Lawrence 11, Greenacre 50, White 87   Hutchison 90

Saturday 21st July 2001

Pre-Season Friendly

Attendance:  4,315

Stags welcomed Premiership Sunderland to Field Mill for the first time since the sides met in the league over 13 years ago.  That was when Sunderland were in the old 3rd Division and they registered an emphatic double over the Stags, winning 4-1 at Roker Park despite trailing to an early Ian Stringfellow goal, and then 4-0 at Field Mill.  True to his word, Peter Reid fielded a strong Sunderland side, which included the likes of Kevin Kilbane, Naill Quinn, John Oster and Don Hutchison.  

Stags began in confident fashion and dominated the early exchanges and Corden tested Macho on ten minutes with a low left foot shot.  A couple of minutes later the Stags were deservedly ahead with a fine goal from Liam Lawrence.  Greenacre had run through on to a deft pass by Corden and though keeper Macho managed to block Greenacre's effort the ball ran loose to Lawrence who rounded the keeper and slotted home from 18 yards.  It wasn't until the half hour mark that Sunderland had their first meaningful attempt on goal, Hutchinson hitting the outside of the post from an acute angle with Pilkington well in control.  A minute later and a moment of brilliance from Quinn almost gave the Black Cats an equaliser, lobbing Pilkington from 30 yards but seeing his shot rebound off the bar and away to safety by Hassell.  At the other end Greenacre fired a 20 yard drive well over and the striker saw his shot blocked after a neat passing move with Williamson.  Thirlwell tested Pilkington from long range on 35 minutes but the Stags keeper handled well.  A couple of minutes later and the Stags were almost two up.  A neat interchange of passing between Bradley and Corden released Greenacre who perhaps should have scored but saw his shot blocked from 5 yards out.

Half Time:  1-0

Stags made two changes at half time, Williams replaced Corden and Asher replaced Williamson.  The 2nd half was barely 5 minutes old when the Stags doubled their advantage.  Spotting Macho off his line Greenacre hit a great lob from 25 yards, the ball flew over the despairing Sunderland keeper and into his right hand corner of the net.  It was no more than the Stags deserved though Sunderland almost pulled a goal back when Pilkington saved well at the feet of Kyle.  On the hour the Stags should have been further ahead.  A great through ball by Hassell saw Lawrence clean through, he hit a low shot which was saved by the legs of Macho but the ball flew back to Lawrence whose deft chip was headed home by Bradley.  However, the goal was ruled off-side by the Assistant, though the decision looked extremely harsh on the Stags.  Just 5 minutes later the Stags again broke free, this time Bradley fed Greenacre but the ball was slightly behind the Stags striker and his cheeky attempted back-heel was cleared.  Again more fluent football from the Stags between Disley and Hassell saw Williams find Bradley but the strikers shot was easy for Macho.  It was all Mansfield and a stranger would have thought it was they who were the Premiership side.  On 68 minutes the impressive Bradley was replaced by Andy White and 5 minutes later Liam Lawrence was given a well earned rest, replaced by Dave Jervis.  These changes failed to disrupt the Stags fluent passing and Pemberton could have done better when released by Greenacre, the Stags midfielder smashing the ball well wide.  Danny Bacon then replaced Greenacre before the Stags secured victory with a splendid 3rd goal.  Again sprinting clear on the left Martin Pemberton put in a terrific left wing ball which Andy White ran on to and smashed past Macho.  Stags made their final change with John Andrews replacing Craig Disley.  Fans were stunned when from somewhere the referee found 5 additional minutes.  Deep into this stoppage time Sunderland were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Stags box and Don Hutchison took a quick free kick, the ball hitting the inside of the post and into the net.  It was rough justice on the Stags defence, notably Stuart Reddington, who had done more than enough to secure a clean sheet.

So a magnificent performance in all areas of the pitch from the extremely young Stags side.  They proved more than a match in every aspect for their more illustrious Premiership opponents and Boss Billy Dearden must have been delighted with the attitude, commitment and skill level of his players.  Bobby Hassell did a terrific job at right back in the 1st half and continued in the same vein in a defensive midfield role 2nd half.  However, particular praise must be given to Stuart Reddington, outstanding against Quinn and barely missed a header the whole match.

Stagsnet Man of the Match:  Stuart Reddington


Stags:  Pilkington 7, Hassell 9, Robinson 7, Reddington 9, Pemberton 7, Lawrence 8, Disley 8 (Andrews 88, 6), Williamson 8 (Asher 45, 7) Corden 7 (Williams 45, 7), Bradley 7 (White 68, 7), Greenacre 7 (Bacon 81, 6).  Subs Not Used: Bingham

Sunderland: Macho; Ramsden, Varga (Williams 46), Craddock (Clark 58), McCartney; Oster (Lumsdon 46), Hutchison, Thirlwell, Kilbane; Bellion, Quinn (Kyle 46). Subs not used: Ingham, Butler

 Man of the Match - How YOU voted (108 votes) Hassell (30%) Reddington (19%) Lawrence (18%)