|Nationwide League Division 3||
|28th October 2000|
|Greenacre 7||Carruthers (pen) 16|
|Rob Wheldon at Field Mill|
Stags were without the suspended centre half Stuart Hicks for the visit of Southend, who arrived at Field Mill unbeaten in 11 games - quite how they kept that record in tact is still a mystery, though some of the discussion would have to revolve around another completely inept referee. Dave Jervis continued at left back whilst Bobby Hassell was moved to right back to allow Robinson to replace Hicks alongside Fortune at centre half. Wayne Corden was recalled on the left. Another poor home crowd saw a game played out in terrible weather with driving rain and strong wind throughout the game.
Stags began well on top and produced some excellent flowing passing almost from the 1st whistle. On 7 minutes the Stags took a deserved lead. Wayne Corden thread an inch perfect through ball to Chris Greenacre who calmly lobbed Southend keeper Woodman for his 10th goal of the season. It took 15 minutes for the visitors to register a shot after misplaced pass by Hassell, the ball deflecting off Fortune and flying over from a corner. The Stags failed to clear the corner and in a mêlée on the edge of the box the referee adjudged that Chris Greenacre had tripped Roget inside the box - the decision was at best harsh but fairly typical of his overall performance. The Stags players protested furiously, Mimms was booked for his trouble but in the end the kick was converted low to Mimms' right, the Stags keeper sent the wrong way. Throughout the half, indeed the match, the referee's ineptitude defied belief. Stags soon bounced back and on 20 minutes another incisive move saw Clarke released by a deft Bacon header, however the Stags midfielder scuffed his shot and despite a deflection was collected by Woodman. More good work by Corden, having his best half of the season, saw Williams presented with a shooting opportunity but he screwed his shot well wide. Corden again attacked down the left and when his cross was cleared Williams found Blake whose shot flew over. Jervis then got forward a minute later and his fine cross was met by Greenacre but volleyed just wide. There was a rare threat to the Stags goal when Clarke's header was badly directed and Fitzpatrick saw his 20 yard shot well saved by Mimms. Another neat move saw Bacon run towards a loose ball in the box, and after being shoved by Roget the referee finally gave the spot kick - again the decision appeared harsh, though a challenge on Greenacre only a second after the shove on Bacon would probably have led to the kick being awarded anyway. However, leading scorer Greenacre fired his spot kick straight at Woodman and then saw his header from the rebound strike the foot of the post and fall to safety. On the stroke of half time Corden cut across the pitch and released Williams who cut in from the right and fired his shot narrowly over. A very one-sided opening half but unfortunately for the Stags they failed to take their chances, whilst the referee handed Southend their only chance, and so the teams went into half time all square.
With the weather worsening and the floodlights now on the pattern of the game remained unchanged, with the home side dominant but unable to capitalise on the few chances created. On 50 minutes Jon Fortune embarked on a 60 yard run and after swapping passes with Bacon saw his low shot well saved by Woodman. At the other end the otherwise impeccable Les Robinson almost handed Carruthers a golden chance when his attempted chip to Hassell fell well short, however, both Jervis and Hassell prevented the striker getting a shot away and the danger was cleared. On 53 minutes the Stags wasted the best chance of the half, Greenacre found Clarke in space on the right of the area and after cutting in he saw his shot well saved by Woodman, undoubtedly Southends best player on the pitch. On the hour Greenacre was put through by Clarke's long pass, but sadly his first touch was poor which allowed Woodman to claim the ball at the strikers feet. On 75 minutes Maher had Southends only meaningful attempt on goal in the 2nd half, but the ball flew wide. With 10 minutes left Greenacre almost gave the Stags their deserved victory, his shot from 15 yards though cannoned off Roget and was cleared. Towards the end Michael Boulding replaced the hard working Danny Bacon, but was given really too little time to make any impression.
A fine performance from the Stags, marred only by the result which should have been markedly in the home sides favour. Chris Greenacre scored another fine goal but then missed the Stags best chance of all three points when blasting his penalty straight at Woodman. For a side 5th Southend were poor, one of the worst sides to visit Field Mill this season, which makes the result even more disappointing. Indeed had it not been for the gift of a goal from the referee Southend would not have scored. The entire back four of the Stags did very well, their distribution was excellent throughout and limited Southend to very few, if any, scoring opportunities. Wayne Corden also did very well on the left and the strikers worked well together. Man of the match is an extremely difficult choice, it could have gone to any of the back four, however, for one so inexperienced at this level David Jervis impressed immensely with his calmness under pressure and excellent ball distribution.
Man of the Match: David Jervis
|Mimms||7||Safe handling throughout|
|Robinson||8||One error marred an otherwise exemplary display by the skipper|
|Fortune||8||His best game since his loan spell began|
|Hassell||8||Sponsor's man of the match, some great passing and solid defending|
|Jerivs||8||Like Hassell, impressed throughout - a great prospect|
|Williams||6||Too many stray passes,when in front of goal seemed to rush his shots|
|Corden||8||Terrific in the 1st half, quieter in the 2nd but still effective|
|Blake||6||Like Williams gave the ball away too often|
|Clarke||6||Had a great chance but was fairly quiet|
|Bacon||7||Worked hard throughout though had few chances to strike at goal|
|Greenacre||7||Scored a great goal but then missed a penalty - a mixed afternoon|
|Boulding||6||Only 5 minutes!!|
|Not Used: Disley, Andrews, Pilkington, Asher|