|Nationwide League Division 3|
|9th September 2000|
|Blake 5||Fitzpatrick 33|
|Greenacre 16, 72,88|
|Rob Wheldon at Field Mill|
The Stags were without long term injury victims Michael Sisson, Martin Pemberton and Shayne Bradley who were joined on the sidelines by Darrell Clarke who was serving a one match ban for his sending off at Plymouth. Danny Bacon began in attack with Chris Greenacre and on-loan defender Jon Fortune came back into the side after Charlton refused to allow him to play in the midweek cup win at Wrexham. There was also a place on the bench for on-loan keeper Kevin Pilkington.
Stags began in confident fashion and controlled possession for long spells. Their reward for the good start came as early as the 5th minute when after Williams and Hassell had combined well on the Stags right, Williams delivered an inch perfect cross which was met by Mark Blake to head home his 4th goal of the season. Stags were pulling the Halifax defence apart, with Greenacre in particular giving the visitors a torrid time. However, Halifax should have squared the game when Jones was clean through with just Mimms to beat, but screwed his shot wide. Stags responded well to that warning and went further ahead on 16 minutes when Greenacre calmly slotted a neat Bacon header home from close range. Though now two goals down Halifax were starting to impose themselves on the game and were the better side for the remaining 20 minutes of the half, the Stags early fluent passing had deserted them. Stuart Hicks repelled almost every free kick and long throw to keep the Shaymen at bay. However, Hicks was injured in a collision of heads and needed lengthy treatment off the pitch. This proved vital as the visitors pulled a goal back through Fitzpatrick who converted a shot which was going wide. Danny Bacon had conceded possession in midfield and the Stags were caught out at the back. Halifax almost pulled level when a header from a right wing corner hit the top of the bar and went over.
The second half began as the first had ended, with the Stags looking nervous in possession and the visitors looking the more likely scorers. Mimms had to palm away a long range shot and then had to be brave to punch clear the resultant corner. The home fans nerves were soon calmed by Greenacre's second goal of the game, and again it came after fine work by Williams and Lomas on the Stags right. Lomas found Williams in the inside right position, his instant control and return pass to Lomas split the Halifax defence apart, Lomas crossed the ball low to Bacon whose shot was parried but only fell to Greenacre who slotted home. Now the Stags were rampant, Michael Boulding replaced Danny Bacon and his pace immediately unsettled the Halifax defence. Greenacre was denied a penalty when after some great skill on the touchline he was clipped in the box by Clarke. Ten minutes after the introduction of Boulding, Williams got the goal his performance had deserved when neatley finishing a superb Greenacre pass. Dave Jervis replaced the excellent Hicks on 85 minutes. Soon after the Stags were 5-1 up, with the outstanding Greenacre completing one of the most deserved hat-tricks you are likely to see, after first Boulding and then Williams had seen their shots saved by Butler, Greenacre followed in to slot home. Still the Stags poured forward and Boulding should have made it six when put clean through by his strike partner, however Halifax keeper Butler saved well.
For the first 25 minutes and last 25 minutes this was as good as you will see from the Stags. In between the visitors were the dominant force and the scoreline is probably harsh on them. Clarke had a fine game at the back for the visitors, without him the scoreline could have been even worse, but in reality the Halifax defence could not cope with the movement of Greenacre, Bacon and then Boulding. The Stags did have their nervous moments in defence, but Hicks was again a tower of strength whilst Fortune perhaps needs a couple more games to sharpen up. Most of the Stags moves came from the right where both Lomas and Williams combined well and in the middle Bobby Hassell and Mark Blake had good games. Man of the match has never been easier, I will be amazed if any of the local media disagree that Chris Greenacre, even had he not scored the goals, was outstanding.
Man of the Match: Chris Greenacre
|Mimms||7||Handled everything competently|
|Lomas||8||Linked well with Willow and allowed him to get forward more|
|Robinson||7||Tidy enough at the back|
|Hicks||9||Won almost every header in another fearless display|
|Fortune||7||Occasionally dwelt on the ball but did well overall|
|Corden||7||Flashes of his skill, but not given enough service to shine|
|Williams||8||Terrific cross for Blake's opener and a livewire throughout|
|Blake||8||Fine goal and another solid display from Blakey|
|Hassell||8||Used the ball very well in midfield|
|Bacon||8||Involved in two of the goals and worked well with Greenacre|
|Greenacre||10||Maximum effort equalled maximum reward - magnificent throughout|
|Boulding||7||for Bacon 73, Very sharp and ran the Halifax defence ragged - should have scored late on though|
|Jervis||6||for Hicks 85|
|Williamson||6||for Williams 89|