2nd August 2000
Rob Wheldon at Causeway Lane
Stags fielded a mainly young side sprinkled with a few more experienced first teamers for the trip to the picturesque town of Matlock and their Causeway Lane ground. Stags had former Man Utd keeper Kevin Pilkington in goal with the experienced Blake and Hicks partnered at the back by Asher. The five across the middle are all youngsters aiming to break into the first team this season, and the young strikeforce of Bacon and White is a highly promising one. In probably the most scenic spot to watch a football match the only thing that could have spoilt the evening was the pitch, which had bare patches and long grass which made the Stags usual passing game quite difficult. However, both sides overcame the indifferent pitch to produce an excellent game of football.
Stags were first to put pressure as Andy White fired narrowly wide after neat work by Bacon on the Stags left. Soon after though Pilkington was brought into action making an excellent save from 20 yards on 18 minutes. Jervis then headed a long cross by the impressive Disley straight at the keeper as the game ebbed and flowed, both sides spreading the ball around neatly and both causing each other problems though the more experienced Stags defensive trio handled the very pacey Matlock strikers well. White again came close for the Stags, firing just wide and Willis volleyed another excellent ball by Jervis wide from just 7 yards, though the young Stags midfielder was stretching for the ball.
The Stags replaced Blake with Andrews as second half continued very much in the same vein as the first. However, the Stags began to dominate possession with Disley and Bacon very conspicuous. Indeed Bacon nearly scored the opening goal of the game when he ghosted past his marker with a deft back-heel only to be denied by the Matlock keeper. From the corner Williamson then repeated Bacon's trick only to see his cross cleared by a Matlock defender. Les Robinson replaced Stuart Hicks on 65 minutes and slotted into the defensive three. Moments later Liam Lawrence replaced Lee Williamson in the centre of midfield. The Stags finally, and deservedly, broke the deadlock on 75 minutes when a superb White pass was slotted home by Jamie Lomas, his third goal of the pre-season. Just minutes later Danny Bacon broke free of the Matlock defence but turned away in frustration as his calm finish hit the foot of the post and ran free. Lawrence then broke free but saw his effort flash well wide. Gibson replaced Pilkington for the final 10 minutes and Bacon was replaced by Williamson (his second appearance of the game) when Bacon took a slight knock on the left hand side.
All in all a good work-out for the Stags against a side who only recently beat a strong Chesterfield side 3-1. Matlock had three very quick strikers who would not be out of place in the third division and defended well against some strong Stags pressure in the 2nd half. With several first teamers rested this was a good opportunity for those trying to get in the first team, one which was not wasted by either Craig Disley or Danny Bacon, who were both excellent all evening. Les Robinson would also have enjoyed his 25 minutes, and looked extremely comfortable in possession as all the play revolved around him in the latter stages.
Man of the Match: Craig Disley
|Pilkington||8||Exemplary handling throughout|
|Asher||6||No errors and very solid|
|Hicks||7||Strong in the air and in the tackle|
|Blake||6||Not his best position, but coped well|
|Lomas||7||Scored again and is having an excellent pre-season|
|Jervis||7||Couple of fine crosses and looked comfortably in possession|
|Willis||6||Fairly quiet game for Scott|
|Disley||8||All action display from Craig - very promising|
|Williamson||6||Good on the ball, but not involved for long enough spells|
|Bacon||8||Skill, pace and unlucky not to have scored - all in all a standard Danny display|
|White||6||Surrendered possession a little too easily but did well to create the goal|
|Andrews||7||Reliable as ever|
|Robinson||7||Oozed class with every touch - seemed to have much more time than others|
|Lawrence||6||Used his pace well|
|Gibson||6||On for last 10 minutes|
On for last 10 minutes