Lawrence 78, Bradley 90    

Stags were without Lee Williams, left at home suffering with a virus and Mark Blake who picked up a knee injury in the midweek reserve game with Rochdale and so once more began with an extremely young side.  Teenagers Craig Disley and Lee Williamson were joined by 20 year old Bobby Hassell and 23 year old Darrell Clarke in the Stags four man midfield, whilst teenager David Jervis and youngsters Alistair Asher and Stuart Reddington were part of a four man defence.  Indeed from the starting line-up only Les Robinson and Bobby Mimms were over 25.  Orient came to Field Mill unbeaten in 8 games and in 4th place in the division.  Former Stags striker Isyden Christie was still ruled out injured but came back to the new look Field Mill to watch his current and former side do battle. 

With the pitch playing much better than in recent weeks, the Stags took an early grip on the match and should have been ahead very early on - prompted by some neat passing between first Hassell and then Disley, Clarke found space on the left, his ball in was almost converted by Greenacre, but then fell to Lee Williamson whose low shot was cleared off the line by Beall.  Stags were totally on top and dominated possession, however in the final third of the pitch they just couldn't quite create that clear cut opportunity for either Bradley or Greenacre.  As the game wore on it looked as though the Stags might be forced to pay for not creating enough chances when twice Orient could have taken an undeserved lead.  First just before the half hour Brkovic beat the Stags offside trap but fired well over as Mimms advanced, then just a few minutes later Mimms saved well, Brkovic again the man denied from the right hand side of the Stags 18 yard box.  However, this proved just a small respite for the visitors as the Stags again poured forward, the ball just wouldn't sit down for Greenacre on the edge of the box and he did well to find the target but Bayes saved with ease.  Then after a succession of corners a short corner gave Bradley a half chance but he headed over.  Drama then followed on 40 minutes when Orient were reduced to ten men.  Having been penalised for a foul on youngster David Jervis, Orient striker Carl Griffiths for some reason elbowed Jervis as he ran past him - a stupid act for which he was rightly sent off by referee Fletcher after consultation with his assistant who was literally a yard away from the incident.  

Half Time:  0-0

Stags must have been concerned going in all square at half time after dominating so much and they began very slowly in the early stages of the 2nd half, the visitors having their best spell of the game.  Williamson did well to cut out a cross from the Orient left, and from the corner Reddington, a rock at the back, headed well clear.  Greenacre saw his looping header from a cross by Asher fly over.  Stags boss Bill Dearden decided to change things around just past the hour and withdrew Alistair Asher and introduced Liam Lawrence to play just behind the strikers in a new 3-4-1-2 formation.  The Stags continued to dominate but failed to create any clear cut chances until 12 minutes from time when the substitute did the trick for the home side.  A foul on the Stags skipper Les Robinson gave the Stags a free kick some 40 yards from goal, Lee Williamson swung the ball into the box and after the Orient defence failed to clear the ball fell to Lawrence who fired the ball home from 10 yards.  Orient almost bounced back immediately after Clarke gave the ball away on the Stags left, the ball was fed into the Stags area but Orient sub Tate failed to get on the end of the cross.  The game then opened up and the Stags had several chances to make the match totally safe.  The superb Disley almost capped a wonderful display with a shot that just missed the far post, and Bradley appeared to be fouled when running through on goal, though in fact the foul was given against the Stags man by the otherwise excellent referee.  The Stags finally made sure of the points in injury time and again Lawrence was involved, threading a great ball to Bradley who finished neatly into the bottom left corner of Bayes' goal.  Overall an excellent display by the Stags, especially first half.  Defensively the Stags looked solid with the usual solid display from Robinson matched by Reddington, Jervis and Asher.  However, it was the midfield which won the game for the Stags, where both Disley and Hassell were excellent.  A relieved Stags boss Bill Dearden said after the game "We played some good stuff in the first half but in the second it often looked as if we had the ten men."

Man of the Match:  Craig Disley

Click here for Martin's report

Attendance:  2, 356

Stags:  Mimms, Reddington, Robinson, Asher (Lawrence 63), Jervis, Hassell, Williamson, Disley, Clarke, Greenacre, Bradley.  Subs Not Used:  Pilkington, Andrews, Boulding, White

Orient:   Bayes, Joseph, Smith, McGhee, Downer (Castle 81), Harris, Griffiths, Brkovic (Pinamonte 81), Walschaerts, Beall, Houghton (Tate 46).  Subs Not Used:  Barrett, Martin 

Referee:  M Fletcher (Worcester)