Tuesday 30th October - Kick-off 3pm
Nationwide League Division 3
Attendance: 5, 973
The Stags welcomed back
influential duo Les Robinson and Chris Greenacre which meant
Stuart Reddington and Jason White were left out from the side beaten at
Rushden a week earlier. High flying Luton included striker Dean Crowe
and Frenchman Valois on the left wing.
Stags were almost caught out in the opening minute when a Valois header put Crowe through but his shot was straight at Pilkington and he saved easily. The Stags first attack came on 6 minutes when Corden got to the byeline and saw his cross headed over for a corner. Lawrence chipped the corner in to Greenacre at the near post who turned well but shot wide from an acute angle. Luton were then next to threaten as Nicholls nodded down Valois corner for Howard to hit a low shot which Pilkington saved easily. The Stags were slowly taking control of the match, Bradley saw his cross nodded over his own bar by Taylor whilst Pemberton went on a trade mark run before putting Bradley through but the striker fired over. A bad clearance by Luton keeper Emberson went straight to Lawrence he put the ball across to Bradley who headed wide. A rare Luton attack saw Taylor fire wide but the majority of the action was at the Luton end of the pitch in front of the 2100 Luton fans. Indeed on 20 minutes the Stags took a deserved lead, Lawrence putting in a splendid cross which Greenacre headed goalwards, a fantastic save by Emberson was to no avail as Greenacre fired home the rebound. Valois then got away with a terrible lunge on Disley, though the referee gave the free kick no action was taken on the French player, who was having a nightmare on the left wing. The free kick was headed over for a corner, from the corner the ball was cleared as far as Corden who fired over. The Stags had a lucky escape on 33 minutes when Crowe, clearly offside, was allowed to run clean through on goal, however, the in form striker fired his shot just wide with only Pilkington to beat. Immediately the Stags went back on the attack, Greenacre chasing down a long ball, pulling the ball across the goal for Lawrence but the young wingers shot was blocked. From the throw the ball was played back to Hassell and his neat cross saw Greenacre half volley just over from 8 yards. More superb work from Corden on the left saw the winger put Greenacre in, he neatly flicked the ball to Lawrence but his first touch just took the ball too far and despite claims he was fouled the ball went out of play for a goal kick.
Half time: 1-0
Stags began the 2nd half again on top and the home fans only had to wait a minute before Corden struck a left foot shot just wide. Valois picked the ball up on the edge of the Stags area in a rare Luton attack, but Hassell, as he had the whole game, got in a timely challenge to deflect the ball over the bar. On 51 minutes the Stags should have gone further ahead, Bradley brought down in the area, but the normally lethal Greenacre fired the penalty off the bar and over. Buoyed by this Luton flew forward and Hassell came up with a superbly timed challenge on Crowe in the area and brought the ball clear. On 55 minutes the Stags made the game safe. A fantastic run by Corden saw the winger beat three players before sliding in a perfect cross for Greenacre to tap home. Valois was finally released from Hassell's pocket after being subbed on 58 minutes. Another bad challenge, this time on Bradley, saw Coyne booked as Luton were clearly losing the plot. Things were made worse for Luton when Bradley raced onto a through ball by Greenacre only to be hauled down just outside the box, Coyne again the culprit and a 2nd yellow meant he was off - indeed Coyne was lucky not to receive a straight red card for a professional foul as Bradley was clean through on goal. However, justice was served when Pemberton curled a 20 yard free kick into the top corner to put the Stags three up. The Stags were now rampant, Greenacre feeding Bradley who shot just wide whilst at the other end a shot by Forbes was comfortable for Pilkington. Corden again played a delightful ball to Lawrence whose shot was deflected wide, Lawrence again involved when he shot low across the Luton goal. More exciting wing play saw Corden put in another cross which Bradley just failed to convert. A late challenge by Forbes on Pilkington lead to a fracas at the other end, with Forbes and Pilkington booked along with Howard who for some reason decided to get involved himself. The Stags made the points absolutely safe on 80 minutes when Bradley superbly finished from an acute angle. A minute later Bradley could have got his second when put through, this time Emberson saved well. Pilkington was then on hand to save well from Crowe but on 84 minutes Crowe scored a consolation. The referee, D Pugh, then decided that enough football had been played and that the spotlight should shine on him. Hillier lunged at Corden but wasn't booked then got involved with Pemberton, the Stags left back did flick out at Hillier but his reaction was well over the top and ultimately lead the referee sending Pemberton off, Hillier was incredibly only booked. Hillier was again the culprit in the far corner, this time Bradley was the player sent off presumably for dissent, Hillier escaping completely. The game ended in farce with the referee completely losing control of the game. Further shame on Luton as their supporters, once 2-0 behind, fought with Police non-stop for the last half hour of the game. How very sad that a substandard referee and the evil that is hooliganism marred the ITV Sport main game. The Stags were very worthy winners, Luton shamed losers.
A sour taste was left in the mouth after another inept performance from a referee determined that the headlines were not made by the terrific football the Stags played but by his massive over-reaction. Nevertheless, the Stags were excellent and thoroughly outclassed a poor Luton side. Man of the match is a tough decision, the sponsor rather cornily giving it the whole team. However, Corden dazzled on the left flank and was unstoppable.
Man of the Match: Wayne Corden
Report by Rob Wheldon
|Pilkington||8||Faultless and some fine saves|
|Hassell||9||Has Valois got out of his pocket yet? Terrific|
|Pemberton||8||Spoiled another great performance with the sending off|
|Barrett||8||Much better, very solid|
|Robinson||9||The rock the great performance was built on|
|Lawrence||8||Great cross for opener|
|Corden||9||Brilliant on the wing, skinned the right back dozens of times|
|Disley||8||Dominated the midfield|
|Williamson||9||Sublime passing as usual, never wastes a pass|
|Greenacre||9||Missed penalty but excellent throughout - 2 more goals|
|Bradley||8||Some missed but scored again - sending off very harsh at the end|
|White (J)||6||(For Greenacre, 81)|
|Reddington||6||(For Lawrence, 90)|
|Subs Not Used: Bacon, Jervis, Bingham|
|Your Choice Man of the Match||Corden 41% Robinson/Williamson/Greenacre 14%|