Murray 57, White 79    
Saturday 6th April 2002 - Nationwide League Division 3
Attendance: 3, 996 
The Stags rested Lee Williamson and were without Captain Les Robinson for the clash with the Pirates.  Stuart Reddington came in for Robinson after impressing at Luton last Monday, and Scott Sellars made his full home debut.  Allen Tankard returned to the bench after recovering from a hamstring tear.  Bobby Hassell, at just 21 years old, capped a terrific season for him with the Captain's arm band, a truly well deserved honour for the young Stags full back.  Rovers included winger Wayne Carlisle, a recent signing from Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the season.

The Stags began kicking into a strong wind and Rovers were first to try their luck on goal, a cross from the right headed wide by Ommel.  However, on 5 minutes the Stags almost took the lead.  Disley was fouled on the edge of the box and Sellars curled a superb free kick around the wall and past the keeper but onto the inside of the post, the ball rebounded out to Disley who hooked his shot over the bar.  A couple of minutes later White superbly flicked on Murray's pass into the path of Greenacre whose shot was hit tamely at Rovers keeper Howie.  Pilkington almost made an error when his clearance hit a Rovers attacker, the ball though flew out for a goal kick.  White again caused havoc in the Rovers defence, breaking free on the left after a good ball from Disley, his great low cross just evaded Greenacre's slide.  The Stags were well on top and missed another great chance just before the half hour.  Once more it was the outstanding White flicking on for Greenacre, this time the strikers shot was low and powerful but Howie produced a terrific save to push the ball wide.  Shore tried his luck from distance in a rare Rovers attack but the ball flew well over.  Corden then managed to get to the bye-line and put in a good cross, as White jumped he looked to be impeded but the referee (not for the first or last time in the game) gave nothing and the danger was cleared.  Greenacre had his third attempt on goal, again set up by White, saved by Howie as the Stags laid siege on the Rovers goal.  Just before the break Greenacre managed to break his way through the Rovers defence but again Howie blocked his goal bound effort.  On the stroke of half time White headed wide from a Corden cross.  Incredibly the Stags went in 0-0 but with the wind behind their backs 2nd half most Stags fans felt sure it was only a matter of time before Howie was beaten.

Half time 0-0

The opening ten minutes of the half were fairly tight, with Rovers managing a couple of foray's into the Stags half but Pilkington remained untroubled.  It took a moment of real class from Adam Murray to finally break the deadlock and ease the tension around Field Mill.  Disley did well to win the ball some 25 yards out, Sellars neatly found Murray inside the area, he took time to compose himself before firing an unstoppable shot past Howie.  Almost immediately Reddington did well at the other end clearing a dangerous cross from Carlisle on the right.  Greenacre fired a hopeful shot at Howie from 20 yards and a typical Disley break put White clear on the left his cross headed over by Greenacre.  On 74 minutes Tankard replaced Pemberton at left back.  No-one deserved a goal more than White and on 79 minutes his performance got its just reward.  He ran on to a Sellars through ball, beating Howie to the ball and guiding the ball into the net with the outside of his right foot, a great finish.  Disley and Barrett then collided which saw Barrett receive attention.  Kelly replaced Greenacre with 6 minutes to go and was involved immediately when he headed just wide after a great Hassell cross.  Disley then broke through a series of challenges to fire a shot just over the bar as the Stags looked back to the form of a couple of months ago.  Rovers would have been delighted to hear the final whistle as in truth the score-line could have been much worse for them.

So at long last a return to the form of earlier in the season, and just in time too.  With Cheltenham losing at Macclesfield the gap is now just a point and the Robins are up next at Field Mill on Tuesday night.  At times in the 2nd half the side played with the sort of pace and passing accuracy that destroyed the likes of Luton, Hull and Huddersfield at Field Mill and the vast improvement in Monday's display in the defeat at Luton was taken one step further today with a very solid defensive display.  Worthy of particular mention are Stuart Reddington who defended very well on his return and Bobby Hassell who was again superb at right back.  Adam Murray and Craig Disley looked a great partnership in the midfield and Chris Greenacre did all but score.  However, in his best performance in a Stags shirt Andy White showed why many at Field Mill have high hopes for the 20 year old striker.  His touch was excellent, he linked very well with Greenacre and scored a fine goal - he also gave his all for the cause and that is the sort of thing fans really appreciate - he was by quite a distance the man of the match.

Man of the Match:  Andy White

Report by Rob Wheldon


Pilkington 6 One bad clearance but otherwise had little to do
Hassell 7 Usual fine display from Bobby, in both halves of the pitch
Pemberton 6 Didn't get forward as much as usual
Reddington 7 Very solid, especially in the air
Barrett 7 He and Barrett are definitely the best central defensive pairing
Corden 6 Failed to shine but did get some good crosses into dangerous areas
Disley 8 Back to his best, some great driving runs 2nd half
Murray 8 Stamp of class on all he did - great finish for the vital 1st goal
Sellars 7 Great free kick and lots of neat touches
Greenacre 7 Worked hard but missed a few decent chances
White 9 Excellent overall, scored, linked well with Greenacre and gave 110%
Tankard 6 (for Pemberton, 74)  Looked comfortable
Kelly 6 (for Greenacre, 84) One good header just wide
Williamson 6 (for Sellars, 89)
Subs Not Used: Bingham, Clarke.