|Nationwide League Division Three|
|24th October 2000|
|Hill 49||Bacon 14|
|Mendy 75||Greenacre 46|
Report by Steve Hartshorn
What a difference a few days can make. Or should I say what a difference a different formation can make!
Stags can count themselves unlucky not to have returned from Devon with all three points but on reflection, a share of the spoils was a fair assessment of what was a highly entertaining game.
Dearden started with a 4-4-2 formation with Bacon coming in for Corden who found himself on the bench. The real surprise of the night was Dearden's decision to play Clarke on the left hand side of midfield. A decision that for the first 20 minutes indeed looked to be a master stroke.
Jervis and Clarke were combining well and young Danny Bacon was causing the Gulls a constant threat with his intelligent front running.
It was this combination that provided the Stags with the opportunity of taking the lead. A good move saw Bacon race clear into the box and fire the ball home inside the near post. Torquay keeper, Northmore leaving too much of a gap. Asked after the game if he saw the keeper positioning himself for a shot across him, Bacon said, "Did he? I don't know I just hit it!"
Moments later, it was Bacon again who almost gave the Stags what would have been a deserved 2-0 lead, but found himself annoyingly only inches behind the centred ball.
Torquay began to gain a bit of confidence as it became obvious that although the Stags front and midfield positions were dangerous, the back line were again leaving a lot to be desired. It made for an entertaining game as United edged forward and the Stags effectively broke on the break.
The second half got off to a real dream start as Chris Greenacre capitalised on a bad pass back to put the Stags 2-0 in front. The game at this point looked won, but there was still that feeling that United could get back in the game. More to do with the way the Stags had defended all season than the actual threat from the home side.
Four minutes after the Stags second goal, following a good move down the left, United, through their top goalscorer Kevin Hill, scoring his 6th of the term, pulled a goal back.
This galvanised the home side and rather like the coast line, they came forward in wave after wave and growing more and more confident.
The Stags stuck to their game plan and could have snatched a game killing third, but it wasn't to be.
Just after United's first goal of the evening, Stuart Hicks left the field of play to be replaced by Andrews. Despite being a capable replacement, the Stags back line looked a little disorganised and were thankful to quite a few timely interceptions from loanie Fortune. You couldn't help but wonder though if Hicks decision to play for 10 minutes of the 2nd half to see how his injured foot was, was the right thing to do?
The inevitable equaliser came about through the yet again inevitable non-existent marking by the Stags defence. Following a corner Gulls sub Jules Mendy found the space to pull United level.
The ensuing 15 minutes revolved around chances at both ends in what can be described as a real entertaining game. A far cry from the dross witnessed last Saturday in Wales.
Although throwing away a two goal lead can be frowned upon, credit must be given to the way the Stags went about the task of trying to gain all three points. A point I'd have probably settled for before the game, but afterwards, I couldn't help but feel we'd thrown 2 away!
Here's hoping the good work isn't wasted this Saturday at home to Southend United.
Man Of The Match - Danny Bacon - Tireless running and a constant threat.
Creditable mentions also to Mark Blake who was constantly box to box and Fortune who played better than what he has done for a while.
for Hicks 52 - 6
|Not Used: Pilkington, Williamson, Disley, Corden|