Tuesday 18th September 2001
Nationwide League Division 3
Attendance: 1, 880
A bitterly disappointing result at Halifax Town tonight as the Stags lost their unbeaten league record, but a very impressive entertaining display once again which deserved at the very least a point. The evening started off well, with a couple of pints in the Shay Bar and memories of our 3-1 win at Halifax in our last promotion season, ironically I think that night was the last night we went top of the table, could the Stags do the same tonight? I've not been to the Shay for a couple of seasons, and it is a huge improvement to the ground of the mid nineties. Both ends behind the goals now have roofs on, with the new part finished stand to our right mirroring a mini West Stand, credit to Halifax, the old tarmac'd wasteland has been consigned to history.
At least half the attendance of 1,880 must have been made up of vocal Stags fans, and the game started very brightly with Stags knitting some beautiful flowing moves together from the off. White had kept his place alongside Greenacre, with Danny Bacon yards from me, watching the game from the away stand, apparently injured. Stags were finding it difficult to create clear cut chances despite having 80% of the possession, Disley had come close with darting runs through the Halifax defence but sadly with no end product.
Halifax scored with their only effort on target of the whole 90 minutes, and what a soft goal it was on 29 minutes. A lofted free kick on the edge of the box was met by ex Notts County man Gary JONES who nodded the ball downwards towards goal. From my position just behind the goal, the header although reasonably powerful should have been easily gathered by Pilkington. However Disley appeared to be attempting to clear the header, failed and Pilkington appeared to dive late and we watched in slow motion as the ball squirmed off his gloves and trickled into the net. A ridiculously soft goal to concede and first impression is that is was a glaring error by Pilkington, however the video may prove my judgement to be harsh.
Half Time 1-0
The second half began with Mansfield taking the game to the Shaymen, throwing bodies forward and carving the home defence to pieces with lovely passing. The worry was that Mansfield appeared to have lost that bit of sharpness and killer edge to make the final ball and net that equaliser. Andy White was having a very disappointing night, his control was poor and he appeared to not get involved as much as he should have. Particularly on two occasions where Lawrence delivered fine crosses into the box, White was beaten to headers on goal by much smaller defenders. The large Stags contingent began to get frustrated with White's apparent inability to jump ! Halifax then proceeded for the whole of the second half to soak up the Mansfield pressure and attempt to hit on the break, with caretaker manager Redfearn in the thick of the action. Halifax were extremely negative in their play and employed spoiling and time wasting tactics for the whole of the second half, showing no desire to attack, content with 1-0.
White sent a free header inches wide of the post on the hour and was withdrawn for Lee Williams, with Lawrence joining Greenacre in attack. Surprisingly Corden was replaced with Asher and Tankard replaced Disley who suffered a slight knock. Stags turned up the heat in the last ten minutes, Lawrence tapping home a Greenacre cross only to be denied by the linesmans flag. From my position the decision looked borderline but nobody in the ground would have begrudged the rampant Stags an equaliser. The Halifax players looked embarrassed to be leading as Williamson in particular had given the Shaymen the run around all night.
To sum up a very frustrating night Greenacre span and rattled a cracking shot against the crossbar in added time, but instead of bouncing off the bar into the net it shot out for a goal kick, Lady Luck was in her taxi and on her way home for sure tonight! In conclusion an excellent footballing performance from the Stags, without any real penetration, another night the Stags would have won 4-0, Halifax were dire. Their players celebrated at the end as if they had won the Cup Final, they knew they had been played off the park tonight. White failed to clap the Stags fans on his withdrawal, probably upset at the barracking pouring from the away stand. I think White has been excellent this season, considering his age and experience he has done his best to compensate for Bradley's injury. I do feel it is time to get a loan striker in to pep things up a bit and take the pressure off Greenacre. Pilkington had nothing to do in the Stags goal apart from collect about four crosses all night. Unfortunately he fluffed the one attempt at goal which ultimately cost us our unbeaten record. However the display was much better than the result, and the most disappointing thing for me, apart from Rochdale losing and blowing the chance to go to Scunthorpe top of the league, was the fact that we will play much worse and win and I expected us to lose our unbeaten record to a very good side and Halifax certainly weren't that.
Man of the Match: Lee Williamson
Report by Dean Foulkes
|Pilkington||5||Error for goal, after Bury & Notts Co appears prone to costly mistakes. Cruel critics would say he has cost our unbeaten league record & progress in 2 cup comp's.|
|Hassell||7||No problems all night|
|Pemberton||8||Played well, attacked well & used up front for last 10 mins|
|Robinson||7||Never in any danger|
|Reddington||7||Mopped up what little threat there was well, beaten by Jones for goal|
|Disley||7||Good runs, never really sparked though|
|Corden||6||Overplayed slightly, no real crosses, surprisingly subbed|
|Lawrence||6||started well, faded, goal disallowed|
|Williamson||9||My MOM - won everything, tackled, very tigerish, never wasted a ball|
|White||5||Missed great chance, looked jaded, needs a rest|
|Greenacre||7||Great movement, one chance - hit bar|
|Subs Used: Williams, Tankard, Asher - Not Used: Barrett, Bingham|
|Your Choice of Man of the Match||Reddington & Hassell 21%||Williamson 13%|