{ match reports }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
1 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Ebdon Pen 39
 Disley 43, Lawrence 90 (+4).
Attendance: 6813 (app 2300 from Mansfield)
Date: 18th January 2003

The Stags were down to the bare bones for this vital derby clash with Chesterfield. Suspended were leading scorer Iyseden Christie and midfielder Lee Williamson. On the ever growing injury list were player-manager Keith Curle, current player of the year Bobby Hassell and strikers Colin Larkin and Danny Bacon. All five Stags substitutes were youth team players, with one youth team player Chris Beardsley starting the game up front with Andy White. Rhys Day, fresh from signing a new 18 month contract, was partnered at the centre of the Stags defence with Matt Gadsby whilst on loan Ben Doane made his debut at left back. For the home side, Shayne Bradley was on the bench, the former Stags striker received a very hot reception from the Stags fans after making unnecessary and inaccurate quotes in the press criticising his former club and its fans.

The Stags began brightly and most of the action was to our left, the end in which the Stags were kicking. However, both sides failed to create any significant chances in the opening 20 minutes or so, though Lawrence fired over from 25 yards when perhaps a pass to the unmarked Corden to his left would have been a better option. At the Stags last away game the referee had to replaced due to injury and incredibly the same thing happened again, referee Hall had already harshly booked Curtis before being replaced by Paul Robinson. Defensively the Stags were performing well, Day and Gadsby were handling the threat of Reeves and Hurst well, though on a couple of occasions Jamie Clarke was caught out at right back. Indeed on one occasion there were strong appeals for a penalty against Clarke, though the referee gave a free kick on the egde of the area. The free kick flew well wide of Pilkington's goal. Pilkington then made a fine save, acrobatically tipping over Hurst's shot. The Stags best chance of the half came when Chris Beardsley broke through towards goal, but his shot was easily saved by Williams in the Spireite goal. With the Stags qutie comfortable the game took a dramatic twist on 39 minutes. Gadsby was harshly adjudged to have handled inside the area, clearly the ball struck the players arm but even more clearly it was accidental. However, the kick was given and Ebdon sent Pilkington the wrong way to give the home side an undeserved lead. It was vital the Stags got back level quickly and they did as Disley blasted home a fine Lawrence cross just 4 minutes later.

Half Time 1-1

The Spireites started the stronger in the opening stages of the 2nd half, Pilkington needed to be quick off his line twice with Hurst threatening. The Stags almost grabbed the lead when Lawrence hit a great low shot which Williams just managed to get the slightest touch to push it onto the inside of the post - like last week against Wycombe the ball rebounded away to safety. At the half way point of the half former Stags striker Shayne Bradley was brought on to a chorus of boos. Bradley had criticised the Stags in the media for not supporting him, yet the club had been extraordinarily patient with a striker who was almost permanently injured and spent more time with the physio than he did training with his team mates. Clearly Bradley was fired up by the vocal criticism he received from incensed Stags supporters and this lead to his downfall after just 90 seconds of being on the pitch. The Spireites had a throw on the left hand side but before it could be taken the Referee's Assistant flagged for an offence he saw inside the penalty box. Bradley was pulled to one side by the referee and shown a straight red card - Stags fans celebrated as if a goal had been scored!! Though most supporters did not see the incident, the radio reported that Bradley had spat at Ryhs Day and there were also reports that he aimed a headbut at Matt Gadsby. Stupid, disgusting and idiotic behaviour. The Stags were now in control, and should have claimed the three points when following a Corden corner, Gadsby headed the ball back across goal only to see Day put his free header agonisingly wide of the post. However, there was to be more drama before the end. With 4 minutes added time signalled a Chesterfield player was injured in midfield and required treatment, crucially adding another minute to the time remaining. The Stags had a free kick from their right just inside the Spireite half, Jamie Clarke swung the ball over, Rhys Day managed to get a flick and there was Liam Lawrence at the far post to head the ball past Williams and give the Stags the points. The scenes of jubilation were incredible. The Spireites managed one more attack but when Pilkington claimed a Brandon cross it was all over, sparking fantastic celebrations from both the players and the fans.

There is no doubt the Stags deserved this victory. The statistics will tell you they had more shots and also hit the woodwork. In fact, the penalty was the only real chance the Spireites had with the Stags defence, Day & Gadsby in particular, looking very solid again. The sending off of Bradley was a turning point and did prove that there is a God!! The two centre halves were again excellent, as was Tom Curtis up against his old club. Wayne Corden looked very dangerous but perhaps didn't get the ball as much as he should have, whilst Liam Lawrence had another fine game, though struggled to find his passing range in the 1st half. Man of the Match is tough and really between Day and Disley, Dis was back to his best, scoring a great goal and getting challenges in all over the pitch, so he just wins it for me.

Man of the Match: Craig Disley

AUDIO FROM MANSFIELD 103.2: Right click and chose save as to download the mp3:

Disley Goal Bradley off Lawrence Winner


'Disley's Goal'
'Disley's Goal (slo-mo)' 'Bradley's Spit' 'Lawrence's Winner' 'Lawrence's Winner(slo-mo)'

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington - 8 - Not much to do, but what he did was again impressive
Clarke - 6 - Better 2nd half but struggled at times in the 1st
Day - 9 - Excellent performance again from a quality young player
Gadsby - 8 - Another fine game from Matt
Doane - 7 - Solid debut
Lawrence - 8 - Another goal and an excellent 2nd half display
Disley - 9 - Back to his best, all action and a great goal
Curtis - 7 - Did the hard work well and chased everything
Corden - 7 - Looked dangerous when he got the ball
Beardsley - 7 - Promising full debut
AWhite - 8 - Excellent from Andy, gave the excellent Blatherwick a hard time

Sub Line Up:
Sub: Mitchell(for Beardsley, 77) - 7 - Some nice touches
Subs not used: JWhite, Baptiste, Buxton, Carter.
Opposition Line Up:
Williams, Blatherwick, O'Hare, Howson, Ebdon, Bradley, Brandon, Edwards, Booty, Reeves, Hurst. Subs: Payne, Rushbury, Allott, Warne, Richmond.
A.Hall, West Midlands (replaced by Paul Robinson, 20 minutes)

Season 02/03 Reports