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Archived News from August 2002

31st August 2002 21:53

Mansfield Town 0 Crewe Alexandra 5
Walker 30, Jack 36, Hulse 38, Foster 48, Lunt 65
Attendance: 4,183 (588 from Crewe)
Martin Shaw at Field Mill

Stags produced a totally inept performance at Field Mill this afternoon and were completely humiliated in being beaten 5-0 by Crewe. Crewe were so superior that they really should have won by 8 or 9, not just 5.

After today's game Stags boss Stuart Watkiss said that two or three more performances like this would see him sacked. He's probably not far wrong. I have been watching the side for 30 years and am hard-pressed to think of a worse performance than this. Humiliation really is the best way to describe it. And it was all so totally predictable from about the 5th minute of the game. You could see exactly what was going to happen. Crewe missed 3 absolute sitters in the opening 15 minutes. The pattern of play was predictable - Crewe would play it out wide, one of the Stags back three would be drawn out of position, the ball would be played in and Crewe had spare men over. Fortunately Crewe's finishing was generally poor. Crewe's approach play was indeed excellent but Stags were so bad today that they probably could have been beaten by anybody.

Watkiss said that after 5 minutes he could see what was going wrong - he needed to switch from a back three to a back four. But he didn't make the switch until half-time when Stags were lucky to be only 3-0 down.

The Stags started with the back three of Reddington, Lever and Moore. The rest of the side picked itself due to injuries and the suspension of Sellars. There was dreadful news after just 7 minutes when striker Colin Larkin chased a ball and went down. It looked straight away like his hamstring had gone. After the game, Watkiss indicated that Larkin would be out for a minimum of 4-6 weeks. Christie came on in place of Larkin.

I can't bring myself to describe all the Crewe goals. Suffice to say that the defending was appalling.

At half time, Jamie Clarke came on at left back as Reddington moved to right back. Stags did look marginally better once Danny Holyoak had come on for his debut in place of Lever in central defence. But by then Stags were 4-0 down. Clarke and Holyoak did ok and should be excused from criticism. The only other players who put in acceptable performances were Pilkington, who made a few great saves, MacKenzie who played in front of the back three, and Disley, who never stopped running.

Stags had just 2 goal attempts on target compared to Crewe's 15 on target. In the second half, MacKenzie had one of those with a fine free kick that was well saved low down by the Crewe keeper. Disley had one chance with a cross-shot that was saved. In the first half, Andy White was unlucky when his snapshot was inches over the bar, with score still at 0-0.

Watkiss indicated after the game that none of the injured players would be back within the next fortnight. Presumably this includes Hassell and Tankard, as well as Jervis. On the recent showings of the defence without these players, it is hard to see Stags avoiding defeat in these coming games. I left the game with a feeling of despair.

Man of the match: Kevin Pilkington.

Pilkington 7 Made some good saves, to keep the score down.
Reddington 4 Appalling.
Lever 4 Appalling.
Moore 5 Very poor.
MacKenzie 6 Did ok in the front of the defence.
Lawrence 4 Appalling.
Disley 6 Never stopped running. Did give the ball away on occasion though.
Williamson 5 Very under par.
Corden 5 Poor - hardly involved in the game.
Larkin 6 Injured after 7 minutes. Will be out for 4-6 weeks.
AWhite 5 Poor - couldn't keep hold of the ball.
Christie (for Larkin, 7 mins) 5 Disappointing.
Clarke (for Corden, 46 mins) 6 Didn't do much wrong. Shape of defence looked better after he came on.
Holyoak (for Lever, 53 mins) 6 Satisfactory debut.
Subs not used: Bingham, Bacon.
Ref C.Webster (Chester-le-Street)


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