23nd November 1999
 
Mansfield Town   1-2  Rotherham United
Lormor 13   Berry 27
    Sedgwick 90
 
Attendance: 2,937

By Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Mansfield slipped to defeat in this closely fought encounter when a freak goal in the last minute gifted a victory to lucky Rotherham. It was tough luck on the Stags who had done more than enough to earn a point.

Mansfield were unchanged from the side that lost at Rochdale, with Porter surprisingly holding onto his place at the expense of Blake, and Roscoe and Richardson facing their former club.

Stags could have taken the lead within the first minute, when Greenacre shot left footed against the top of the bar from the edge of the box, after a long kick from Bowling. Then Bacon shot just wide. But Stags were soon in the lead on 13 minutes as Lormor met an excellent corner from Roscoe with a header at the near post to beat the Rotherham keeper.

For the first 20 minutes, the Stags were on top. But on 27 minutes, a harsh free-kick was awarded 25 yards out from the Stags goal and Trevor Berry curled in a fantastic free-kick to give Bowling no chance.

In the remaining 20 minutes of the half, the Millers got themselves on top and could have gone into the break in the lead. They had some half chances, including a pin-ball effort that trickled wide, and another fine shot from distance from Berry, which was well-saved by Bowling. At the other end, Danny Bacon went down in the box just before half time and the Stags faithful appealed for a penalty, but there were only half-hearted appeals from the Stags players.

At the break, the talk was of a half of two quarters (the first belonging to the Stags, and the second to the Millers), and of a poor display from the referee, who seemed intent on unnecessary bookings (for Andrews and Linighan), and strange decisions.

Blake replaced Porter for the second half as the Stags tried to regain a grip of the midfield. Mansfield were generally on top in the second half but were unable to create more than a few good chances. Lormor came closest when his header was deflected inches wide, and he had another shot over the bar. Williams had 2 crosses which nearly caught the Rotherham keeper out underneath his own bar, and then he sent a stooping header just wide. Rotherham had their moments too, especially when Fortune-West  appeared to have the chance of a one-on-one with Bowling but was harshly pulled back for a foul. But it seemed the game would fizzle out into a draw which both sides deserved, until Rotherham’s lucky late winner. Richardson headed away a deflected cross, only as far as Warne, who played it back for Watson. Watson shot from 23 yards, the ball took a wicked deflection off Lormor as the Stags forward through himself in front of the shot, and it looped up over stranded keeper Bowling. It seemed it would creep under the bar, but instead it hit the bar, bounced back into play and Sedgwick reacted quicker than the static Roscoe to head home the rebound as Bowling lay on the ground. Stags could have equalised in injury time as a quick break found Darrell Clarke in space in the box but he blazed his volley over the bar.

So overall a fair performance from Mansfield and one which deserved a point against one of the division’s better teams, but again luck deserted them.

Man of the Match: Danny Bacon
 

Stags Match Stats
Line Up Rating Remarks
Bowling 6 Still uneasy with crosses into the box, but starting to look closer to match fitness.
Williams 7 Unlucky not to score.
Roscoe 7 Much better performance. Great corner for Stags goal, but slow to react for Rotherham’s late winner. 
Richardson 7 Solid performance at the back against his former club. 
Linighan 7 Solid.
Andrews 7 Looked good, and unlucky to be booked. 
Porter 7 His best performance probably so far for the Stags, but went off injured. 
Clarke 6 Unable to repeat his form from the Lincoln game.
Greenacre 7 Quieter than previous games, but still looked a good striker.
Bacon 8 Full of running and again looked a great prospect. 
Lormor 7 Good header for the goal, and, as always, led the line well. 
Subs:
Blake 7 (for Porter, 46) Fair performance.
Unused Subs:   Gibson, Asher, Tallon, Boulding.