Alsop 62, 65   Disley 29, 47, Corden 90

Saturday 25th August 2001

Nationwide League Division 3

Attendance:  3, 105  
For the third game in succession the Stags named an unchanged line-up.  Cheltenham had former loan keeper Carl Muggleton in goal, ex-Port Vale striker Tony Naylor on his home debut in attack and every Stags fans favourite Jason White on the bench!!

The Stags began competently and controlled possession for long spells, Cheltenham unable to get their long ball style going as they were starved of any decent ball.  White almost forced Muggleton into an early error, almost charging down a weak back pass in the 2nd minute.  At the other end Grayson should have done better when heading over and then a quick free kick lead to a Devaney effort flying just wide.  Disley gave a sign of things to come when he fired at goal, on this occasion his volley flew wide.  Carl Muggleton was then tested by Corden's long range effort just before the half hour but he managed to palm the ball away for a corner.  Lawrence's left wing corner was played short to Hassell and Craig Disley rose above the Cheltenham defence to head home superbly.  It was no more than the Stags deserved.  Greenacre then fired a first time effort just over the bar from over 30 yards, which brought back memories of his wonder striker here last season.  Towards the end of the half Cheltenham finally exerted some pressure on the Stags goal but Pilkington remained untroubled.  

Half Time:  0-1

The 2nd half was barely 2 minutes old when the Stags doubled their lead, Disley again with the inch perfect header from another Lawrence corner.  The Stags were cruising but Cheltenham boss Steve Cotterill had other ideas and immediately brought on tall striker Julian Alsop.  Cheltenham, already favouring the long ball approach, were now even more direct.  The Stags were now failing to control any possession and a goal for the home side appeared inevitable.  A succession of corners and free kicks were headed over or wide, Grayson missing a sitter from just 7 yards and Hassell saving the Stags with a superbly timed challenge inside the area.  However, it was no surprise to anyone when Cheltenham pulled a goal back, substitute Alsop heading home Milton's cross.  Incredibly just 4 minutes later the same player again headed past Pilkington, this time Naylor providing the ammunition for the ex-Swansea striker.  The Stags were all at sea, the defence was looking shaky and Pilkington failed to show any authority on crosses.  However, to the keepers credit he saved the Stags with a point blank save from Naylor when the diminutive striker had burst through on the left hand side.  Stags boss Bill Dearden then made a switch bringing on Pemberton for Lawrence in Stags celebrate the winner!! a bid to shore up the defences.  The move worked a treat and at last the Stags were able to retain some possession and defend with more authority.  A further change was made when Danny Bacon replaced a tiring Andy White.  As the game seemed to be petering out into a draw the Stags hit the home side with a winner.  In form winger Wayne Corden picked the ball up on the left, cut in field past the Cheltenham full back and fired a terrific low shot past Muggleton to send the 300 or so Stags fans wild.  Despite the referee adding on almost 5 minutes despite the board saying 1 minute, the Stags held on for a terrific victory.

A very solid first half performance saw the Stags easily contain Cheltenham and restrict them to a passing game which clearly suited the Stags the better.  However, after going 2 goals up Cheltenham threw everything at the Stags in a massive aerial bombardment and they could find no answer.  Frankly some of the defending was ordinary though the  long ball style is hard to defend.  The introduction of Pemberton gave the Stags a more solid look and Corden's winning goal was a terrific strike.  The side that played the football won the game and Cheltenham's style is not good to watch but will be very effective this season.  Boss Billy Dearden was delighted with the result. "We came here and knew what we had to do but when they put the big lad on, well they've got so many big lads you can't handle everybody. I'm very pleased for Craig Disley because I've been on to him about getting into the box and getting headers and he did that.  Then we didn't stop the crosses to the big man and that cost us two goals. But the lads have got a bit of character, they kept going right to the end and I'm delighted because not many teams will come here and score three goals."  Wayne Corden was again excellent on the left and Allen Tankard had his best Stags match just behind him.  However, for his two goals and all action display Craig Disley was the man of the match.

Man of the Match:  Craig Disley

Report by Rob Wheldon

Click here for Martin's Report

Stags:  Pilkington 6, Hassell 7, Tankard 8, Robinson 6, Reddington 6, Lawrence 6 (Pemberton 71, 7), Williamson 7, Disley 9, Corden 8, Greenacre 7, White 6 (Bacon 80, 7).  Subs Not Used:  Asher, Bingham, Williams, 

Cheltenham:  Muggleton , Banks , Duff M , Walker , Victory , Devaney (Alsop 50) , Yates (Howarth 90) , Milton , Howells , Grayson (White 84) , Naylor.  Subs not used:  Higgs , Hill

Cautions:  Stags:  Lawrence (64) - Cheltenham:  Yates (64)

Referee:  M Warren (Walsall) - 6

Your Choice of Man of the Match Disley 37%  Corden 31%  Hassell 10%