Greenacre 6    

Saturday 17th November 2001 - Kick-off 3pm

FA Cup Round One

Attendance:  4, 201   

The Stags were missing suspended duo Martin Pemberton and Shayne Bradley, both sent off a fortnight ago during the 4-1 victory over Luton.  Allen Tankard replaced Pemberton at left back whilst Danny Bacon continued to partner Chris Greenacre in attack.  Youngsters Bobby Hassell, Liam Lawrence and Lee Williamson had recovered from knocks taken in last weeks win at Carlisle and took their place in the side.  The Stags were once more skippered by Les Robinson, a player who made over 400 appearances for Oxford.  Oxford manager Mark Wright has had a tough start to the season, with Oxford struggling at the wrong end of the table despite this season moving into a terrific new stadium.  His side were without strikers Andy Scott and Phil Gray through injury but welcomed back Wayne Hatswell from suspension.  United were backed by a smaller than expected  following of 680 fans.

Oxford were first to attack, forcing an early corner which Barrett headed clear.  However, in their first real attack of the match the Stags took the lead.  Tankard's free kick was headed back into his own area by Moody who could only look in horror as Greenacre headed past keeper McCaldon for his 15th goal of the season.  A minute later Guyett had to leave the field for stitches to a head injury, returning a couple of minutes later with a bandage across his forehead.  Lawrence hit a superb cross field pass to Corden which the Stags winger controlled expertly before firing a half volley just wide of the goal - incredibly theCelebrations following the goal referee adjudged Corden to have handled and gave the free kick to the visitors.  Stags skipper Robinson then fired a similar cross field ball to Corden whose control was again perfection, this time the wingers cross was cut out by Hartswell.  Disley cut out a pass in midfield, tore through the Oxford defence before finding Greenacre, the Stags striker then put strike partner Danny Bacon clean through but a heavy first touch made him rush his shot and he pulled the ball just wide.  At the other end a rare Oxford attack saw a Powell cross headed just wide by Brooks.  The Stags countered and another fine cross by Corden was fumbled by McCaldon who then gratefully accepted Lawrence's chip back towards goal.  On the half hour the Stags almost went two ahead, once more Corden broke free after a fine Bacon lay off, his pinpoint cross found the head of Tankard but McCaldon tipped the header over.  Bolland was cautioned for a bad foul on Lawrence but the free kick from Tankard was poor, and moments later another foul on Lawrence gave Tankard the opportunity to redeem himself but this free kick was even worse, barely reaching the wall!!  Robinson, majestic at the back, made a rare error leaving his back pass to Pilkington a little short, the Stags keeper having no option but to dive forward and pick up the ball to thwart the advancing  Omoyimni.  Rightly the indirect free kick was given, some 14 yards from goal, but Hassell blocked the kick and the danger was cleared.  The last meaningful action of the half saw another free kick on the edge of the area, this time Lawrence took the kick and whilst he hit the target it was easily caught by McCaldon.

Half time:  1-0

The Stags could have doubled their lead in the opening minute of the 2nd half, Bacon finding Corden, the winger chipping a delightful pass to Disley whose cross was almost turned into his own net by Guyett, McCaldon saving the defender's blushes by tipping the ball past the post.  A neat trick on the left wing by Williamson saw the youngster brought down, the free kick was drilled into the area but Bacon's flick flew just wide.  The visitors were struggling to mount any pressure and rarely suggested an equaliser, however, Hassell brilliantly headed away a Powell cross with Moody poised.  Corden, involved in all the good things the Stags did in attack, picked the ball up on the left, cut inside and fired a shot just over whilst a minute later Omoyimni broke free, pulled the ball back to Moody who mis-kicked hopelessly.  Disley was then penalised for a foul on the edge of his own area but Powell's shot was easy for Pilkington.  Not so easy for the Stags keeper was a back header by Tankard from a long throw, the Stags keeper doing well to tip the ball past the post.  On 70 minutes Greenacre was released by Lawrence, however the striker's first touch took him wide, he pulled the ball back to Hassell who neatly found Williamson who fired a low shot just wide of the post.  On 80 minutes the Stags were hit by an injury to Danny Bacon who had to be stretchered off after appearing to twist his knee, he was replaced by Andy White.  The Stags never really looked in danger of losing the slender lead and frankly Oxford never mounted the sort of last few minutes challenge many were expecting.

So an average performance by the Stags against a physical but fairly limited Oxford side.  The Oxford home is clearly not a happy one, with shouts of "what a load of rubbish", "sort it out" and "4-4-2" regularly heard from the Quarry Lane End.  Barrett and Hassell were again excellent at the back whilst the Stags biggest threat in attack was winger Wayne Corden, though Liam Lawrence also had a good game on the right.  However, not for the first time since he rejoined his home town club, skipper Les Robinson was outstanding and was quite clearly the best player on the pitch.

Man of the Match:  Les Robinson

Pilkington 7 More signs of confidence from Pilks
Hassell  7 Very solid throughout and once more linked well with Lawrence
Tankard 6 Perhaps a little rusty but defended well nevertheless
Barrett 7 Another good game from a player who is now fully match fit
Robinson 9 Typical Robbo performance - excellent
Lawrence 7 Some fine passing and crossing
Corden 8 Shone when he was in possession which wasn't often enough
Disley 6 Quiet game from Dis but battled throughout
Williamson 6 He and Dis not as dominant as usual
Greenacre 7 One real chance, one goal - enough said really
Bacon  7 Missed good chance but busy
White (A)  6 (For Bacon, 80)
Subs Not Used:  Asher, Jervis, Reddington, Bingham
Your Choice Man of the Match Robinson 50% Barrett 11% Corden 10%

Report by Rob Wheldon