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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Mansfield Town  
0 - 1
 Oldham Athletic
 Hall (pen) 88
Attendance: 5,712
Date: 1st March 2003

There are two names which spread fear into football supporters, they are not the names of opposition players or managers, but names of two referee's who believe they should be the main act and sole centre of attention during a football match. The first is Paul Danson, the fact he still referee's is a mystery to almost every football fan who have seen his displays, the second, and the referee for this match, is Paul Taylor, who once again sits proudly on top of the charts for most bookings and sendings off. Taylor did his Championship quest no harm at Field Mill this afternoon in a display of refereeing that at times beggared belief. Sadly, his performance gave the match absolutely no chance to entertain and played right into the hands of a physical Oldham side who benefitted from the vast majority of Taylors decisions.

Stags boss Keith Curle began with what he said was his strongest side, how bizarre therefore that a fit Bobby Hassell wasn't even in the 16 man squad - it is worrying that probably the best full back this club has had since the days of Sandy Pate isn't getting a game. John Gannon tried to explain Bobby's ommission after the game, frankly it was very unconvincing. Ben Doane therefore continued at right back, with Curle and Day at centre half and Mendes and Christie in attack.

The visitors were first to have an attempt on goal when Winjhard, only about two yards offside, raced onto a long ball but lobbed the ball well over Welch's bar. Stags leading scorer Iyseden Christie squandered the Stags best chance when from the right hand side of the area, from an acute angle, he managed to power a low shot well wide when perhaps he should have hit the target. Rhys Day was booked for virtually nothing and then David Eyres was involved in the first moment of real controversy of the match - he and Lawrence clashed on the touchline and Eyres picked up some dirt and threw it in Lawrence's face, the Stags winger reacted angrily and was booked yet no action was taken on Eyres. The Stags had a very strong penalty claim turned down when Disley was scithed down in the area. Just a few minutes after the mud throwing incident Eyres was finally dismissed, but this time for a far more innocuous clash with Craig Disley inside the Stags penalty area. Disley was clearly injured in the clash but also told the referee it was unintentional - to no avail and Taylor dismissed Eyres. Disley had to go off for treatment and as he left the field Iain Dowie was clearly having strong words with Disley, obviously unaware that the Stags player had tried to prevent the sending off. Disley himself could not continue and was replaced by Lee Williamson. A game that had started fairly evenly and well tempered now became a more frenetic affair as four more players found their way into the notebook of the referee in an 8 minute spell just before half time. Just before half time came another major talking point, Ben Doane should barged Wayne Andrews off the ball and both players fell, Andrews got up and kicked Doane whilst he was on the floor - the referee and his Assistant were no more than 10 yards from the incident yet neither saw the incident, or if they did chose to ignore it - Andrews should have been dimissed, of that there is absolutely no question.

Half Time: 0-0

The Stags were first out of the blocks in the 2nd half, looking to take advantage of the extra man. Lee Williamson hit a splendid low drive which was well saved by Pogliacomi. Oldham were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Stags area after Curle was adjudged to have fouled, Winjhard hit the kick low and hard but Welch made a good stop and took the rebound - Andrews slid in late on the Stags keeper who needed treatment to a head injury - once more no action was take against the Oldham player. All the talk at half time was which Stags player would be dismissed to even things out. Many had bet on Christie who had been ridiculously booked in the first half. However, it was Rhys Day who was the unlucky victim. Day went up for an aerial challenge with Carss and the two collided heads. Amazingly Taylor dished out a straight red card to the Stags centre half - another woeful decision, as video evidence would later prove. Corden was sacfificed as Matt Gadbsy entered the fray. So it was 10 v 10 but any chance the game had of reaching any sort of level of entertainment was ended by a series of decisions and persistent whistle blowing from the referee. Eaton became the next player cautioned after an extraordinary dive by Andrews, whose persistent cheating was really riling the home fans and some of the Stags players. Lawrence then missed the Stags best chance of the match, putting his free header well wide. All that was left for Mr Taylor to compound Stags fans misery by awarding a late penalty, which on 88 minutes he duly did. Andrews fell like a dying swan after a tussle with Lawrence and Taylor pointed directly to the spot - Hall converted the kick. There was time for another red card, obviously Stags boss Curle had lost it for a moment, with Andrews getting away with kicking Doane, diving to get players booked and diving for the penalty kick, he launched into a late challenge on Andrews on the touchline. Again Andrews writhed around, that was until Curle was dismissed, at which point he ran back to his position. Curle's challenge was late and looked intentional and of the three red cards was probably the only deserved one.

All in all a poor display from the Stags. They failed to string successive passes together and rather fell into the physical battle which played into Oldham's hands. Oldham are not a good side, indeed their league position is indication of how even this league is when you take out the two good sides, Crewe & Wigan. However, the Stags failed to take their chances and once more succumbed to a late goal. That's four points lost in the last three games with late goals, points which could cost the Stags dear at the end of the season. The referee was truly appalling, as he always is, but this cannot hide the fact that the Stags did not play well - especially with a man advantage. Man of the match is easy this week, Adam Eaton was excellent at left back.

Man of the Match: Adam Eaton

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Welch 7 - Some good saves
Doane 6 - Defended well but added nothing to the Stags attacking side
Eaton 9 - Pressed forwards well and defended immaculately
Day 7 - Was having a fine game until harshly sent off
Curle 6 - Was doing well until the lack of discipline at the end
Corden 7 - Our most likely source for a goal but was again subbed
Lawrence 6 - Not his day at all - missed a great chance and gave away a penalty
Disley 6 - Did Ok until the injury
Curtis 6 - Struggled today, his passing was poor
Christie 6 - A couple of chances but the early booking tempered his game
Mendes 6 - Lively but rarely looked likely to score
Sub Line Up:
Williamson (for Disley 39) 7 - Did well and hit one fine shot
Gadsby (for Corden 57) - 7 - Didn't put a foot wrong
Mitchell (for Mendes 79) - 6 - Struggled to get into the game
Opposition Line Up:
Pogliacomi, Hall, Haining, Beharall, Armstrong, Murray, Duxbury, Carss, Eyres, Wijnhard (Corazzin 76), Andrews (Killen 94)
P Taylor - 0 - Shameful performance from an incompetent official who ruined the match

Season 02/03 Reports