Philpott 14, Bradshaw 22, Norris 49, Johnsson 78   Bradley 82


Tuesday 5th March 2002 - Kick-off 7.45pm

Nationwide League Division 3

Attendance:  9, 158


It hasnít happened very often this season, but it did last night at Boothferry Park Ö the Stags were outplayed from the first minute to the last. I had heard from various sources that the Tigers had been dire lately - in fact had been for some weeks. But last night they were clearly really fired up for this one. Whether it was the ďnew managerĒ effect, or whether they simply wanted revenge for their first defeat of the season (when they were turned over at Field Mill 4-2, when it should have been 8), I donít know. But Hull were excellent last night.

And how predictable was it that former Stags youngster Ryan Williams, fired up by the booing of mindless Stags fans in just the second minute when he came over to take a corner, would play a blinder? When will some fans learn not to do that against former players?   After the game, Stags boss Stuart Watkiss said Stags got more than they deserved by scoring a goal, and he was right. In fact even the Stags goal was a comedy goal, only going in after Kelly had missed a sitter and the Hull defence were so generous to insist that Bradley didnít mess it up.

Stags were so quiet in the first half that the only chance came when Chris Greenacre broke the offside trap, and with the keeper off his line, chipped the ball over him from just outside the box, but well over the bar. It was a shame, as it was a good chance, but it seemed that the ball probably came off his shin.

Other than that, the Tigers were rampant, and time after time Stags looked exposed at the back, with Gary Alexander simply winning every ball in the air, and Ryan Williams having a field day down the right wing against makeshift left-back Les Robinson. Both Hull goals seem to come from situations that the Stags could have cleared. For the first, Ryan Williamsí cross was missed by everyone, including the Stags defence and both Alexander and Bradshaw in the Hull strikeforce. But the ball ended up on the left side of the box, where Lee Philpott drilled it into the far corner of the net, giving Pilkington no chance. Then shortly afterwards, the long-haired Sneekes, who had an excellent first half before being substituted, tee-ed up Bradshaw to fire home unmarked from the right hand side.   At this stage Stags were being run ragged, and were clearly second to every ball in midfield, as Murray and Williamson seemed well off the pace. Half-time couldnít come soon enough for the Stags.

Half time 2-0

Watkiss replaced the harrassed Robinson at left back, moving Pemberton to his more familiar position. But it didnít make any difference and just inside the second half it was 3-0. The goal came from a familiar source as Ryan Williams charged down the right and crossed for Norris to slide home at the near post, easily beating his markers to the ball. Stags never gave any hint of getting back into the game, and my own hope was that we didnít have any players sent off, though it seemed a few were pretty close to doing so, as Williamson and Murray amongst others flirted with danger. Indeed Williamson, Bradley, Pemberton and Murray were all booked in a 10-minute period. 

It wasnít until 12 minutes from time that Hull added their fourth. A routine high cross from the left should have been easy for Pilkington, but instead the towering Johnsson got there first and planted a header from close range into the net.   Just 4 minutes later Stags picked up an unexpected consolation goal. Andy White found himself in space on the left hand side. His cross into the centre created a chance for Kelly, but Kelly swung a boot at it and missed the ball horribly. Luckily the Hull defence was static, allowing Shayne Bradley a free shot from 5 yards which he literally couldnít miss, and indeed he didnít. Shortly afterwards Stags had a free-kick right on the edge of the box after the referee moved it forward 10 yards (though only after Lee Williamson appeared to remind him of the rules), but Bradleyís free-kick was feeble and the chance was gone.

The game ended quietly and attention turned to the other results. Unfortunately for both Stags and Hull, all the other top sides won. So attention now turns to Saturday's home game with Oxford. Clearly this is a must-win game for the Stags. Stags have recovered well from previous set-backs and it must be hoped that the sequence of win-win-lose, win-win-lose, can now be carried on. Come on Stags.

Man of the Match: Wayne Corden.

Report by Martin Shaw


Pilkington 5 Generally handled the ball ok, and made one decent save, but appeared to be at fault for the fourth goal.
Hassell 6 Didnít appear to be at fault at all - probably the pick of the defence.
Robinson 5 Looked very out of place at left back against the rampant Ryan Williams. Substituted at half time.
Barrett 5 Poor game.
Reddington 5 Consistently beaten to the ball.
Corden 6 Showed more desire than most Stags players to move the ball forward.
Pemberton 5 Didnít quite look in his best position on the left wing, then struggled at left back in the second half against Ryan Williams.
Murray 5 Never got a grip of the midfield. His frustration came out in the second half with an off-the-ball foul.
Williamson 5 Below his best, possibly looking a little fatigued.
Greenacre 6 Quiet game, though never stopped working hard.
Kelly  5 Not at his best.
Bradley  6 (for Robinson, 45 ) - Looked a little short of the pace of the game. Did well to be in the right place to score Stags goal.
White  6 (for Greenacre, 57 ) - Made little impact, though was involved in the Stags goal.
Subs Not Used: Wheatcroft, Asher, Bingham.