STAGS RESERVES SUNK BY DARLINGTON
DARLINGTON striker Danny Mellanby shot down an experienced Mansfield Town reserves side with a hat-trick in a 4-1 success in Stags' final Avon Insurance League match of the season at Field Mill this afternoon.
Stags player-manager Keith Curle played the first half, as did a match-rusty assistant manager John Gannon, while also included were Scott Sellars, Matt Gadsby, Neil MacKenzie and Iyseden Christie.
It wasn't the best of games with the visitors leading at the break through Mellanby's 34th minute finish from eight yards after being slipped through by Michael Bond.
The Quakers had already had a goal disallowed for offside on 14 minutes when Mellanby raced through and, instead of finishing it himself, rolled the ball unselfishly to his right for the offside Ian Clark to net!
At the other end Mark Hurst forced Jack Norton into a good save, parrying his powerful blast on 10 minutes while David McGurk produced a timely tackle as Christie looked set to score. But, overall, Stags were showing a reluctance to shoot and over-playing things.
Right on half time Jason White had to turn a near post effort from Neil Wainwright round the post.
Andy Jones and Callum Lloyd replaced the managerial duo in the warm sunshine at half-time.
And Stags were level on 52 minutes as Adam Reed hauled down Christie for a penalty which MacKenzie confidently stroked home.
But five minutes later it was 2-1 to Darlington when Scott Sellars' loose ball allowed Bond to pick out Mellanby for his second.
White saved from Bond on the hour before Stags came close to an equaliser.
Neat play from MacKenzie and Christie set up Mark Robinson whose shot brought the best out of keeper Norton.
Two minutes later Darlington increased their lead on 62 minutes.
Christie was pipped to the ball by Norton who launched it downfield to Wainwright who beat one defender before picking his spot inside the far post. Nothing 'tippy-tappy' about that one!
Two minutes later Mellanby completed his treble as he went in hard with White to reach a through ball and muscled the ball away from the young keeper before rolling into the gaping net.
Chris Beardsley had a close range stooping header kicked off the line by Paul Campbell, but the visitors also came close as Campbell's header was turned over by White.
Stags were unable to field Australian trialist Marcus Stergiopoulos as his international clearance did not arrive in time.
STAGS RES: J. White, Carter, Sellars, MacKenzie, K. Curle (Lloyd 45mins), Gadsby, Robinson, Hurst, Christie, Beardsley (Mulligan 80mins), Gannon (Jones 45mins). Subs not used: Ryalls T. Curle.
QUAKERS HIT STAGS' SECOND STRING
BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 24 April 2003
Mansfield's second string, which included manager Keith Curle and his assistant John Gannon, went down 4-1 in their penultimate Avon League match against Darlington yesterday.
Scott Sellars, who was fielded as a left-back, got through another 90 minutes as he continues to progress from his recent stomach bug, and Neil MacKenzie and Iyseden Christie also featured. The striker, who has scored 19 goals this season but was dropped from the squad for Monday's visit to Blackpool, was taken off as a precaution at the end after a heavy challenge.
In a scrappy first half, Darlington took the lead 11 minutes before the break when Danny Mellanby netted the first of a hat-trick after he had been released by strike partner Michael Bond.
With Curle returning from the groin injury that has kept him out of the last two first-team games and Gannon both substituted at half-time, the Stags managed to get back on terms when Christie was bundled over in the box.
MacKenzie sent Jack Norton the wrong way from the spot.
But Mellanby swiftly reinstated the Quakers' advantage and, after setting up Neil Wainwright for a third, completed his hat-trick midway through the half.
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