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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Mansfield Town  
0 - 0
Attendance: 3,735 (129 from Brentford)
Date: 4th February 2003

Mansfield Town played out their second goalless draw in 3 home games at an icy and snow covered Field Mill this evening. Stags missed some great chances in the first half including two sitters in the opening 5 minutes. The second half was a more even affair when the conditions made passing difficult. Stags had a couple of great chances, but Brentford had chances of their own and had the better of the final 15 minutes.

Stags made two changes from the side that was beaten at Plymouth. Adam Eaton, re-signed on a month’s loan from Preston, came in at left back, with Doane switching to right back, and Hassell dropping to the bench. Disley was rested to the bench and Williamson was brought in to “freshen things up” having been “champing at the bit” according to assistant boss John Gannon. Brentford were without suspended giant striker McMammon, who caused the Stags so many problems at Griffin Park.

Stags made a bright start and should have been two goals ahead within 5 minutes. Firstly Corden played a cross from the left which evaded all the defenders and fell beautifully for the unmarked Lawrence on the corner of the 6 yard box. But with the goal at his mercy, he blazed high and wide into the massed ranks of the 100 Brentford fans. Just two minutes later, Mendes made a superb run down the right and played a sublime cross onto the head of Andy White, who somehow contrived the head the ball into the ground and wide, instead of into the net. It was a terrible miss.

Brentford didn’t threaten much and Stags had other chances in the first half to wrap the game up. Tom Curtis went around the keeper but away from goal and could only scoop a cross-shot which was headed off the line. Then Andy White headed a corner against the outside of the post, nearly leading one of your reporters to fall in the row of seats in front of him. Corden and Lawrence both had shots from free-kicks, Corden’s going just over the bar, while Lawrence’s was a weak effort straight at the keeper. Williamson also had 2 shots, one just wide and one saved by the keeper.

At the other end, Pilkington saved well from a free-kick, down low by the left hand post.

The Stags should have had the game wrapped up by half time, and had put in a positive performance.

Half time 0-0

Early in the second half, Mendes broke clear down the right and his fierce shot was tipped around the post by the keeper. Then Mendes was clear on the left hand side of the box and his shot was deflected by a defender and again tipped around the post by the keeper. Later Mendes cut inside on the edge of the penalty area on the left side, and his cross-shot somehow bobbled over the outstretched leg of Williamson and went wide, when any sort of touch would have taken the ball into the net.

However after being on top for most of the game, Stags lost their way in the final 15 minutes. It felt as if Brentford would nick a winner though they had few clearcut chances. The best chance fell to Vine who broke clear of the defence and tried to lob Pilkington but the Stags keeper made a good save. Then Vine beat Eaton on the right side of the box and sliced his shot wide when well placed. There was a controversial moment when O’Connor broke into the box, pushed the ball past Pilkington and went over the Stags keeper. Instead of awarding a penalty the referee awarded a Stags free kick and booked O’Connor for diving. On another day it could have been a penalty and a sending-off. By now Stags were defending too deep and squandering possession as the conditions became more icy.

With a couple of minutes left, Mitchell replaced White, and in stoppage time Stags had two claims for a penalty. First a cross into the box hit an arm, and then in the last minute of stoppage time, Lawrence went down on the edge of box, and was furious as his appeals were waved away by the otherwise excellent referee.

So the Stags had to settle for a point when they deserved three, but poor finishing let them down. On the positive side the defence looked very solid with Eaton looking excellent on his return and Day and Gadsby solid in the middle. Up front Mendes was lively and showed some nice touches, looking comfortable on the ball.

After the game assistant boss John Gannon said that chances had gone begging, and we just needed a fraction of luck. He said that conditions were more tricky than fans may have realised. He commented that Eaton had a nice solid performance and that Stags were delighted to have him back.

Man of the Match: Adam Eaton.

Report by: Martin Shaw, Jeff Barnes and Neil Shaw at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 Some good saves and handled crosses well. Nearly made a calamitous error when tried to dribble the ball out of the box
Doane 6 Solid. Looked comfortable at right back, but not as creative going forward as Hassell.
Gadsby 7 Dominant in the air and a towering presence. One superb tackle to retrieve his own error.
Day 7 Continues to grow in stature and looked good. Largely untroubled. One bad back pass nearly cost the game and showed he hasn’t learnt a lesson from Plymouth.
Eaton 8 Settled back superbly into the side. A class act, won lots of good tackles.
Lawrence 6 Faded after a good start. Missed an early sitter.
Curtis 6 Quiet. Had on effort cleared off the line.
Williamson 6 Harried and chased but created little.
Corden 7 Most of the bright moments came from Corden in the second half. Looked comfortable on the ball in difficult conditions.
Mendes 7 Showed a few dangerous moments. Denied a home debut goal by a great save. A superb cross early which White should have converted.
AWhite 5 Terrible miss from 5 yards in the opening moments. Showed some nice touches in the first half and linked well with Mendes, but did nothing in the second half.
Sub Line Up:
Mitchell (for AWhite, 88 mins) -
Subs not used: JWhite, Hassell, Disley, Bacon.
Opposition Line Up:
Smith Vine Evans Marshall Dobson Hunt Sonko Smith Fullarton Somner O'Connor
Substitutes Constantine Rowlands
Subs not used: Frampton Hutchinson Julian
E.Evans, Manchester: 9 Let the game flow. Played advantage well. However didn’t award Stags a penalty in the last minute!

Season 02/03 Reports