Nationwide League Division 3
14th January 2001

Macclesfield Town


Mansfield Town

Blake 33
Attendance: 1, 893 

Rob Wheldon at Moss Rose

Stags welcomed back Darrell Clarke from suspension and Shayne Bradley from injury, the Stags striker, having played half an hour for the Reserves the previous Wednesday, had to settle for a place on the bench.  Macc were without ex Stags midfielder Ben Sedgemore and the recently sold Ritchie Barker and at the start of play were just one place ahead of the struggling Stags.

Backed by a larger than expected traveling contingent the Stags made a fine start and only the superb keeping of Tony Bullock kept the home side in the tie.  First, after just two minutes, he saved from Greenacre twice at his near post, the Stags striker twice firing powerfully at goal before Bullock palmed the ball away for a corner.  The corner broke to Adam Barrett inside the Macclesfield area and the Stags defender was clearly hauled back right on front of the referee - however, the referee took no action.  Bullock was having difficulty with the low sun and almost paid a heavy price when he was closed down quickly by Boulding, the striker seemed to have won the ball but it fell kindly for the keeper who managed to get his clearance away.  At the other end the Stags were lucky when Glover's header hit the post with Mimms beaten and then moments later Askey headed a right wing Durkan cross wide.  Back came the Stags and once again Greenacre warmed the hands of Bullock with a rasping drive from 20 yards.  Moments later and again Bullock had to be at his best when tipping over a superb long range effort from Greenacre which looked in all the way.  In fact it was very much the Greenacre versus Bullock show, the Macclesfield keeper winning the day.  However, Bullock was finally beaten as the Stags put together the best move of the match.  Mark Blake, at last back to his best in the middle of the park, played the ball wide to Robinson and ran into the area, Robinson neatly crossed the ball to Blake whose first time shot looped past Bullock and into the top corner - an excellent finish to a fine move and a goal Blake's early play had deserved.  Williams then superbly controlled a fine long ball by Blake and beat his man out wide, however, the cross was well cut out.

Half Time 1-0

Stags again began the 2nd half on top and soon the Bullock versus Greenacre show continued.  Having been found by a neat Hassell pass Greenacre unleashed a cracking 20 yard drive which Bullock palmed away.  Just minutes later Greenacre was again put through, this time on the right, Bullock brilliantly saved Greenacre's first effort but was beaten by his second, sadly for the Stags, the ball hit the post and flew wide.  However, the home side were now exerting more and more pressure and the Stags were grateful to Blake for his perfectly timed challenge when it appeared as though Glover was about to score.  A few minutes later and Mimms denied Glover with a fine save to his right.  Stags were now forced back and tried to hit on the counter attack.  Both Keen and Whitehead saw shots saved by Mimms and Whitehead hit the side netting from an acute angle.  Greenacre picked up an injury with ten minutes to go and was replaced by Bradley.  Stags held Macclesfield comfortably at bay until the last minute of injury time when Mimms dived to his right to save Chris Priest's header.

So the Stags were able to put their miserable away record behind them and record a vital victory as Moss Rose.  From the first minute the Stags looked up for the game, unlike they had been on several recent matches, especially away from home.  Adam Barrett once more had a fine game and he and Hicks put in a very competent defensive performance.  Chris Greenacre was extremely sharp and only the fabulous form of Tony Bullock prevented the 14 goal striker adding to his tally.  However, the marked improvement in the Stags was due to the pace and hard work of the Stags midfield and Hassell and Blake can take great credit for the fact that both Boulding and Greenacre got so much good service.  Indeed Mark Blake had by some considerable distance his best game of the season - in complete contrast to how he performed at Kidderminster, he was constantly chasing and tackling and getting forward at every opportunity.  More of the same please Mark!!  

Man of the Match - Mark Blake


Line Up Rating Remarks
Mimms 7 Two good saves though did drop a cross which could have been punished
Robinson 6 Steady but did put a few passes astray
Barrett 8 Excellent as ever, at both ends
Hicks 7 Brave and won most things in the air
Pemberton 6 Given a tough time by Durkan
Williams 7 Good game out wide and one piece of magic in the 1st half
Blake 9 Best game of the season - by a mile - fought for every ball
Hassell 7 Solid in midfield
Clarke 6 Quiet in the main
Boulding 7 Used his pace well - very harshly booked
Greenacre 8 Lively all match and only the heroics of Bullock prevented him netting
Bradley 6 Did his job when replacing the injured Greenacre
Not Used:  Lindley, Asher, Corden, Disley