MAGNIFICENT MANSFIELD SLAUGHTER SPIREITES!
Magnificent Mansfield Town slaughtered the Chesterfield at Saltergate this morning.
Chesterfield 1 - 2 Mansfield Town
Ebdon Pen 39. Disley 43, Lawrence 90 (+4).
Bradley s/o 70
Att: 6813 (app 2300 from Mansfield)
Stags: Pilkington, Clarke, Day, Gadsby, Doane, Lawrence, Disley, Curtis, Corden, Beardsley, AWhite.
Sub: Mitchell (for Beardsley, 77).
Subs not used: JWhite, Baptiste, Buxton, Carter.
Chesterfield: Williams, Blatherwick, O'Hare, Howson, Ebdon, Bradley, Brandon, Edwards, Booty, Reeves, Hurst. Subs: Payne, Rushbury, Allott, Warne, Richmond.
Stags bookings: Curtis, Disley, AWhite.
Ref: A.Hall, West Midlands (replaced by Paul Robinson, 20 minutes)
A stoppage-time winner from Liam Lawrence gave Mansfield a crucial 2-1 victory in a dramatic local derby that saw Chesterfield's former Stags striker Shayne Bradley sent off.
Bradley had only been on the field three minutes when he was shown the red card by substitute referee Paul Robinson in the 70th minute.
Robinson had replaced Andy Hall after 20 minutes and he dismissed Bradley for an off-the-ball incident that was spotted by a linesman.
Bradley's departure threatened to mar what had been a passionate and open game in which Chesterfield had taken a 38th-minute lead through Marcus Ebdon's penalty after Matthew Gadsby had needlessly handled.
Craig Disley volleyed the equaliser two minutes before the break and both sides had chances before Mansfield snatched it in the fifth minute of injury time.
Jamie Clarke lifted in a free-kick and Gadsby headed across goal for Lawrence to place a downward header past Spireites goalkeeper Ben Williams.
Match Statistics (Cheats/Stags)
9 Goal Attempts 14
5 On target 7
4 Off target 7
0 Woodwork 1
5 Corners 2
15 Fouls 18
5 Offside 5
Derby delight: Chesterfield 1 Stags 2
In a season of so many lows, there will be no moments higher than this one for the Stags faithful save perhaps the win that finally keeps them up.
Liam Lawrence's winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time is something he and the 2,200 away fans will remember and treasure for a long time as injury-ravaged Mansfield for once had something to celebrate against their bitter rivals from up the road.
The afternoon was made all the sweeter for Mansfield fans by the shock 70th minute dismissal of Shayne Bradley, released by Mansfield earlier in the season, less than three minutes after coming on as substitute.
Without doubt this was the most significant contribution the injury-jinxed Bradley had ever made to the Stags cause!
With the game balanced on a knife edge at 1-1, Bradley trotted on to replace David Reeves and Mansfield must have feared he was destined to net a dream winner for Chesterfield. The script was an obvious one.
However, Bradley's dream turned into a nightmare as the script went horribly wrong for him when the referee's assistant called the referee over as players jostled for position in the box.
Bradley was eventually called over and stood in stunned disbelief as the red card was produced.
It transpired later that he had allegedly spat at Rhys Day, but Bradley protested his innocence and it will be interesting to see if the match video caught the moment.
Even with 10 men, Chesterfield had their chances to win it, but Stags saved their golden moment for last as Jamie Clarke's free kick was flicked on by Day to Lawrence, who had got round the back door. And he guided home a close range header before tearing off his shirt and sparking wild celebrations in front of his own fans.
It came just 12 minutes after Lawrence had seen a low shot come back off the far post for the second successive game.
It was a memorable end to an excellent derby that erased memories of that tame 2-0 surrender at Field Mill back in August and provided the sort of electric atmosphere and red-hot action that one had surprisingly lacked.
The visit of Chesterfield was Stags' first really poor display of the season and set the pattern for a miserable spell that left them rooted bottom for so long. Maybe this win over the Spireites can now have the reverse effect and set them on the way to achieving safety.
Few gave depleted Mansfield a prayer at Saltergate as they arrived with the bare bones of 11 players including a debut for teenage striker Chris Beardsley and a bench of five youth team trainees.
Keith Curle, Bobby Hassell, Colin Larkin, Danny Bacon and Neil MacKenzie were all ruled out with injury while Adam Eaton, recalled by Preston in the week, was replaced by another loanee, Ben Doane of Shefield United, who had a steady debut.
However, Rhys Day celebrated his 18-month contract with a rock-solid display alongside an equally solid Matt Gadsby while Craig Disley rose to the occasion for his best game in a while in the midfield engine room as Stags overcame the odds.
Up front Andy White fought a brave battle against the colossus that is Steve Blatherwick with young Beardsley also holding the ball up well.
We even had a substitute referee for the second time in three games as injured Andy Hall was replaced by Paul Robinson on 20 minutes.
Although Beardsley flicked a header wide for Mansfield, the home side had good chances in the early stages as Reeves fired just over from 20 yards, when Wayne Corden failed to clear his lines, Pilkington turned over a bullet shot from Rob Edwards from a Reeves' pass and then also had to race out his box to head clear before Reeves could reach Day's short backheader.
Former Chesterfield midfielder Tom Curtis had a shot blocked before Corden took over and forced a save from Ben Williams as Stags hit back and enjoyed a good spell of pressure.
Then Beardsley saw Williams push his stinging shot upwards before gathering at the second attempt.
Stags were more than holding their own when disaster struck on 38 minutes as Chesterfield pumped the ball into the box from the left and it clearly struck Gadsby's hand.
Despite lengthy protests, the penalty was awarded and Marcus Ebdon sent Pilkington the wrong way.
But, even with player-manager Curle on the sidelines, the new steel and belief he has injected into them was quickly apparent as they levelled within five minutes to silence the home fans.
Lawrence chipped the perfect ball to his left into Disley's path in the box and he controlled before tucking the ball home clinically past Williams and then ripping of his shirt to celebrate in front of the furious home fans.
Reeves was inches wide before the whistle while Stags defender Jamie Clarke managed to clear almost on the line as Steve Payne wanted too many touched before tucking away a golden chance from Reeves' flick in front of goal.
It was heady stuff and great entertainment for the near-7,000 crowd as the winter sunshine broke through to further illuminate the scene.
A bemused Pilkington trotted down to the Chesterfield end on the restart to a chorus of "scab," and Lawrence would later have coins thrown at him at the same end little love lost between these clubs which goes beyond football.
Corden caused early problems in that second half with a low cross that White could not finish and then with a corner that Day put just wide after Gadsby had headed back across goal.
Mansfield hearts were in their mouths as Curtis, already booked, clattered into Alan O'Hare, and was beckoned over by the referee. Thankfully he escaped with a lecture to the fury of the home side with Payne going to great lengths to suggest a red card was deserved.
A low cross from Corden on the hour saw White manage a sublime flick that left an inviting loose ball in the box which no one pounced on in time. Then Beardsley had a shot on the turn comfortably saved.
Chesterfield tried to pep things up with a double substitution on 67 minutes. But it backfired as Bradley quickly returned to the sidelines after his red card which stunned both sides.
Now the heat was on Chesterfield and 12 minutes from time Lawrence looked to have won it when he chested down a Lawrence cross at the far post and rifled a low finish that Williams' fingertips pushed on to the foot of the far post.
Both sides had late chances with Pikington out well to smother the ball ahead of Glynn Hurst and then getting down well to keep out Hurst's low finish after he had raced away and beaten Day.
In stoppage time Pilkington also had to leave his box to head clear and then make a tackle as the ball continued to bobble around dangerously.
At the other end new boy Doane cracked a free kick from 30 yards just too high.
But just as it seemed both sides would take a share of the spoils, up popped Lawrence to earn himself and boss Curle the freedom of Mansfield for the foreseeable future.
Latest | January 2003