackles
Robinson 5 Poor
Williams 5 Very disappointing - failed to create anything
Corden 6 A couple of decent crosses but barely in the game
Blake 5 One excellent tackle but failed to boss the midfield
Clarke 5 Disappointingly quiet
Hassell 6 Just about held his own in midfield
Greenacre 7 Worked hard as ever
Bradley 6 (for Lomas, 17 min) Failed to make an impression
Bacon 6 (for Greenacre, 76 mins)

Andrews, Williamson, Pilkington