Platt 32, Jones 65, Wheatcroft 81   Greenacre 90

Saturday 29th September 2001 - kick off 3pm

Nationwide League Division 3

Attendance:  3, 963  

The Stags were boosted by the return of Danny Bacon who played 45 minutes for the Reserves in the friendly with Sheffield Wednesday and by the addition of Richard Harris on loan from Crystal Palace.  The Stags stuck with the same 11 that had beaten Hull City on Tuesday night with Jason White continuing alongside top scorer Chris Greenacre.  Dale included former Stag Tony Ford and on loan central defender Richard Jobson, who at 38 could still call himself a mere youngster with Tony Ford at his side!!  Another loanee, Paul Wheatcroft also featured though another former Stag Simon Coleman was ruled out through injury.

Dale started the stronger and Platt twice headed over from left wing crosses.  However, after the early pressure the Stags got their passing game together and began to dominate the midfield.  Though the Stags had lots of possession they actually rarely threatened the home goal, but on 15 minutes the Stags almost took the lead.  Jason White picked the ball up on the Stags right and his deep cross found Corden who hit a powerful shot into the ground and saw it fly just over the bar.  A minute later a terrible tackle on Disley by Oliver was rewarded with just a yellow card, the stud high tackle may have been more harshly punished by other referee's.  Dale had their second player booked when Atkinson stupidly threw the ball away.  The Stags were still on top and given just a little luck would have taken the lead on 29 minutes.  Picking the ball up on the right Lawrence cut inside and unleashed a stunning left foot shot from 20 yards which smashed onto the inside of the keepers right hand post, flew across the goal mouth and out for a goal kick.  The misery of the Stags misfortune was compounded when Atkinson skipped past Hassell to cross and the unmarked Platt headed past Pilkington.  A minute later the Stags attacked again, Hassell's cross flicked on by Greenacre and volleyed wide by White.  Lawrence then saw his right wing corner headed over by Reddington.  The Stags were most unfortunate to go in behind at half time, though to be fair despite much possession they had created little - Dale on the other hand had scored with their only meaningful effort on goal.

Half time:  1-0

The second half began with an almighty scramble in the Stags goal mouth and quite how Dale didn't increase their lead is a mystery.  The ball bounced around inside the Stags area, first Pilkington made a great save at the near post then Disley managed to clear off the line and finally a desperate Williamson tackle prevented Wheatcroft blasting home.  Indeed Pilkington was by far the busier keeper as the Stags struggled to cope with Dale's 3-5-2 formation which they had switched to at the interval.  In an attempts to get some possession in a game that was drifting away the Stags replaced Jason White with Richard Harris but just 5 minutes later Dale increased their lead with a goal that had been coming.  Disley was harshly penalised for a foul on Platt and a quick free kick saw Jones free to fire a low shot past Pilkington.  The Stags were now playing their worst football of the season, possession was squandered numerous times though on 70 minutes Corden did force Gilks into a save after Pemberton had crossed from the left.  The games was sealed in the 81st minute when Wheatcroft fired home just seconds after the Stags had withdrawn Corden for Asher.  In the last minute Chris Greenacre notched his 9th of the season, a high spot in a very poor second half performance.

A good 1st half performance and the Stags were unfortunate not to go in at least on level terms, however the final ball was never quite good enough.  The 2nd half performance was perhaps the worst the side have played this season and in the end Dale ran out worthy winners.  So a massive disappointment for the 1,000 or so travelling Stags fans.  Man of the match was between the skipper Les Robinson and midfielder Lee Williamson, with the youngster just winning out for my money.

Man of the Match:  Lee Williamson

Report by Rob Wheldon

Pilkington 7 Couple of good saves and no chance with the goals
Hassell  5 Gave ball away too often and skinned for the 1st goal
Pemberton 5 Like Hassell squandered possession too easily
Robinson  8 Excellent, some great challenges and the pick of the defence by a mile
Reddington 5 Struggled all afternoon with Platt, what a difference from Tuesday!!
Disley 6 Good 1st half but struggled in the 2nd
Corden 6 Once more not used enough - give him the bloody ball!!
Lawrence 6 One great shot but not a lot else
Williamson 8 Good passing and got around the pitch very well
White (J) 6 Very unfortunate to be subbed - it wasn't his fault the service was poor
Greenacre  6 Another goal but a quiet game for Chris
Harris  6 (For White (J), 58) Looked a bit rusty, what a throw he has though!!
Asher  6 (For Corden, 80)
Subs Not Used:  Tankard, Bacon, Bingham

Dale:  Gilks, Evans, Jobson, Griffiths, Doughty, Ford (Flitcroft 83), Oliver, Jones, Atkinson (Durkan 70), Platt, Wheatcroft

Referee:  A Bates - 4 - Appallingly bad, did not help the game, several poor decisions

Your Choice of Man of the Match

Williamson 36% 

Reddington 16%  Robinson 14%