Blake 53   Greenacre 28

Saturday 1st September 2001

Nationwide League Division 3

Attendance:  2, 387  

I think making some kind of record, in recent seasons anyhow, the Stags began this match as an unchanged side for the 5th game in succession. Kiddie began with two ex-Stags in their line up with Stewart (Turbo) Hadley and Mark Blake taking their places in the forward and midfield lines respectively - indeed Blakey was the Kiddie captain. Also in their line up was ex-Hartlepool and Peter Shilton's son Sam and highly rated forward Drewe Broughton.  Not a massive crowd at Aggborough, a quaint lower league ground, and the Stags fans (250ish) were slightly depleted with the England game’s timing (5-1??? Was I dreaming???).

The Stags, as they have been recently, began well and looked very assured in the way they were going about the opening exchanges. There was a lot of play taking place in the middle third of the field. Disley and Williamson looked very much up for showing Blakey what he would be missing this season by not being part of the Yellows revolution! Williamson indeed put in a crunching tackle on Blake which the ex-Stag would have been proud of himself. The most contentious decision of the first half came when Disley burst through the Kiddie defence on the left of the box and found only Blake for company as he bared down on goal. However Blake’s clumsy tackle-cum-shoulder barge-cum-foul on Dis was deemed by the referee to be obstruction and therefore an indirect freekick, and not a penalty which all the travelling yellows think it deserved, was awarded. This opportunity came to nothing. Kiddie’s first two attempts at goal came from Blake and Clarkson. Blake’s effort would have been more at home in the Rugby Super League (3 points for Wigan!!!) although Clarkson's effort, struck from 20 yards was well saved by Pilkington to his right. Lawrence then cleverly spotted Brock off his line but his effort was just a little to near the keeper. This was shortly followed by the first booking of the game which to absolutely no-one’s surprise was awarded to Blake for a reckless high tackle - a fact that had some Stags fans asking for the Red Card!!! On 15 minutes White, with still only a handful of first team games played, dribbled through the Kiddie defence only to see a very tame shot go straight to the keeper. Then on 28 minutes the Stags got the breakthrough their early play had deserved. A through ball to Greenacre was cleverly controlled by the invaluable Striker, he cunningly cut inside the centre back and rifled a left foot drive into bottom corner of the goal past the helpless Brock - 1-0. After the goal Kiddie turned up their pace but were met with good resistance by the Stags; in fact in the space of a couple of minutes Pilkington came out to smother at Hadley’s feet and then stunningly turned a Hadley drive round the post. As the half came to a close, Lawrence strode into the box past Stamps and at the last minute tried to cut the ball back but a deflection off a defender took the ball onto the post. The half closed with another Blake effort on the Mansfield goal clearing the surrounding stand.

Half Time 0-1

The opening exchanges of the second half were in stark contrast to a first half which had possessed some quality. The first shot in anger of the second half came from Blake from just outside the box however thankfully his powerful shot was met by a save from Pilkington of equal quality.  Unfortunately from the resulting corner Blake was left unmarked in the centre of the goal about 10 yards out and headed straight past Pilkington and Robinson on the line. 1-1. At that point the goal was something Kiddie
really didn't deserve. Shortly after this goal Dearden replaced Tankard with Pemberton which could only have been for a knock Tanks had picked up as there was no tactical change brought about by the change. At the same time despite rocketing Hadley for poor play, Big Jan Molby replaced Broughton (who had definitely had a poor game on what he is capable) with Ian Foster. Kiddie then made a second substitution when Blake, who had damaged his leg shooting well wide of the Mansfield goal previously, was
replaced by Dean Bennett. Immediately Kiddie went forward and a cross from the right was headed just wide by the very quiet Shilton. In order to try and find the illusive winning goal Billy swapped the target man White for the nippier Bacon much to the appreciation of the Stags following. At the same time Molby used his final substitution and replaced Scott Stamps with debutant Ian Joy. The Stags then had their best period of the second half and one move was sweetly executed as Corden swept the ball the width of the pitch to Lawrence who cut into the box towards the byeline and chipped the ball up only for Greenacre to head just over - although his disappointment was lessened by the ref’s whistle for the ball having gone out of play.  With around 15 minutes to go Bacon was fouled by the shaky Hinton for a free kick just right of centre. Lawrence took the kick but could only put it straight at the keeper. As the game drew to a close there were a couple of chances for both side. The lively Bacon had a powerful shot deflected wide while Kiddie's Williams shot wide of the Stags goal. Right on full time the Stags had a couple of chances to win the game in the dying minutes for the
second time in a week but it wasn't to be with both a Corden shot and a Reddington header proving just of the mark.

Overall not a bad performance by the Yellows as they remain unbeaten in 5 league games and maintain a league position of 6th. Billy will have been more pleased with the first half than the second. Kidderminster were nothing special and I would guess will end up around 10th in the league on this showing. However, although, as much as it annoys me to say it, Blake played a very influential and important part in their engine room. Once again the Stags showed a certain amount of character although the second
half was rather lacklustre. At 1-0 it would have been nice for the Stags to have gone for the jugular as they did against Macc on Monday but a draw is a creditable result against a Kiddie team with two home wins out of two so far this season. As I said before the match, the best way to view this game would be to compare it with the corresponding fixture last season on Boxing Day. With respect to this, the team have come a long long way. They pass the ball and play the game in a vastly more confident manner, indeed the Kiddie Man of the Match announced was Clarkson, their Right Back, a measure of where most of the Stags possession was. I still think the midfield could go on to be one of the best in the lower leagues.

Man of the Match : Stuart Reddington - he played another blinder and was the main reason for Broughton's withdrawal as he gave him nothing to feed on. Often the unsung hero - he fully deserves this.

Report by Richard Evans

Pilkington 8 - Some excellent saves again, obviously got over his Notts County nightmare, good kicking and could do nothing about the goal.
7 - Another competent performance by Bobby kept Shilton very quiet.
6 - Still haven't quite seen the best of Allen yet I'm sure but always assured.
6 - Having some very strange games at the moment, tends to try to walk the ball out of defence too often. Had an excellent last 5 minutes however.
9 - This is by a long way the best money the club has spent in recent memory. A rock - solid, sound and was reason for Broughton withdrawal.
7 - Some nice play, tries to over elaborate sometimes - some classic long cross field balls and crosses.
7 - As with Lawro but some nice skills and flare, lots of running.
7 - Lots of running, I wish I had half his engine; unlucky not to get more scoring chances from forward runs.
7 - Forming a great partnership with Disley and maturing with every game, definitely better in the centre than on the right.
8 - Great finish for his goal, lots of clever running, GET HIS NEW CONTRACT SORTED NOW!
6 - Another competent performance by Big Whitey, he holds the ball well but his control isn't the best yet - with time he will be a valuable player.

Pemberton (for Tankard, 56)
6 - Still a better midfielder than a left back, would have preferred to have seen Jervisio come on for Tankard.
Bacon (for White, 65)
7 - Lots of running, caused a very shakey Hinton a lot of problems in the final minutes.
Not Used - Bingham, Asher, Williams

Referee: M. J. Jones (Chester) 6 - a lot of needless free-kicks, and Blake on Dis should have been a penalty

Your Choice of Man of the Match Reddington 52%  Corden 9%  Disley 9%