Saturday 13th October 2001 - kick off 3pm
Nationwide League Division 3
Attendance: 4, 021
Stags remained unchanged from the side that beat Orient 8 days earlier, with Allen Tankard fit enough to be on the bench despite suffering from a virus in midweek. Richard Harris had also sufficiently recovered from a hamstring strain to take his place on the bench. Darlo had only conceded two goals at home and had former Stags winger Steve Harper operating on the left hand side and ex-York striker Barry Conlon in attack, once a Stags target.
Both sides began in scrappy fashion with passes going astray and few goal mouth incidents. It took 15 minutes for the first meaningful effort on goal, Pilkington comfortably pushed away a Mellanby shot. The Stags attempts on goal were generally confined to Wayne Corden on the left, he tried his luck from 25 yards after cutting in field but the ball flew over the bar and a few minutes later an almost identical effort flew narrowly over. Reddington was penalised for a foul on the edge of the area, pulling down Mellanby, for which the Stags defender received the games first caution. Conlon blasted the free kick straight at Pilkington who saved easily. As the half drew to a close the Stags almost gifted the home side the lead. Reddington knocked the ball back to Pilkington who slipped and kicked the ball straight to Mellanby, however, the Stags keeper fully redeemed himself by saving the Darlo strikers goal bound effort. The home sides main threat was with Wainright on the right wing and in injury time in the first half his cross was met by the head of Mellanby but he headed well over.
Half Time: 0-0
Stags came out much more positive in the second half with Disley proving a constant threat breaking from midfield. Indeed the Stags midfielder was fouled at least a half dozen times in a 15 minute spell of Stags pressure. It was Disley who had the Stags best chance of the game so far when he raced on to a through ball by White, however, his shot was well turned past the post by keeper Collett. Moments later White again was involved as he found Williamson whose attempted lob was easy for Collett. Very poor sportsmanship followed from Hodgson as the Stags were in possession in midfield when the referee stopped the game when a Darlo player lay injured, however, rather than give the ball back to the Stags, Hodgson kicked the ball out near the corner flag for a throw and then Darlington pressured the Stags defence - very poor indeed. For the first time the Stags were on top but Wainright was still proving the main problem for the Stags defenders and in an attempt to dampen the threat Stags boss Bill Dearden introduced two subs, first Allen Tankard replaced Wayne Corden allowing Pemberton to move into midfield, then Danny Bacon replaced the tiring White in attack. The change paid instant dividends. Bacon picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and ran at the Darlo defence, he was then brought down inside the area by Betts but to the Stags fans dismay the referee awarded just a free kick on the edge of the area, Betts was booked for the clumsy challenge. However, the Stags fans dismay turned to joy as the other sub Allen Tankard blasted his left foot free kick past Collett, who did get a hand to the ball, to put the Stags ahead. The Stags were then excellent for the last 15 minutes or so, they kept possession and Wainright, by a distance Darlo's best player, was sent off for two quick cautions as frustration got the better of him. Despite an amazing 5 minutes being added on the Stags held on comfortably for a fine away victory.
So a fine away performance at a ground where visitors will find points hard to come by. Amazingly despite the win the Stags actually dropped a place to 5th after Plymouth moved above them on goal difference. After the game a jubilant Allen Tankard said "I think Danny Bacon deserves a lot of credit because he added a bit of spark that was missing. I mean it was a bit of a dour game wasn't it and Danny got at the defence and caused them problems and got the free kick which led to the goal". Once again the Stags strength was in the middle where both Disley and Williamson maintained the very high standards they have set this season. Stuart Reddington was again immaculate in defence and Les Robinson got better as the game wore on. In truth there was little between the sides, but as the home side more was expected of Darlo than just the one real effort on goal which came about via a keeper error. Therefore, the Stags were worthy winners and though exciting left winger Wainright was the best player on the pitch despite his sending off at the end, the Stags Man of the Match was Craig Disley for another all action display.
Man of the Match: Craig Disley
Report by Rob Wheldon
|Pilkington||7||One error but great save made up for it - better on crosses|
|Hassell||7||Decent game from Bobby|
|Pemberton||6||Given torrid afternoon by the excellent Wainright|
|Robinson||7||Started of a little shaky but improved as the game wore on|
|Reddington||8||Excellent again, won almost every header|
|Disley||9||Fouled dozens of times but kept getting up and dominating the midfield - excellent|
|Corden||7||Very good first half with several good attempts on goal|
|Lawrence||7||Control and passing as good as ever but caught in possession a couple of times|
|Williamson||8||Rarely wasted a pass|
|White (J)||7||Battled hard throughout|
|Greenacre||6||Not his best game but still gave the usual 100%|
|Tankard||7||(For Corden, 76) Helped defensively and scored winner|
|Bacon||7||(For White, 76) Dangerous when brought on, fouled for free kick which lead to goal|
|Harris||7||(For Greenacre, 87) Lightening pace helped relieve pressure at end|
|Subs Not Used: Asher, Bingham|
Collett, Betts, Heckingbottom, Harper (Hodgson 46), Jeannin, Atkinson,
Wainwright, Brumwell (Maddison 80), Conlon, Liddle G, Mellanby (Marcelle
89). Subs not used: Van Der Geest , Jackson
Cautions: Darlo: Betts 77, Liddle G 84, Jeannin 88, Wainwright 90 - Stags: Reddington 32 - Sending Off: Wainright 90
Referee: Mr M G Cowburn - 6 - Average
|Your Choice Man of the Match||
|Disley 15%||Tankard 11%|