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Archived News from November 2002

28th November 2002 18:55

A bitterly cold afternoon at Field Mill saw the arrival of Stags "old boy" Keith Alexander and his young Lincoln reserve team,a team that consisted of both former Lincoln managers,Stags "legend" Phil Stant and Alan Buckley's sons.
Neil Richardson fielded a very strong stags side,which happily consisted of long term casualties Bobby Hassell,Dion Scott,Allen Tankard and Dave Jervis.There was also a place for on-loan Colin Little,himself returning from a brief spell on the sidelines,and Irish trialist Keith Foy.
The Stags started like a greyhound out of the blocks,keen to stamp there authority on there local rivals.In the first few moments the Imps goalkeeper had to be alert to make good stops from both Little and Beardsley before the stags got the early goal that there enterprise deserved.Chris Beardsley stroking home from close range after a routine cross from Bobby Hassell somehow eluded all the Lincoln backline.Unfortunately,this was followed by the devastating sight of defender Allen Tankard again pulling up and having to be substituted.His return had lasted a mere ten minutes and he looked a very sorry sight,slumping to the floor of the home dugout,head bowed in recollection.
The second goal came almost immediately as the Stags refused to take there foot off of the pedal.Again the impressive Beardsley,looking more than at home with his more illustrious team-mates,clinicly finishing from ten yards into the far corner of the Quarry Lane goal.
Lincoln were at this stage,struggling to produce any kind of fluent football,with the Stags backline of Scott Hollyoak and Tankards replacement Jake Buxton having nothing of any real quality to contend with.Indeed it was only a matter of time that the home side would get a third,as they looked dangerous on every attack.A run down the left with Jervis and Foy linking up,produced some play in the penalty area that the defence could only clear as far as Scott who controled the ball and crisply struck the ball into that same far corner of the net.
The fourth came a minute later as Mansfield threatened to run riot.A throughball by Neil MacKenzie allowed Dave Jervis,enjoying himself in his attacking left sided midfield role,to run through on goal and smash the ball past the tormented Imps keeper,with the visitors defence going Awol.Indeed the damage could have been much worse,exept for a compitant display by the visiting goalkeeper,again keeping out efforts by Little and a couple of Bacon efforts.
A watching Stuart Watkiss must have been delighted at this stage.His defence hadn't been threatened to any extent,the midfield were in complete control,with Neil MacKenzie looking to have the bit between his teeth,and the forward line was rampant.
Finally a much deserved goal for the ever industrious Colin Little duly arrived after the half hour mark.Having had a couple of efforts already stopped,the Crewe man finished from close range.
It was becoming an embarrasingly easy stroll in the park for Richardson's boys,who were showing all the simple attacking flair of the first eleven.They then started to imitate the full team's other trait,the unwanted one.Lincoln suddenly exposed a couple of mistakes at the back with White having to do his first work of the afternoon,getting down low to an Adie Mike effort,when the big striker found himself some space.The same player then found himself with acres of room,only to blast the ball high into the North Stand,when it seemed easier to score.
Mike finally got his name on the scoresheet after the home defence failed to handle a cornerkick.Lincoln getting a header on goal which was prevented from crossing the line by Buxton.But with the ball getting stuck under the youngsters feet,Mike took advantage to nick the ball home from a yard out.The defence were beginning to make silly mistakes after looking so comfortable,with Lincoln finishing the half the stronger and growing in confidence.They got there second on the stroke of half time,the stags failing to contend with a ball up to the front men,one of which turned and scored from 15 yards.

Half Time : 5-2

Colin Larkin replaced Chris Beardsley at half time to get some much needed match practise,and the young Irishman started the half tormenting the left hand side of the Lincoln defence.The Stags started the half in a very similar vein to the first half,with MacKenzie again influencial in the middle.The big man spreading around some delightful balls.Infact it was again becoming only a matter of time before the home side got back on the scoresheet,Larkin and Bacon going close,and Little hitting the bar with a rasping effort.And it was that man who made it six within minutes,a fine through ball by Bobby Hassel was latched onto by Little,who's sweet finish could not be prevented by the man in the lincoln goal.It was certainly nice to see him getting a couple of goals and seeming a real threat to the oppositions defence.All boding well for his return to first team action.
Lincoln's foray's were again becoming a rare commodity,but on one of there real few chance of the half they again scored.Only this time with more help of the Mansfield Town defence.This time Holyoak leaping full length in desperation to clear a cross,only managed to divert the ball into White's top corner while under little pressure from the Lincoln forward line.
The game seemed to then fizzle out into dullness after the action of the first 65 minutes,with little goal action to write about.My knee's were like ice-blocks,and I had to nip to Safeway,so left with ten minutes remaining to avoid the crush.

In summerizing,it was a performance that had "PROPERTY of MANSFIELD TOWN FC" stamped all over it.At times there football was a flowing delight,but to Neil Richardson(and the watching Watkiss)it must again be a source of great annoyance that they let a side that was so inferior throughout the park get some sort of respectablity out of the scoreline.Make no bones,this Stags team should be beating this Lincoln team very soundly,but again a Mansfield Team flattered to deceive at times.The highlights were the forward play of Little and Beardsley,and Larkin looked sharp when introduced and was maybe unlucky not to grab a goal,along with Danny Bacon.Neil MacKenzie staked his claim for a return to the full starting line up,though his fellow midfielders of Hassall and Jervis looked as though they need a little more time yet.At the back,I feel that Dion Scott,who looks capable in the air and has a bit of pace would benefit far more for playing in a four at the back,sooner than a three.The real disappointment,has to be the agony of Allen Tankard,the first team desperatly needs him,but it is getting to the stage where he,the management and the supporters must be wondering if he has played his last game for the Stags.His injury is a bitter blow to all of us and it has to be hoped that he can make a quick recovery.

Stags line-up:

White,Tankard,Scott,Holyoak,Hassall,MacKenzie,Foy,Jervis,Bacon,Little,Beardsley.Subs used:Larkin and Buxton

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