Tankard 90

Saturday 29th December 2001 - Kick-off 3pm

Nationwide League Division 3

Attendance:  2, 550

by Martin Shaw

Stags picked up a fabulous away win at the Moss Rose this afternoon. It was a real tonic for the side after successive defeats against Oxford and Exeter. Mansfield dominated the game, creating numerous chances whilst keeping the home side to hardly a single chance. But the game turned in injury time. After Pilkington had made a brilliant one handed save to prevent a certain goal, Stags went to the other end, and from a disputed corner, Allen Tankard sent a header looping into the top left corner of the net to send Stags players and fans into ecstasy.  Considering the freezing conditions, Macclesfield did extremely well to get the game on, and to get the pitch into almost perfect condition. This was mainly due to having sheets to cover the pitch. Indeed Mansfield could learn a lesson from this.  Bradley came into the Stags side for the flu-ridden Piper in an otherwise unchanged line-up. Tankard had recovered to retain his place in the starting line-up.

Stags dominated the first half and created about 6 or 7 good chances, but failed to take any, whilst the home side barely mustered a shot at goal.  Corden had 3 shooting chances, whilst Lawrence had the best chance with a shot from 8 yards that went wide after the ball seemed to get stuck under his boots. At the back, Stags were rarely troubled with Barrett in outstanding form.

Half time 0-0

At half time Macclesfield centre half Tinson, who had had a good half, was substituted, presumably through injury, but in truth Stags looked less like scoring after the break. Barrett continued in dominant form at the back, and the home side had a few half chances but the game looked to be heading for a 0-0 stalemate as the snow started to fall in the last few minutes.  Stags appeared to have a good shout for a penalty when Hassell played a brilliant one-two with Lawrence and forced his way into the box. Just as he was about to shoot, he appeared to be brought down, but the referee, who incensed Stags fans all afternoon, booked Hassell for diving. Earlier, Greenacre had come within a whisker of the crucial goal, when his shot from 18 yards was tipped agonisingly around the post (by a couple of inches) by the Macclesfield keeper.

The game entered 3 minutes of stoppage time and the action really started.  For the first time in the game, a Macclesfield player got behind the Stags defence, and shot from 10 yards towards the right hand corner of the net.  It seemed a certain goal all the way, but Pilkington pulled off a world class save diving to his left and tipping the ball away to the left. Stags broke to the other end, and a ball was played across the area. It seemed it just needed a touch to poke it in, but it went all the way across the goal.  A corner was given, to the annoyance of the home fans who thought that no-one had touched it. Lawrence played the corner in, and there was Allen Tankard to rise highest and loop a header into the top left hand corner of the net. The goal sparked joyous celebrations. There was no time for a Macclesfield reply as the whistle went within a minute. This truly was a late, late winner.

There is no doubt that Stags deserved the win, but for long periods it didn't look like coming. The match stats tell the story: 21 goal attempts with 9 on target for the Stags, compared to 11 with 5 on target for the home side. Well done to Pilkington for his late wonder-save, and to Tankard for the late goal, but the man of the match award has to go to Adam Barrett, who had a storming game at centre half, wining absolutely everything.

Man of the Match: Adam Barrett

Report by Martin Shaw

Pilkington 7 A brilliant late save, and generally coped well.
Hassell 7 Did ok at right back.
8 Commanding display, winning absolutely everything.
6 Very lucky on two occasions to get away with poor play, but otherwise steady.
6 Not his best game, but came up with the late winner.
6 Not his best game, but never gave up trying.
6 Didn't really run the midfield like we know he can, especially in the second half.
6 Seems to have lost a bit of form, but still gave 100%, even when things weren't going his way.
7 Looked dangerous on a many occasions.
6 A bit too quiet again, but unlucky with one good effort.
7 Especially good first half, and looked in good form.
Subs Not Used: Bingham, Asher, Reddington, Pemberton, A.White.