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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Mansfield Town  
4 - 5
 Bristol City
Corden 38, 68, Christie 62, 76
 Murray 39, Roberts 50, 90 (+6)<BR>Tinnion 87 (pen), Lita 90 (+5).
Attendance: 4,801 (1348 from Bristol City)
Date: 23rd November 2002

The Stags were without on-loan striker Colin Little, who joined Bobby Hassell and Allen Tankard on the injury list. City were without former Stags star Lee Peacock who picked up a serious facial injury in an FA Cup tie last weekend.

As befitted the league position of the two sides, it was the visitors who started stronger, forcing a succession of corners which in the main were dealt with well by the Stags defence. Butler did win one header from a corner but found Pilkington well placed. In fact, very much against the run of play it was the Stags who created by far the best early chance. Christie broke through the City defence only to see his shot hit the legs of City keeper Phillips and rebound to Lawrence who with the goal at his mercy also hit his shot at Phillips, the ball then spun away towards Larkin who just couldn't hook the ball back towards goal. Slowly the Stags came into the game and as the half wore on became the dominant side, Christie, looking mennacing again, forcing a decent save from Phillips just past the half hour. Williamson was controversially booked for an innocuous foul on Murray, the City player clearly feigning injury until the referee cautioned the Stags player, then skipping to his feet immediately afterwards. The Stags took the lead on 38 minutes, Wayne Corden put clear on the left and after turning inside his defender fired an unstoppable shot past the keeper. The Stags' joy was very short lived, in fact less than a minute, as Roberts broke clear on the right and whilst Pilkington saved his first effort the ball rebounded straight back to Murray who blasted home - symptomatic of the way things go when you're at the bottom.

Half Time 1-1

The Stags defence was caught square just 5 minutes into the 2nd half as Beadle flicked on for the impressive Roberts to score. The Stags were clearly rocked by this early set-back and for a while became disjointed and looked vulnerable to conceding another - only a great save from Pilkington denied Beadle, the keeper managed to grasp the ball at the 2nd attempt. However, the Stags were soon back level when a short corner saw Williamson put in a fine cross, Lever headed the ball back across goal where Christie headed home. The Stags were lifted and again began playing exciting attacking football. this was rewarded on 68 minutes when Lawrence was tripped in the area, the Assistant Referee's flag confirmed the Referee's decision to award the kick. City players were furious with the decision, one grabbing hold of Lawrence by the neck and soon other players became involved in a melee. Punches were clearly thrown by two City players yet both only received yellow cards, however, worse for the Stags was that Williamson had needlessly got himself involved and received his 2nd yellow card of the game. How often has it happened that the side winning a penalty is the one reduced to ten men?? The Stags had missed their last 3 spot kicks so it was no surprise when Corden fired a poor penalty straight at Phillips, however, the ball rebounded back to the Stags winger who finished well. The Stags were forced to reshuffle, Jervis replaced Larkin as they switched to a 4-4-1 formation, with Christie on his own in attack. The Stags seemed comfortable with this formation and on 76 minutes it looked as though the points were safe when Christie picked the ball up on the right, cut inside and curled a superb low left foot shot past the helpless Phillips. The Stags dropped deeper and deeper but seemed to be coping well with everything an increasingly desperate City threw at them. However, the visitors were handed a lifeline with just 3 minutes remaining when Jervis went into a reckless challenge inside his own area to conced a penalty which Tinnion converted. The board for injury time came up displaying 5 minutes, much to the disbelief of most home fans. However, the Stags survived the 5 minutes when, with what most thought must have been the final attack of the game, Lita headed home a Bell cross. Pilkington was booked for preventing a City player reclaiming the ball, but over 6 minutes of injury time had now elapsed so surely it was over and a point each. However, Mr Ilderton thought differently and allowed City one more attack, which given the Stags standard of defending and miserable run of luck, was all that was needed, Roberts bursting through to steal the points.

Rarely have I left a game so angry and so dejected - for vast periods the Stags were the better side and fully deserved the 4-2 lead going into what we thought were the final 3 minutes. However, the defensive frailty which means we have by far the worst defensive record in the Country, struck again and another otherwise fine performance was ruined. Liam Lawrence continued his excellent run of form and Wayne Corden looks back to his best, however, Iyseden Christie was again the Stags best player, scored twice and threatened all afternoon. Sadly, its other areas of the pitch which could ultmately cost the Stags their new found place in Division 2.

Man of the Match: Iyseden Christie

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington 8 - A couple of excellent saves and could do nothing about the shambles in front of him
Gadsby 7 - Another solid display
Lever 7 - Won everything in the air but he and Moore both lack pace
Moore 4 - All the trouble came on his side of the pitch, hopelessly out of position for two of the goals
Clarke 5 - Not mobile enough for midfield
Williamson 5 - Was having a good game until stupidly getting involved in a fracas
Disley 7 - Never stopped though missed a good chance with his "50p" head
Corden 8 - One fine finish and made up for his penalty miss by scoring the rebound
Lawrence 8 - One bad backpass otherwise another excellent display
Larkin 5 - Doesn't look match fit and 1st touch was poor
Christie 8 - Two more goals and another excellent all round display
Sub Line Up:
Jervis 5 - (for Larkin 69) Bad challenge lead to penalty for crucial 3rd goal
Bacon 6 - (for Christie 92) Chased hard but had no support or service for the time he was on
Opposition Line Up:
Phillips; Coles (Lita 80), Butler, Hill; Murray, Burnell, Tinnion, A. Brown (Rosenior 48), Bell; Roberts, Beadle. Subs: Clist, Fortune, Foster.
E. Ilderton

Season 02/03 Reports