|Notts County Cup|
5 Aug 2000
Rob Wheldon at Meadow Lane
Stags were without the injured Michael Sisson, Bobby Hassell and John Andrews for the County Cup tie with Second Division neighbours Notts County. All five new signings, Hicks, Lomas, Pemberton, Robinson and Corden started the match, as did keeper Ian Bowling who had recovered from a slight injury. For Notts, ex-Stags keeper Darren Ward was in goal, despite mounting speculation about his future at Meadow Lane.
In front of an appallingly low home support the Magpies made the brighter start and dominated the opening exchanges. However, the Stags soon found their feet and mounted a string of attacks without testing Ward. County then launched a quick counter attack on 13 minutes which saw them take the lead. Hicks failed in his bid to win the ball in the centre of midfield and Stallard found Hughes completely free who ran towards Bowling and slotted home neatly. Wayne Corden was particularly conspicuous on the Stags left and his corner nearly created the Stags first chance. After his corner had been headed back to him by Hicks the winger then hit a perfect right foot cross into the danger area only to see Redmile head clear. Stags then wasted their best opportunity of the match on 33 minutes after Lormor had flicked on a Lomas throw to find Pemberton unmarked 12 yards from goal. However, the new signing blazed his right foot shot over the bar and into the disappointed Stags fans behind the goal. Ian Bowling was forced into his first save after a quick free kick almost caught the Stags out - the experienced Stags stopped flew to his right to palm the ball wide. Just five minutes later Bowling was again called upon to make another save, this time from Stallard at point blank range. The out of contract keeper was certainly making his point to Stags boss Billy Dearden. Stags second best chance of the game came just two minutes before half-time. Greenacre found Lormor in the box, the striker tried to turn to shoot but saw Lomas free on his right, his pass found Lomas but the young winger took a little to long to get his shot away and it was blocked by the scrambling Redmile. Corden's subsequent corner was headed over by Hicks.
Lee Williams replaced Jamie Lomas at half time. Stags began in positive fashion and Greenacre saw his fine right foot shot narrowly miss after just 3 minutes of the 2nd half. At the other end County almost grabbed a second when Stallard headed over though the Stags almost equalised when an audacious attempt by Greenacre to lob Ward narrowly failed when the ball went just over the bar. On 53 minutes Pemberton took a knock and need lengthy treatment though he was ok to continue. On 59 minutes the Stags fell further behind when both Robinson and Hicks failed to prevent a County cross from the left and Dermott was on hand to slot the ball past the unprotected Bowling. Moments later Danny Bacon replaced Lormor. On 68 minutes Greenacre broke through the County defence but appeared to get the ball stuck under his feet and the chance was wasted. Just moments later Ian Bowling superbly punched clear a very dangerous left wing cross. Fifteen minutes before the end Pemberton picked the ball up and after beating a couple of players fired narrowly over. On 80 minutes Clarke was given a great chance by Bacon but Ward saved the Stags midfielder's low shot.
A fairly average match in which the Stags gave a fairly average performance. On the positive side there were good displays from Asher and Bowling but on the down side Hicks played too many long hopeful balls and Lormor really failed to control possession in the last third. There were further quiet performances from Clarke and Lomas, though Pemberton impressed in the 2nd half, as did Greenacre. Ian Bowling made two excellent first half saves and looked the class keeper we know he is - it's time the club realised this and gave him the contract he deserves.
Man of the Match: Ian Bowling
|Bowling||8||Three very high quality saves from an excellent keeper|
|Asher||8||Looked a class act on the right side of defence|
|Hicks||6||Poor distribution and could have prevented County's opener|
|Robinson||6||Steady at the back if a little rusty|
|Corden||7||Looked very sharp but didn't get the ball in attacking areas enough|
|Lomas||6||Very quiet apart from one decent chance|
|Clarke||6||Still too quiet for a player of his ability|
|Pemberton||7||Another strong midfield performance marred by a poor miss|
|Blake||7||Powerful midfield performance|
|Lormor||6||Never got the sort of service he needs|
|Greenacre||7||Looked sharp in possession and had a couple of decent efforts at goal|
|Williams||6||Failed to shine on the right|
|Bacon||6||Fairly quiet though didn't get the ball too often|
Disley, White, Gibson