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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Swindon Town
Mendes 15, Corden 39 (pen)
 Reeves 45
Attendance: 4,471 (359 from Swindon)
Date: 15th March 2003

The Stags were without suspended player Manager Keith Curle, who after serving a one game ban last week for 5 yellow cards, was begining a 3 game ban for his red card against Oldham. However, Rhys Day was available after his red card in the same game was overturned earlier in the week. Surprisingly it wasn't Matt Gadsby who filled in for Curle, but Adam Eaton, who switched to centre half with Ben Doane moving to left back and Bobby Hassell, having recovered from injury, back at right back. Craig Disley returned to the midfield in place of Lee Williamson.

The Stags began the half well and dominted the opening half of the game. Liam Lawrence was first to test Griemink in the Swindon goal, firing a well struck half volley straight at the keeper who tipped the ball over the bar. However, it wasn't long before the Stags domination paid off, Corden put in a dangerous low ball and after a series of attempted clearances the ball fell to Mendes just a yard out to fire home - much to his obvious delight. At the other end Swindon attacks were rare, but when they did come forward they found a defensive line in good form, in particular Rhys Day, who was outstanding. However, the Stags did go to sleep from a Swindon corner when Parkin was allowed a free header which he managed to head wide from just 6 yards. The Stags best moments were coming from Corden, he provided the next great chance as he ran at the Swindon defender, turned him inside out and hit a superb curling shot which Griemink just managed to tip wide. The Stags eventually doubled their lead from the spot when Heywood clearly pulled down Christie inside the area - the only doubt was which colour the card for Heywood would be - many referee's (especially P.Taylor) would have given a red, but yellow was the correct decision. Corden capped off an excellent personal 1st half performance by scoring from the spot. Sadly we've all seen enough of the Stags to know that victory was far from assured and on the stroke of half time bad defending let Reeves in to score from close range. Even then the Stags could have restored the two goal advantage following a swift counter attack Lawrence sliced his shot wide of Grieminks near post.

Half Time: 2-1

More of the same would have been the terrace comment from those of Amber persuasion, however, the 2nd half was every bit one sided as the 1st had been, only this time it was Swindon who were well and truly on top. Indeed only a string of fine saves by Keith Welch and some resolute defending prevented Swindon netting a hatful. Ifil should have scored when given the freedom of the Stags area following a left wing corner, his shot beat Welch, but thankfully Disley was on hand to volley away off his own line. Welch then brilliantly denied Parkin after more involvement from Ifil and was then on hand to divert Hewlett's long range strike. The Stags completely failed to control any sort of possession and so manager Keith Curle decided to strengthen the midfield by replacing striker Mendes with midfielder Williamson. Certainly Williamson did impress, but could not stem the red tide attacking the Stags goal. Mitchell then replaced Christie and wasted a glorious change to seal the points. Racing free on the right he decided to try and lob Griemink when Lawrence was completely unmarked to his left. More Swindon pressure followed but once more the Stags rearguard held firm and it was the Stags who created the next outstanding opportunity. Again countering, the Stags were left with a 3 on 1 break as Williamson powered through, he decided to take the ball alone and his shot was well saved by Griemink, however, the rebound fell to Lawrence who again saw his shot well saved and the tall keeper made it a triple save as Disley was denied. The game ended with Swindon desperate for the equaliser, but Welch impressively claimed a later corner and the points were safe.

Two contrasting halves of football, the 1st half display was excellent and gave fans hope that survival is possible. However, the 2nd half was pretty poor, though defensively they were very good. Postives are mostly defensive ones, Adam Eaton did a decent job at centre half and Ben Doane defended well. Keith Welch was excellent in goal but Man of the Match for an outstanding display was Rhys Day.

Man of the Match: Rhys Day

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Welch - 9 - Several outstanding saves in the 2nd half kept Swindon at bay
Hassell - 7 - Looked a touch rusty but some superbly timed challenges in the 2nd half
Day - 9 - Awesome in the air
Eaton - 7 - Adjusted well to centre half
Doane - 7 - Probably his best game for the Stags, but distribution still a weak point
Mendes - 6 - Got his goal but threatened only sporadically
Curtis - 6 - Gave his all but his passing was wayward at times
Disley - 7 - Great to have him back - full action display
Corden - 8 - When he got the ball he was simply brilliant
Lawrence - 7 - A real 100% effort game from Liam - never stopped trying
Christie - 6 - Worked hard, though the service to him, in particular 2nd half, was poor
Sub Line Up:
Williamson (for Mendes, 75) - 7- Did well when he came on
Mitchell (for Christie, 80) - 6 - Made little impact
Gadsby (for Corden, 90) - 6 - Many would say he should have started the game, including me.
Not used: Pilkington, AWhite
Opposition Line Up:
Not used:
D.Crick, Surrey

Season 02/03 Reports