|Nationwide League Division 3|
|14th October 2000|
|Rob Wheldon at Field Mill|
Stags named an unchanged side from the one that suffered a 2-1 defeat at York eight days earlier. There was good news on the injury front though as striker Shayne Bradley took his place on the bench after a long injury lay-off. Ex-Forest striker Nigel Jemson lead the attack of the in-form Shrews who at the start of the game were on the same points tally as the Stags. The kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes after hundreds of fans arrived believing that they could pay for entrance on the turnstiles, however, these fans were sent to the ticket office to purchase a ticket prior to entry where a large queue soon formed - a farcical situation considering the attendance was only a paltry 2,200.
The game began badly for the Stags as in the opening minute Mark Blake was booked for a strong challenge - harsh from the referee considering the fact that for the remainder of the half he let worse challenges go unpunished. Indeed the referee was the main talking point of the half as he continued to make appalling decisions and continued to irritate both sets of supporters. Greenacre was the first Stags player to try his luck from 25 yards, but the ball flew over into the home fans in the Quarry Lane End. The action was at best sporadic and the game was untidy. Possession was even but both sides threatened very little. The Stags did have the ball in the net but Micky Boulding was ruled off-side, the referee increasing the irritation of the fans by booking the Stags striker for wasting time in the opening half hour of the first half!! On the stroke of half time the Stags took the lead and it was livewire striker Boulding who provided the much needed opening. Latching on to a neat through ball from Blake the pacey striker neatly rounded Shrews keeper Edwards and calmly slotted the ball into the empty net. Stags then forced a couple of late corners but failed to add to their lead in the injury time added by the referee.
Stags really stepped up a gear in the 2nd half and really the scoreline should have been far greater. However, the home side managed to miss a succession of chances, with the normally lethal Chris Greenacre guilty on a couple of occasions. More excellent work by Boulding provided Greenacre with his first opportunity, but somehow from just 2 yards out he managed to scoop the ball over the bar. Then a Corden corner was only cleared as far as Hicks who volleyed powerfully from 8 yards but cleared the bar. Then followed the best Stags set-piece of the season, looking for a short corner, Corden suddenly whipped a terrific pass to Clarke inside the box, the midfielders shot seemed goal-bound but deflected wide for another corner. Moments later the pace of Boulding once again cut through the Shrews back-line he cut in and unleashed a powerful shot which Edwards palmed wide. More enterprising play involving Hassell and Williams saw Blake's shot fall to Greenacre whose instinctive shot flew wide once more. Still the Stags looked as if they would score at any minute, whilst at the other end Bobby Mimms was a spectator as Shrewsbury's possession was confined to defensive and midfield areas and the odd set-piece. Towards the end the visitors brought on John Gayle and reverted to a more direct approach, using the Lincoln long throw and high balls into the Stags box, but for perhaps the first time this season, the Stags never really looked likely to concede.
After the match Stags boss Billy Dearden reflected on a rare clean sheet and three more points which have sent the Stags 10th in Division 3, just two points away from a play-off place, "It could have been 5 or 6 as we played a lot better in the 2nd half" he commented after the game. He was also very complimentary of striker Michael Boulding who has now scored 4 goals in his last 4 games and "chuffed to bits" that the Stags had managed a clean sheet. After a poor first half when the Stags were a little fortunate to go in goal ahead, they really upped their game in the second and should have had a much more flattering scoreline. The two wing-backs both did their defensive duties extremely well, and Corden in particular had an excellent game overall. Fortune had a much better game, as did both Robinson and Hicks alongside him. Bobby Hassell sat in the defensive midfield role and used the ball intelligently throughout the match. Chris Greenacre will have better days, but his strike partner Boulding was superb, cutting the Shrews defence apart with his sheer pace, on one occasion he gave the Shrews defender over 20 yards head start and still got to the ball first. He was clearly Man of the Match.
Man of the Match: Michael Boulding
|Mimms||6||Had nothing to do|
|Robinson||7||Solid at the back|
|Hicks||7||Defended well throughout|
|Fortune||7||His best game since his return|
|Hassell||8||Excellent in the defensive midfield role|
|Corden||8||His best display of the season, in both attack and defence|
|Williams||7||Did his defensive duties very well|
|Blake||6||A very early booking dampened his usual style|
|Clarke||6||Excellent when involved, but that wasn't enough|
|Boulding||9||His pace tore the Shrews apart - another great game|
|Greenacre||6||No luck in front of goal but again gave his all|
|Unused: Bacon, Bradley, Andrews, Pilkington, Asher|