Monday 27th August 2001
Nationwide League Division 3
Attendance: 2, 681
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
This was a terrific performance from the Stags to keep their unbeaten league run going and propel them into the top 5 of Division III. The performance was built on a magnificent showing from the energetic midfield pairing of Craig Disley and Lee Williamson. Amazingly Disley scored two more goals to add to his two on Saturday at Cheltenham, but then missed the chance of a hat-trick when his 83rd minute penalty was blasted straight at a motionless keeper and rebounded away to safety.
Stags were unchanged again and after a quiet opening, the game burst to life on 15 minutes. Tankard put in a looping cross from the left, which was beautifully flighted out of range of keeper Lee Martin, and Disley headed the ball back perfectly for Greenacre, just 2 yards from goal, to acrobatically fire in a shot, doing extremely well to keep the high ball down and under the bar to open the scoring.
Just 4 minutes later it was 2-0. A long ball was punted forward by Tankard, and Disley outpaced the defender to chase it, but the keeper Martin was too hesitant and misjudged it badly not coming for the ball, instead leaving himself in no-mans land allowing Disley to nod the ball over him and into the net. The goal reminded me of Andy Roscoes headed goal in a 1-0 home win against York 2 seasons ago when York keeper Bobby Mimms found himself in a similar no-mans land.
Stags continued to control the game and Macclesfield rarely had the ball in the Stags half. At half-time there was a feeling that it should already be about 4-0, but 2-0 was a highly satisfactory scoreline.
Just 40 seconds into second half it was 3-0. Tankard lobbed in a free-kick which wasnt convincingly cleared, Greenacre got in a header across goal, and Andy White was completely unmarked by the right hand post to knock it into the net. Stags were now rampant and moved forward in wave after wave of pressure. Chances galore were created and Stags dominated the game possibly more than they have any other game in recent seasons.
Finally the deserved fourth goal arrived on 67 minutes. Liam Lawrence sent a great long diagonal ball from right to left for Greenacre, who looped the ball forward towards goal. It seemed the defender and keeper had an easy task to clear but the alert Disley nipped in front of them so quickly and in a flash the ball was in the back of the net for a quite brilliant finish.
At this stage it could have been a cricket score but numerous chances went begging. One of the best chances fell for Corden who smacked a great shot just inches wide of the post.
On 83 minutes Williamson crashed a great shot against the underside of the bar from 20 yards. The ball bounced down onto the line and out and as Greenacre jumped to try to head in the rebound he was pushed off the ball by a defender. The referee waved play on, but his assistant flagged for a penalty. Stags players waved young Disley forward for is chance of a hat-trick. Disley struck the penalty well and blasted it straight down the middle. Unfortunately for him though, keeper Lee Martin didnt move and the ball rebounded off him and away to safety. It was such a shame for Disley but at 4-0 it had no bearing on the result. After the game, Dearden said he had conducted an inquest in the dressing room, and indicated his dissatisfaction at the Stags players for insisting Disley took the kick. He made it clear that Disley would not be taking any further penalties!
In the last minute, and amazingly for the fourth consecutive game in that very same minute, Wayne Corden made room for himself, to create a shot from just inside the box, which the keeper brilliantly saved one-handed when the ball seemed destined to creep in.
So it ended 4-0, when it really should have been a cricket score. But the Stags fans were not complaining and gave the team a rousing reception at the final whistle. I thought Macclesfield put in the worst display that I have seen from any team in recent years, but this was in the most part due to being outfought in midfield by the quite brilliant Disley and Williamson. More great entertainment then for the fans who really have seen some terrific games this season. Eight points from the opening 4 games is Stags best haul since 1998/99, when 9 points were achieved, and is well-deserved. In truth, it could so easily have been 4 wins out of 4, after conceding the late equaliser at Hartlepool, and being so unlucky not to beat Southend at Field Mill.
Man of the Match: Craig Disley.
Pilkington 6 Very little to do, though did drop a couple of regulation crosses under little pressure.
Hassell 7 Very composed at right back, and moved forward very smoothly as well.
Robinson 6 Gave the ball away yet again a few times (for the fourth consecutive game) when not under real pressure, which seemed to give Macclesfield their only glimmer of hope. Did well to win a few crunching tackles at the back as well though, and even had a couple of great runs forward in the second half.
Reddington 9 Outstanding performance in central defence. Won everything easily, apart from one header where he was out-jumped by Lytebourne.
Tankard 7 Solid at left back. Involved in 3 of the goals.
Lawrence 8 Created lots of danger down the right hand side.
Williamson 9 Magnificent display, winning so many 50:50 balls in midfield. Unlucky not to score when his great shot hit the underside of the bar in the lead up to the penalty.
Disley 9 Quite magnificent display, creating so much going forward, scoring 2 goals, and also creating the first for Greenacre, but missing a penalty near the end.
Corden 7 Overshadowed a bit by Disley and Williamson but still a fine showing down the left wing. Unlucky with his customary last minute shot, to see a great save from the keeper.
Greenacre 7 Took his goal nicely, and ran well throughout the game.
White 6 Another goal will do his confidence a world of good, but fluffed a couple of efforts when well-placed, and seemed to lack a killer-touch.
Bacon (for White, 73 mins)
Asher (for Hassell, 80 mins)
Williams (for Lawrence, 84 mins)
Subs Not Used: Bingham, Pemberton.
Macc: Martin, Hitchen, Tinson, Ridler, Adams, Keen, Priest, Tracey, Eyre, Glover, Lightbourne. Subs: Munroe, McAvoy, Wilson, Askey, O'Neil
Referee: P Danson