Mansfield Town 3 - 2 Macclesfield Town
Artell 7, Mendes 52, Lawrence pen 69
Tipton 14, Miles 38
Att 4,209 (333 from Macclesfield)
The Stags began with the same side that had taken 6 points from the last three games. However, striker Colin Larkin was ruled out and Tom Curtis returned to the bench. The Silkmen, fresh from a 4-1 win over Yeovil included new signing Martin Carruthers in attack with the talented John Miles.
It was the Stags who created the game's first opening within the first minute. Mendes did well to hold the ball up and a neat flick saw Christie burst through but his left foot shot curled high over the bar. Mendes was again involved as the Stags took the lead on 7 minutes. He did well on the right and forced a corner, Lawrence swung in the cross which was missed by the visiting keeper and Artell arrived at the back post to head powerfully home. Another set piece forced the Stags next chance, a long free kick by Day found the head of fellow centre half Artell inside the Macclesfield area, however, just as Vaughan was about to strike at goal a Macc defender got in a challenge and forced the ball away. The Stags were pegged back on 14 minutes after a free kick, very harshly given on the Macc left, was curled into the area, it missed all the defenders and attackers and flew into the corner of the net with Pilkington rooted to his line. It was one of those where the keeper was expecting a header towards goal but when none came it was too late for him to get across to keep the ball out. Miles then tested Pilkington just moments later, but the Stags keeper did well to palm the ball away for a corner. The Stags countered with a fine ball by Lawrence put Christie in again, the striker was forced to check back and found Mendes whose deft touch to Mackenzie saw the Stags midfielder fire just wide. Corden then found some space on the left, swung in a fine cross which Christie met before the advancing keeper but his header flew over – Christie needed treatment after being flattened by the keeper. The lively Mendes then broke through the Macc defence and with just the keeper to beat fired a powerful shot against the bar,. Christie then should have put the Stags ahead after more good work from Mendes, his perfect pass found Christie unmarked just 8 yards from goal but he fired his shot well over the bar. Just moments later Mendes looked like he's been tripped inside the area, but the referee gave nothing. The Stags were made to pay for the Christie as just a minute after this great Stags chance the visitors took the lead. A defence splitting pass put Miles through and he fired past the helpless Pilkington, though the Stags keeper did manage to get a hand to the shot. The visitors, although under pressure for most of the half, looked very capable going forward, with Miles a constant threat throughout.
Half Time 1-2
Macclesfield, buoyed by the half time lead almost extended the lead early into the 2nd half. Miles again finding space in between the Stags defence and firing a shot past Pilkington, but luckily for the home side, onto the upright. Like in the first half, a great chance at one end was followed by a goal at the other. This time it was the Stags who benefited as Hassell broke through on the right, put in a perfect cross which Mendes finished clinically from close range. Christie then should have put the Stags ahead when found by a perfect Corden cross, however, despite being completely unchallenged he put his header over the bar from just 8 yards. Disley replaced Corden, the Stags winger just wasn't given enough possession. However, the Stags weren't to be denied the lead for long and once again Mendes was the central figure. A neat Mackenzie pass put Mendes clear on the left, the striker cut in field and beat several defenders before being scythed down right in front of the referee who instantly gave the penalty. With Corden off, Liam Lawrence took the kick and sent the keeper the wrong way to put the home side ahead. Williamson then found Mendes inside the area but this time the strikers shot was saved. However, Macclesfield were still proving very dangerous and could have equalised with ten minutes remaining as Carruthers burst clean through with Stags defenders appealing in vain for off-side, however, Stags keeper Pilkington came to the rescue with a fine point blank save, though in truth Carruthers should have scored. Indeed just a minute later Carruthers again broke free but this time it was the impressive Vaughan with the well timed block. Vaughan then almost capped a fine personal performance as his cross shot beat the Macc keeper but rebounded clear off the upright. Macc still managed one more goal attempt, Pilkington tipping over a long range shot.
This was a good performance against a very neat Macclesfield side – in fact, they are the best Macclesfield side ever to visit Field Mill and can probably count themselves a little unfortunate not to get something from the game. Whilst the Stags did have most of the play and probably more chances, Macc's incisive passing did cause havoc in the Stags defence and at 2-1 down the shot that hit the Stags post was a truly pivotal moment in the game. The Stags looked a threat from set pieces and Day and Artell handled Macc set pieces well, which is very encouraging. There were good performances from Lawrence and again from Williamson but the Stags best two players were Vaughan and Mendes. For his goal, creating the penalty chance and making a nuisance of himself throughout, Junior Mendes gets his 2nd successive home Man of the Match.
Man of the Match: Junior Mendes
Pilkington 6 Good saves at crucial times, but his kicking was poor and perhaps was at fault for the first goal
Hassell 7 Great cross for the Stags 2nd goal and got forward well
Vaughan 8 Calm in possession and defended well throughout
Artell 8 Never lost a header the whole game
Day 7 Like Artell excellent in the air, but caught out for 2nd goal
Lawrence 8 Whole hearted and responsible display from Liam
Corden 6 Starved of possession again
Williamson 7 Worked hard in midfield and kept the ball well
Mackenzie 7 Good on the ball and some neat passing but still gives the ball away in dangerous positions
Christie 6 Poor finishing marred a reasonable overall display
Mendes 8 A goal and created a penalty, also should have had another penalty – another great display in front of the home fans.
Disley (for Corden) 6 Did well in an unfamiliar left wing position
Curtis (for Mackenzie) 6 Used the ball well and kept things simple
Latest | September 2003