Martin Shaw at Roots Hall

This game was abandoned just before half time as referee Michael North collapsed in the centre circle. It did not appear as if he was pushed over but suddenly he fell flat on his face. Immediately, concerned players called for assistance from the touchline and St.John’s Ambulance staff and the Southend United club doctor were on the pitch within seconds. They apparently tried to resuscitate him as he had suffered a heart attack. The players were soon led off the field and the Mr North was stretchered off the field and quickly taken to the nearby Southend General Hospital. Within 15 minutes it was announced within the ground that it had been decided by the officials of the clubs that the game was being abandoned as a mark of respect to the family of Mr North. It was announced at 6.15pm that Mr North had died and all at Mansfield Town including supporters, players and officials send condolences to Mr North’s family.  The game itself had been a quiet affair after kicking off 10 minutes late due to an accident on the main A127 road from London. Stags had made 4 changes from the goalless draw against Torquay with Asher, Jervis, Blake and Bradley replacing Hassell, Williams, Lawrence and Boulding. Les Robinson, Dave Jervis and Lee Williamson were the pick of the Stags side in a solid though unspectacular performance. The home side were restricted to just a couple of opportunities and were unlucky not to score when a header bounced into the ground and up over Bobby Mimms onto the bar before being hooked away to safety by Darrell Clarke. The other good chance for Southend came when a header went a couple of feet wide after a home striker rose above Alistair Asher.

Stags failed to create any clearcut opportunities of their own. Greenacre had one shot that flew well wide and had another header that fell weakly into the keeper’s arms. Other than that it was mostly a midfield scrap with little goalmouth action. Nevertheless Stags would have been happy with the state of play and a good chance of picking up a valuable point in a game that looked like it could be heading for a 0-0 draw.

No new date for this game is yet agreed.   Halifax’s win over Macclesfield means that Stags are just 5 points off the bottom, even though there are 7 teams below the Stags. All those teams, apart from Lincoln, have played more games than Stags, but it is nevertheless looking very tight. Barnet now appear to be in the most vulnerable position having just 3 games left and only being 1 point above Halifax and 4 below Stags.

Man of the Match – Les Robinson

Mimms 6, Asher 6, Robinson 7, Reddington 6, Jervis 7, Williamson 7, Blake 6, Disley 6, Clarke 6, Bradley 6, Greenacre 6.  Subs not used: Pilkington, Hassell, Lawrence, Boulding, Williams.