|Nationwide League Division 3|
|6th January 2001|
Rob Wheldon at Field Mill
Stags were without the suspended Darrell Clarke and injured striker Shayne Bradley for the visit of Argyle, who had ex-Forest star Paul McGregor in their attack. The absence of Clarke made Stags boss Billy Dearden switch from a 3-5-2 formation to a 4-4-2 formation with Wayne Corden replacing Clarke. New signing Adam Barrett faced his old side just over a month after leaving the Home Park club.
Stags began brightly, Les Robinson forcing Argyle keeper Sheffield into an early save from his 20 yard half volley. The next couple of attempts at the visitors goal from Corden and Hicks (from around 45 yards!!) flew well over. Passes began going astray as the entertainment level plunged new depths, neither side seemingly capable of retaining possession for any length of time. A neat inter-change between Hassell and Pemberton saw Hassell's cross headed towards goal by Williams but again Sheffield saved comfortably. At the other end McCarthy fired wide with a volley from 20 yards. The best moment of the half came just after the half hour mark when ex-Imp Fleming connected with a fine volley only to see Mimms acrobatically turn the ball over the bar. Indeed so low was the entertainment that there was a prolonged cheer when Argyle No 6 Taylor hoofed the ball over the new West Stand, the first player ever to do so!! A silly foul by Hicks gave Argyle the final chance of the half but the Stags wall did its job and the danger was cleared.
Half Time 0-0
The second half was a little better from the home sides point of view and with Barrett once again outstanding Stags keeper Bobby Mimms was unemployed for the whole half. The best chance of the match came after a short corner from Corden found Pemberton whose cross found the unmarked Mark Blake just 12 yards out, however the Stags midfielder failed to direct his header on target and the ball flew well wide. Corden, having a decent match on the Stags left fired over from 25 yards while at the other end McGregor headed into the side netting. Boulding was then released by a neat Hassell pass, only for his first touch to knock the ball too close to the keeper - it was that sort of afternoon!! Barrett again denied McCarthy when a dangerous cross saw both player challenge for the ball just 3 yards from goal, Barrett heading the ball well clear and taking a blow to the head for his trouble. As the game petered out into a draw Stags took off Pemberton and brought on Disley and reverted to a 3-5-2 but this failed to change the game at all and the frustration of the home fans mounted. With just a couple of minutes to go, Fleming, who had already been booked by a rather irritating referee, then stupidly kicked the ball away after Stags had been given a free kick and was sent off. Stags brought on an extra attacker with Danny Bacon replacing Corden but the last three minutes were played in the Stags half though a late Argyle corner was again well cleared by Barrett.
Yet another poor showing from the Stags, following on from the equally bad displays at home to Carlisle and away at Kidderminster. Again the biggest fault was the way possession was given away so easily and particularly at fault today were the normally reliable Bobby Hassell and the badly out of form Mark Blake. Wayne Corden made a decent return on the Stags left and he and Williams provided the Stags only possible chance of a goal. Both strikers were starved of any decent service, though despite his attacking runs, Mick Boulding would be disappointing not to have added the end product to his good work. The defenders did their defensive duties well but only Barrett provided any impetus to the attack. Indeed, as he has been since he joined the Stags, Adam Barrett was outstanding and once again the Stags Man of the Match.
Man of the Match: Adam Barrett
|Mimms||7||One good save and good handling|
|Robinson||7||Solid display by the skipper|
|Barrett||9||Outstanding in both defence and when bringing the ball into midfield|
|Hicks||6||Defended solidly but far too much long ball rubbish|
|Pemberton||6||Did his defensive duties well but also guilty of giving away possession|
|Williams||7||Bright in possession and a threat on the right|
|Corden||7||A decent return, carried the ball well and put in a few decent crosses|
|Hassell||5||His worst game of the season - careless passing throughout|
|Blake||5||Very poor again - too casual at times and a yard behind the Argyle midfield|
|Boulding||6||Looked lively but too often his fine runs ended with no final product|
|Greenacre||6||Starved of any decent service throughout the match|
|Disley||6||for Pemberton - Battled well|
|Bacon||6||for Corden - What can you do in 2 minutes??|
|Not Used: Lindley, Asher, Lawrence|