Nationwide League Division 3
6th March 2001

Shrewsbury Town


Mansfield Town

Jemson 5, 83 Williams 85
Attendance: 2, 219

Rob Wheldon at Gay Meadow

Stags made two changes from the disappointing home defeat with Lincoln the previous Saturday.  The suspended Bobby Hassell was replaced by Craig Disley and Stuart Hicks made a welcome return for the still not match fit Adam Barrett.  Former Forest striker Nigel Jemson lead the attack of a Shrewsbury side fresh from two wins on the trot, the first being a 7-1 demolition of Steve Parkin's Rochdale at Spotland.

On a windy wet night both sides struggled on a heavy pitch, too often the Stags resorted to long ball tactics which the Shrews defenders handled well.  Stags had an early scare when Collins first hit the bar then saw his follow-up saved by Mimms, with a suspicion that the ball had in fact already crossed the line.  The Stags failed to take advantage of that escape and minutes later found themselves behind when Nigel Jemson sweetly finished Drysdale's left wing cross.  The Stags threatened rarely and were constantly caught off-side, though the Stags bench and players appeared less than happy with several of the flag happy linesman's decisions.  Stags first chance should have come when Greenacre was superbly put through by Jervis, however, the appalling referee decided not to apply the advantage rule after a late tackle on Jervis after he had played the ball and gave the Stags a free kick they did not want.  Bradley then came close with a long range effort which hit the side netting, but whilst the Stags dominated possession, the cutting edge was missing, both wide players creating virtually nothing for the Stags front pair.

Half Time: 1-0

The second half started much the same as the first half had ended with the Stags on top in possession terms but the home side easily handling the Stags long ball tactics.  Indeed, it was quite painful watching skilful players like Disley, Greenacre and Williams trying to do something with the long punts from the back.  In an attempt to liven things up the Stags introduced Boulding for Bradley just after the hour, but this made the Stags tactics even less penetrating and it also has to be said that Bradley was rather unfortunate to be replaced.  The Shrews seemed to have the points wrapped up when Jemson calmly finished after being put through by Rogers, though the striker appeared to use his arm to control the ball, it was no surprise when the referee, who the Stags have suffered before this season, missed the offence.  Stags were struggling and introduced youngsters Liam Lawrence and Lee Williamson to the action.  The change in style was quite startling, for the first time in the match there was pace and movement in wide areas and that extra bite brought by the tackling of Williamson and pace and strength of Lawrence - for a few minutes the Stags looked a completely different side.  The Stags were thrown a lifeline when Edwards mis-kicked a clearance straight to Williams who finished neatly from 35 yards and the Stags piled forward in the remaining 5 minutes looking for an equaliser.  However, despite good pressure the home side held on and probably deserved the three points overall.

Another bitterly disappointing display which for 80 minutes was pretty painful to watch.  I personally have always despised the long ball rubbish favoured in recent years by the likes of Lincoln, but at times this was just as bad.  There was no discernable pattern of play, no style and definitely no flair.  Only the introduction of Lawrence and Williamson changed the patters and at last the Stags looked effective and dangerous - why they were only give 6 minutes is frankly incredible.  The Stags got what their overall performance deserved and if there performance against the bottom sides this season is a yardstick we are indeed quite fortunate not to be involved in a relegation battle.  Man of the match was David Jervis who again put in a very accomplished display at left back.

Man of the Match:  David Jervis


Line Up Rating Remarks
Mimms 6 Little to do but neat
Robinson 7 Solid as usual
Hicks 6 Too much long ball stuff but defended ok
Asher 6 Defended well but distribution let him down
Jervis 8 Very accomplished
Corden 5 Created very little and practically anonymous
Disley 6 Battled hard but in the end was by-passed by long ball tactics
Blake 6 Like Disley worked hard but had little decent possession
Williams 5 Poor despite the goal
Bradley 6 Worked hard despite the atrocious service he received
Greenacre 6 Like Bradley practically starved of decent service
Boulding 6 for Bradley - failed to make an impact
Lawrence 7 for Corden - excellent, even in the paltry time given to him
Williamson 7 for Hicks - Like Lawrence should have had much longer - very promising
Not Used:  Pilkington, Bacon