Greenacre 18, 43, White 60   Allsop 20, 25, 30, Mildenhall 34

Tuesday 21st August 2001

Worthington Cup, Round One

Attendance:  4, 533

Martin Shaw at Field Mill

This was truly an extraordinary game that almost had everything … except of course the right result! A hat-trick, a goal from a goalkeeper, a sending off, and these were all just for Notts County. Stags took the lead on 18 minutes, but within another 16 crazy minutes were 4-1 down. But a spirited fightback which saw Stags on top for the entire second half was not quite enough in the end to reap the reward it deserved.

After Greenacre had scored a good first goal, firing under the County keeper via a very slight deflection, following an incisive through-ball from Bobby Hassell, there followed some of the worst defending seen by Mansfield for a long time. County’s first 2 goals, by Danny Allsop, both had a suspicion of offside, (a fact which later seemed to be confirmed by the video evidence) but nevertheless the defending was awful on each occasion. But this was nothing compared to what happened next. First, Les Robinson, who had been guilty of giving the ball away in dangerous areas on Saturday, did not learn his lesson and was caught in possession trying the dribble the ball in his own half, to concede a pathetic goal, again scored by Allsop. Then it got even worse, as Mildenhall, the County keeper, took a free kick from fully 85 yards out from the Stags goal. The ball flew straight into the Stags area, but defenders, attackers and Pilkington all went up for the ball and all missed it, with the ball sailing into the open net. Slapstick from Pilkington which simply cannot continue. After Stags fans were treated to a season of solid goalkeeping from Bobby Mimms last year, following the regular howlers by Ian Bowling, and others, we need better from the former Manchester United keeper.

Stags were soon back in the game as Greenacre flicked in a super header after a classic cross from deep by Lawrence.

The second half belonged completely to the home side, and it was 4-3  on the hour, with more goalkeeping clangers. Andy White seemed to be in with a chance of shooting on the edge of the box, but allowed the ball to slip to the County keeper Mildenhall. Mildenhall tried to bowl the ball out, and threw it straight at White’s leg, about 2 feet away! White collected the loose ball dribbled a few yards to his right and slammed the ball into the empty net. The goal lifted the Stags and wave after wave of pressure brought numerous chances but frustratingly none were converted. The best chance fell to Corden in the final minute of stoppage time, but his shot was saved with his legs by Mildenhall, and the rebound agonisingly fell just wide of the onrushing Bacon and Lawrence.   Notts had Richard Liburd sent off near the end for an off-the-ball incident with Bobby Hassell, though it made no difference to the course of the game.

A hugely encouraging performance by the Stags going forward against a powerful Division II side, but the defending will have to be a lot more solid than this if more games are not to be thrown away.

Man of the Match: Chris Greenacre.

Pilkington 5 Disastrous misjudgement for the fourth goal. Otherwise couldn’t be blamed for the other goals, and had a very quiet second half.

Hassell 6 Solid at right back. Provided a telling pass for Greenacre’s first goal.

Robinson 5 Disastrous error for the third goal, and nearly gave the ball away on other occasions too.

Reddington 6 Generally solid, and didn’t make errors unlike his more experienced partners in defence.

Tankard 5 Also gave the ball away on occasions and generally looked all at sea.

Lawrence 7 Started slowly, as on Saturday, but gradually got better and was excellent in the second half. Also provided a great cross for Greenacre’s second goal.

Williamson 7 Fine performance in midfield.

Disley 8 Excellent going forward, and was more positive than Saturday. Surprisingly substituted.

Corden 7 Another good performance from a player in a rich vein of form at the moment.

Greenacre 9 Two good goals, and his all round play was, as usual, terrific.

White 7 His goal will have done his confidence a tremendous amount of good. Generally played well, but needs to get a shot in more often when close to goal.

Subs: Bacon (for Disley, 79) .

Subs Not Used: Bingham, Asher, Pemberton, Williams.