|Worthington Cup, 1st Round, 1st Leg||
|22nd August 2000|
|Rob Wheldon at Meadow Lane|
This was the Stags first home game of the season, but due to the redevelopment of Field Mill, the game was played at Notts County's Meadow Lane ground. Not surprisingly, the attendance was very low, though the 1100 Stags fans made their presence felt vocally. Stags made two changes from the weekends exciting draw at Underhill, Alistair Asher was dropped to the bench as Danny Bacon played in attack whilst Michael Sisson replaced the injured Mark Blake, in a 3-5-2 formation. New loan signing Shayne Bradley was named as one of the substitutes, it is understood that the Stags and Southampton have agreed a fee for the young striker and his £150,000 move could become permanent this week.
Wrexham began well and played some neat football in midfield but rarely threatened Ian Bowling's goal. Michael Sisson put the Stags defence under pressure after losing the ball in midfield but Andrews did well to block the shot and the follow-up from Edwards flew over the bar. Wayne Corden and Darrell Clarke both began the match well and both caught the eye. After more great work out wide from Corden on 23 minutes the ball found Clarke in the Wrexham area but the young midfielders lob flew well over the bar. A minute later Pemberton was booked for a late tackle on Falconbridge. Stags were getting into their stride as the half wore on and more great passing involving Clarke and Corden saw Robinson's shot blocked by Carey. A swift counter from Wrexham after a Stags corner was foiled by the alert Clarke. Pemberton failed to shake off a knock he had sustained in the challenge on Falconbridge and was replaced by a shaven-headed Alistair Asher on the half hour. Disaster struck for the Stags on 36 minutes. Andrews appeared to have been fouled but the referee let play continue and then penalised Hicks for a challenge on the edge of the Stags box. Hicks made no contact with the Wrexham player and was incensed by the decision, so much so that his dissent cost the Stags 10 yards as the ball was moved to just 12 yards from goal. Ferguson calmly slotted his right foot shot past the wall and past the stranded Bowling. Hicks indiscipline cost the Stags dear, but the referee's decision was only one of numerous howlers he made all night. The goal set the Stags back, and on the stroke of half time Ian Bowling tipped the ball over the bar after a long range effort from Owen.
The second half was totally dominated by the Stags and they were left to rue several missed chances. Flowing, attacking football followed as the Stags tore into their higher division opponents. After brilliant work from Bacon and Clarke had released Williams on the right, Dearden in the Wrexham goal was relieved to see a defender head the ball out for a corner. From the corner Hicks managed to hook the ball back into the box for Clarke to head over. Just a minute later Corden was sent clean through by a Bacon header, but the winger scuffed his shot and the ball dribbled wide. In a rare Wrexham attack Owen again threatened from long range but this time the Stags keeper wasn't forced into action as the ball flew over. The referee was again involved in further controversy as Dearden punched into his own goal following a corner from Corden, the goal was disallowed for a foul on the keeper though the contact with him was, at best, minimal. Stags were then the beneficiary of another poor decision when on 55 minutes Carey's sliced clearance was collected by Dearden only to be judged a deliberate back pass. Wrexham then prevented the Stags taking the kick quickly but this time the referee chose not to invoke the ten yard rule for clear dissent and Wrexham went unpunished. Hicks' free kick hit the wall and Wrexham scrambled the ball clear. More good work from Bacon released Williams again on the right and the wingers cross was almost met by Greenacre's attempted overhead but the ball still found its way through to Corden who fired over from 8 yards. On 62 minutes Shayne Bradley made his Stags debut, replacing Corden who received a deserved ovation from the Stags fans. Bradley was almost immediately in the action when his cross found Bacon clear on goal, the young striker tried to go round Dearden but the keeper got his hand to the ball, however, Williams was on hand to collect the keepers save but fired wide. Another rare foray into the Stags half saw keeper Bowling again at his alert best, Andrews had left his back-pass well short but the keeper flew out of his goal and just met the ball before Falconbridge and cleared to safety. Just before the end the Stags forced another corner but Bradley was penalised for a foul on Carey as he headed towards goal.
After an even first half the Stags well and truly dominated the second half, but failed to take their chances. Wrexham were very neat and tidy, with Ferguson and Owen prominent in midfield, but were torn apart by the speed of the Stags attacks. Despite his lack of discipline in the incident which lead to the goal, Hicks again was otherwise impressive at the back. Wayne Corden and Lee Williams did some terrific work on the flanks whilst Greenacre and Bacon looked threatening all evening. Darrell Clarke had his best 90 minutes for some time and showed how effective he can be if involved throughout the game, he seemed to revel in the challenge of playing against the impressive Ferguson. It will be very difficult for the Stags to get a result in Wales, but on tonight's evidence, the Stags are not far from becoming a very powerful outfit.
Man of the Match: Darrell Clarke
|Bowling||7||Two fine saves and excellent handling throughout|
|Williams||8||Put in terrific crosses from the right, which should have been converted|
|Pemberton||7||Injured on 30 mins, hope its not serious as he really looks the part|
|Hicks||7||Powerful display marred by a lack of discipline|
|Andrews||7||Did well in the 1st, quieter in the 2nd as the Stags attacked|
|Corden||7||Brilliant on the ball at times - surprisingly subbed on 62 mins|
|Sisson||7||Energetic and enthusiastic as ever|
|Clarke||9||Involved throughout and behind most of the Stags best moves|
|Robinson||7||Getting sharper by the game and did an effective job as the holding midfield player|
|Bacon||8||Not all his tricks came off, but when they did he gave the Wrexham defence a torrid time|
|Greenacre||7||100% effort and commitment but had few chances to increase his goal talley|
|Asher||6||Slotted in well at centre half|
|Bradley||6||Looks a powerful striker, challenges for every ball and more than once beat defenders bigger than him|
Hassell, Lomas, Mimms