Saturday 1st December 2001 - Kick-off 3pm
Nationwide League Division 3
Attendance: 3, 240
The Stags welcomed back Bobby Hassell passed fit earlier on in the week but Danny Bacon was ruled out after picking up a hip injury in the Reserve fixture at Kidderminster on Wednesday. On-loan striker Matt Piper continued in attack with 15 goal Chris Greenacre. Martin Pemberton was on the bench after serving his three match ban, but Adam Barrett was ruled out with Stuart Reddington coming in to partner skipper Les Robinson in the centre of the Stags defence.
In a quiet opening first 15 minutes both sides battled to gain control of the critical midfield area, with the visitors preferring a much more direct tactic and the Stags struggling with an uneven surface. However, almost out of the blue the Stags took the lead when hot-shot Chris Greenacre was put through and fired past Freestone who got a hand to the shot but watched in agony as the ball crawled over the line. Swansea almost hit back a few minutes later as Robinson inadvertently flicked on a Swansea corner, Hassell sliced a clearance but Corden was on hand to block Sidibe's goal bound effort. Allen Tankard became the first Stags player in the book after a late challenge on Sidibe. More fine work from Lawrence, having by far his best game of the season, saw Piper break through but the on-loan striker was thwarted by Freestone. The Stags were beginning to dominate and Corden found space on the right, put in a perfect cross only for Lawrence to side foot just past the post. Piper was then involved again when his cross from the right was deflected and awkward for Freestone who managed to gather the ball under his own bar. Under the challenge Piper was flung through the advertising hoarding but picked himself up after brief treatment. Piper was then the victim of a bad foul on the Stags left but Corden's free kick was over-hit. Piper, involved throughout, then tried his luck from 20 yards after being found by another Lawrence pass, the ball flying well over the Swans bar. Swansea then almost grabbed an equaliser after a terrific effort by Coates had Pilkington beaten but flew just wide. However, the Stags then went up the other end and increased their lead. Lawrence held the ball up well inside the area and found Greenacre whose deflected shot beat Freestone.
Half Time: 2-0
Swansea almost got the start to the 2nd half they needed, Cusack volleying goal-wards but Pilkington tipped the ball over. Williamson then saw his cross fly just over Greenacre's head but Lawrence did some more great work and found Williamson who shot straight at Freestone. Sidibe offered a rare Swansea threat, his long range effort easy for Pilkington. Corden's fine cross from the left was almost headed home by Greenacre, Freestone just getting to the ball first. Tankard then found space on the left and his neat chip into the area saw Lawrence set to score but a fine challenge from Evans prevented the young midfielder scoring. Brodie hit a fine shot from the right which was deflected just wide of Pilkington's goal but the threat from Swansea was mostly from long range and the Stags defence remained solid, Reddington particularly impressive. Corden then displayed the skill that has thrilled the Stags faithful this season, brilliantly cutting into the area before firing a shot at goal which Freestone did well to save, the rebound fell to Lawrence who worked his way into a shooting position but dragged the ball just wide. On 68 minutes the Stags almost got the important third, Reddington meeting a Corden corner but heading just over. Lawrence then drilled a stunning 40 yard pass to Corden who found his way to the bye-line before winning a corner. Freestone dropped the corner and Piper knocked the ball back in the area which was cleared only as far as Lawrence who volleyed well over. Piper was then put clean through again by Lawrence, but Freestone saved well with his legs. The Stags were now rampant and the third goal came on 77 minutes. Lawrence put in a slide rule pass which freed Greenacre on the left, the striker cut in towards goal but rather than trying to claim his hat-trick unselfishly found Piper who fired home. Now in cruise control the Stags played out the remaining 15 minutes with ease.
After a tough opening 15 minutes the goal seemed to relax the Stags and from then they turned in a very impressive performance and fully deserved the 3-0 scoreline. Stuart Reddington looked back to his best in defence whilst the return of Bobby Hassell was a big plus at full back. Matt Piper again looked very impressive though looked more comfortable out wide than as an out an out striker, which is not such a problem when the other striker is 17 goal Chris Greenacre. However, though Corden impressed on the left the outstanding player on the pitch was Liam Lawrence, his best game of the season and probably his best game in a Stags shirt.
Man of the Match: Liam Lawrence
Report by Rob Wheldon
|Pilkington||7||Another solid display|
|Hassell||7||Good to have him back|
|Tankard||7||Another good game|
|Reddington||7||Ensured Barrett wasn't missed - no messing|
|Robinson||7||Reliable as ever|
|Lawrence||9||Involved in everything and great passing - outstanding|
|Corden||7||In possession he was excellent|
|Disley||7||All action display|
|Williamson||7||Vast improvement on last Fridays game|
|Piper||8||Pacey and caused Swans defence problems all game|
|Pemberton||6||for Reddington (85)|
|Subs Not Used: Bradley, Asher, Jervis, Bingham|
|Your Choice Man of the Match||Greenacre 24%||Lawrence 23%||Piper 16%|