|Nationwide League Division 3|
|10th February 2001|
|Mitchell 25||Williams 17|
|Asher (og) 35||Greenacre 39, 75, 90|
|Attendance: 1, 857|
Rob Wheldon at The Shay
Stags began without injured trio Adam Barrett, Stuart Hicks and Darrell Clarke. The injuries to Hicks and Barrett meant the Stags began the match without a recognized central defender and essentially three full backs operating in a back three. Looking at the team sheet before the game it was clear that set pieces were going to cause the Stags a lot of trouble. Craig Disley started in place of the injured Clarke as Wayne Corden and Lee Williams reverted to a wing-back role.
After an even start the Stags took the lead with a bizarre goal just after the quarter hour. A clear shove on Bradley was penalised about 30 yards from goal, Lee Williams curled in a free kick which evaded everyone, including the nearby Greenacre, and bounced over Halifax keeper Butler and into the net. However, as the early play had demonstrated there was little chance this was going to be the end of the scoring - indeed Halifax looked likely to score from every set piece and it was no real surprise when on 25 minutes the home side pulled level from a corner with Mitchell heading home and Mimms caught in no-mans land, neither going for the ball or staying on his line. Further disaster was to befall the Stags just ten minutes later when Alistair Asher chested a Rob Matthews shot, which was going well wide, past the helpless Mimms. Still the end to end nature of the half persisted and a few minutes later the Stags were back on level terms and it was Halifax born and chief tormentor Chris Greenacre who struck. Having scored the Stags winner at The Shay last season and grabbing a hat trick in this season's clash at Field Mill, the last person Halifax wanted a loose ball to drop to on the edge of their box was the Stags striker, and boy did he punish them with a splendid 20 yard right foot shot which flew past Butler. So all square at half time, so we thought, but no, another defensive farce gave the home side the lead once more right on the stroke of half time. Blake put Corden in a spot of bother, but instead of clearing the wing back dwelt on the ball, was robbed by Matthews whose cross was headed home by Jones.
Half Time 3-2
Half time predictions ranged from 6-6 to 7-2 such was the defensive ability of both sides!! However, it was the Stags who seemed to have shored up their defence, with skipper Les Robinson magnificent in rebuilding the shattered confidence of both Asher and Pemberton. Stags introduced the highly rated Liam Lawrence on 67 minutes, though it was quite a surprise when the impressive Craig Disley was withdrawn. Halifax also made a change and on loan signing Leon Mike made his debut and almost made an immediate impact when forcing Mimms to save low to his left. At the other end Lawrence almost found a way through after a great touch by Greenacre had sent him through but his touch pushed the ball too close to Butler who smothered before Lawrence could get his shot away. However, the Stags soon equalised and once more it was Greenacre doing the damage, heading home a Williams corner after Butler had failed to hold the ball under his bar. Both sides pressed for the winner but it seemed likely that each side would have to be content with a draw until the very last minute. Corden did extremely well to make room for a cross and though Greenacre's glancing header appeared to be going wide, Clarke diverted the ball past his own keeper and into the net. However, the referee awarded the goal to Greenacre and therefore the Stags striker notched his second hat trick of his career, his second of the season and both against Halifax!!
A relieved Stags
boss Bill Dearden said after the game "It was a great result, especially
after giving away three goals. It is about time we had a bit of luck. We have
been in the driving seat so many times this season and not got any reward and
our third away win of the season has been a long time in coming."
Maybe the Stags were fortunate to take all three points, on balance a draw may
well have been a fair result. Nevertheless, much credit must be given for
the way the Stags performed in the 2nd half, especially at the back, after a
poor opening half. Both Alistair Asher and Martin Pemberton had tough
opening halves, but both improved after the break. Wayne Corden also
recovered from a terrible error to play an important part in the 2nd half
revival. Man of the match is tough, especially as Chris Greenacre grabbed
a hat-trick, however, had the defence not been as solid in the 2nd half it was
doubtful that the Stags would have come away with anything - Les Robinson was
terrific throughout and the skipper fully deserves the award. Up to 12th
and Tuesday's home game with out of form Cheltenham is a must win game if the
Stags are tohave any ambition of a late play-off run.
|Mimms||5||Possibly at fault for Halifax's first goal - not convincing on crosses|
|Robinson||9||Inspirational captains display by Robbo|
|Pemberton||5||Very shaky at the centre of defence - especially first half|
|Asher||6||Nightmare first half but to his immense credit was much better in the 2nd|
|Williams||6||Scored but had a quiet game overall|
|Corden||6||Bad blunder cost the Stags a goal but made amends with some fine wing play in the 2nd half|
|Blake||6||Perhaps could have been better used in a defensive role, but battled hard|
|Hassell||7||Much better from Bobby, passed the ball well and competed for everything|
|Disley||7||Amazingly subbed by BD, but had great game - again!!|
|Bradley||6||Short on pace a few times and never troubled the Halifax keeper|
|Greenacre||9||Hat-trick for Chris, and another 100% display|
|Lawrence||7||for Disley, 67 minutes - Looked pacey and sharp - must start a game soon|
|Jervis||6||for Corden, 90 minutes|
|Not Used: Pilkington, Bacon, Boulding|