|Nationwide League Division 3|
|23rd January 2001|
|Greenacre 32||Broughton 17|
Rob Wheldon at Field Mill
Heavy rain had put this rearranged game in doubt, but after work on the pitch to improve drainage the game was given the go-ahead. However, heavy rain before and during the game left many in the very low gate wondering if the game would be completed. The postponement of this fixture from the previous Saturday gave both Adam Barrett and Shayne Bradley time to resume training after injury. Stags made two changes from the side that beat Macclesfield, Bradley taking over from Boulding in attack and Corden recalled in place of Pemberton. Kidderminster, who were excellent when beating the Stags a month ago, included new loan signing Drewe Broughton.
The visitors began brightly and caused the Stags numerous problems down the left where Corden was isolated and his defensive weakness exploited. To the management's credit this was spotted and Clarke was tasked to help the over-worked Corden though this was at the expense of the effectiveness of the Stags midfield. Stags had the best early chance when Bradley should have done better when Brock's poor clearance found him in centre field but his long range effort flew wide. After a couple of near misses, with Durnin spurning a decent chance on 10 minutes, the visitors finally grabbed the lead their early play had deserved, recent loan signing from Peterborough Drew Broughton found unmarked at the far post to head home a Doyle cross. However, the Stags could feel hard done by as the goal resulted from a corner, given after a Kiddie shot had flown wide, players from both sides had moved back to the centre circle to prepare for the goal kick only to see the referee unbelievably give the corner!! Stags were pressed into action and responded well, with Mark Blake again prominent in a more attacking role in the Stags midfield. He was behind the Stags best two moments of the opening half hour, first finding Bradley who shot low but tamely at Brock and then setting up Clarke on the left hand side only to see the Stags midfielder fire wide. As it seemed the equaliser wouldn't come, the Stags deadly marksman struck, again in the right place at the right time. Corden put over a fine cross which Williams acrobatically over-head kicked towards goal, Greenacre stooping in to head the ball past Brock. Chances then came at both ends, with Mimms saving well from a long range effort right at the end of the half. Credit to both sides, for in very hard conditions it was an entertaining opening half.
Half Time 0-0
Stags were hit an injury blow when Adam Barrett, who had take on knock late on in the 1st half, failed to reappear for the 2nd half, replaced by Alistair Asher. The visitors again started the stronger of the two sides and a string of corners troubled the Stags back line. Hicks was having a tough time with Broughton and the quality of some of the Kiddie crossing was excellent. However, the Stags goal remained in tact and at the other end the home side looked just as likely to take the lead. Bradley was put through by a neat Williams pass, only to run out of steam and be tackled when preparing to shoot. From the corner Corden picked the ball up and not for the first time put in a fine cross which Blake only just failed to get his head to. In fact Bradley was looking tired and boss Billy Dearden made a change and just the right time, replacing Bradley with Boulding with over 20 minutes to go. On a sapping pitch the extra pace of Boulding was likely to cause the Kiddie defence problems, and as it proved the change paid immediate dividends. Blake picked the ball up on the edge of the Kiddie box, beat his marker and threaded a fine ball throught to Boulding whose left foot shot, his first touch of the match, was precisely fired past Brock. Minutes later Boulding's pace again caused havoc at the back for the visitors and should have resulted in a Stags penalty. Greenacre brilliantly slotted the ball through for Boulding, who was being held back from 25 yards from goal, however, his strength got him into the box where he was quite clearly hauled down. To the astonishment of the home fans the referee gave no decision - another appalling decision from a man who was clearly refereeing well above his level. Stags defended nervously at the end but managed to hold out, thanks in particular to another classy Mimms save at the end from Mackenzie's powerful shot.
A great win against an impressive Kiddie side, who if they had the Stags striking prowess would probably have won the game comfortably. However, they do not have the likes of 15 goal Chris Greenacre in their line-up and were likely to struggle once the Stags had taken the lead. Much credit should go to both sides who despite a heavy pitch and strong wind managed to give the supporters who bothered to turn up a decent match to watch. The only explanation I can think of for the appalling attendance is that people did not know the game was on. Whilst there is little doubt the Stags have disappointed so far this season, the fact is that we have lost just once at home and are moving slowly up the table with still 11 home games to play. Tonight Mark Blake did another good job in midfield and Bobby Mimms once more showed what a class act he is, Boulding did a fantastic job as substitute, perhaps for him a little worrying that he has proved devastating twice when coming on as substitute, he may find this late appearance role a more regular occurrence than he'd like!! However, my man of the match, for his selfless running, terrific passing and his 15th goal of the season is Chris Greenacre. Finally, well done to Billy Dearden and Mark Kearney for a well timed tactical switch.
Man of the Match: Chris Greenacre
|Mimms||8||Two great saves and immaculate handling in tough conditions|
|Robinson||7||Did his job very effectively|
|Barrett||6||Looked a little hampered by injury and replaced at half time|
|Hicks||6||Competed for everything but lost more in the air than usual|
|Corden||7||Weak defensively but when he had the ball was excellent|
|Williams||7||Another solid performance on the right from Willow|
|Clarke||6||Quiet but when he got the ball looked quality|
|Hassell||6||Couple of careless passes but otherwise competed well in midfield|
|Blake||8||Another fine game, did superbly to create Boulding's winner|
|Bradley||6||Rusty as you'd expect, but competed well on a heavy surface|
|Greenacre||8||Another 100% effort from Chris, clinical finish and some fine passing|
|Asher||7||for Barrett (45) - Competent display from Ali|
|Boulding||8||for Bradley (68) - Scored and should have had a penalty - excellent|
|Disley||6||for Williams (89)|
|Not Used: Pilkington, Pemberton|