|FA Cup Round 1 Replay|
|28th November 2000|
|Attendance: 4, 540|
Rob Wheldon at London Road
As promised Stags boss Billy Dearden made wholesale changes to the side demolished at Scunthorpe 4 days earlier. Out went the injured Hicks and Hassell and the dropped Corden and Williams. In came youngsters Craig Disley, Alistair Asher, Lee Williamson and Martin Pemberton. Only two Stags players were aged over 30, Mimms and Robinson and after Mark Blake aged 29, the rest were either teenagers or in their early twenties.
Stags began very brightly and should have been two ahead in the opening ten minutes, despite an early booking for Mark Blake for a very rash challenge in midfield. The normally lethal Chris Greenacre twice found himself with just Tyler in the Posh goal to beat, but twice saw the keeper save his goal attempt. First Les Robinson's pass split the Posh defence to put Greenacre through but the free scoring striker shot straight at Tyler who saved. Just a couple of minutes later Greenacre was presented with an even better chance, a great cross from the right by the impressive Williamson found Greenacre unmarked, but the strikers header was saved by the feet of Tyler. Stags continued to play the better football and Pemberton played a neat ball to Boulding whose pace took him past Edwards but instead of running in on goal he hesitated and the chance was lost, Blake's attempted shot from Boulding's pass was easily blocked. The first real threat on the Stags goal came well into the opening half when Jason Lee blasted well over from 8 yards. However, just a few minutes later David Oldfield put the Posh ahead with a well struck shot from 18 yards - from where I was it looked as though Mimms might have done better with the attempted save. Stags then were given a chance by a bit of indiscipline from Francis Green, the young striker showing dissent towards the referee after he had given a free kick to the Stags some 40 yards out. Green was booked for his dissent and the kick advanced 10 yards nearer goal. Greenacre's initial shot was blocked but Blake followed up with a drive that deflected wide for a Stags corner.
Stags again began the better in the 2nd half and again the home side were grateful to Tyler for preventing a Greenacre goal. Boulding cut free on the right, but instead of going for goal himself he tried to find Greenacre in the box, Tyler did well to cut out the cross and prevent Greenacre having a go at goal. This was really as good as it got for the Stags as the good work of the previous hour was spoiled by a weak defensive performance in the last half hour. Williamson made his first error of an encouraging display when he tried to dribble the ball out of defence, the youngster was dispossessed by Farrell and Mimms had to be alert to save Green's shot from the cross. Perhaps tiring, Williamson was replaced by ex-Posh winger Lee Williams to the predictable boos from the home crowd. Posh virtually sealed the tie on 71 minutes when Edwards, completely unmarked, headed home a Farrell corner. In a desperate attempt to recover the tie the Stags switched to a 3-4-3 formation, Shayne Bradley replacing Martin Pemberton. However, it was the home side who took advantage of more bad defending when Clarke raced through unchallenged and fired a terrific 20-yard shot past Mimms. Just to prove it wasn't Greenacre's night the striker then had a goal-bound effort cleared off the line but the Stags misery was completed by a fourth Posh goal on the stroke of full time when Shields again took advantage of the space given to him by the Stags defence to calmly place the ball past the helpless Mimms.
In summary this very young Stags side more than held their own for an hour of this match. They were unfortunate to go in a goal behind, though the normally lethal Chris Greenacre will reflect on two great chances early in the match which he really should have converted. Teenagers Lee Williamson and Dave Jervis really did themselves justice and Alistair Asher made a reasonable return to first team action. However, undoubtedly the Stags best player on the night was Craig Disley whose splendid tackling and neat distribution was a feature throughout. On the down side John Andrews again struggled in the centre of the Stags defence, the strikers both had below average evenings and there is a question mark over whether Mimms should have saved Posh's crucial first goal. All in all a massive improvement on last Saturday, a scoreline that flatters the home side but a worry for the Stags is how easy sides are currently finding it to score.
Man of the Match: Craig Disley
|Unused: Pilkington, Bacon, Corden|