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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Huddersfield Town  
1 - 1
 Mansfield Town
Smith 51
 Corden 79 (pen)
Attendance: 8,756 (1,462 from Mansfield)
Date: 18th March 2003


It is only for the fact that Huddersfield are in the relegation shake-up with us, that the result of this game could end up proving so crucial. It is ironic that Stags produced some of their best passing football for many weeks but fell behind due to a real schoolboy error from Keith Welch. This left us chasing the game and all efforts appeared to be in vain until a rush of blood from a Terriers defender gifted us our second spot-kick in as many games – Wayne Corden capping an excellent display with a well taken penalty. If anyone was in any doubt about the players commitment they just had to see their reaction after the equaliser.

Having arrived at the fairly impressive McAlpine Stadium, we found that not only were all the pies gone (good planning Huddersfield!!) but seats were a little difficult to find until another section was opened to accomodate the travelling Staggies.

Stags started with the same line-up and formation as the Swindon game. This saw Junior Mendes continue in the wide-right role and Liam Lawrence just behind Iyseden Christie.

After the opening exchanges, Stags had the better of the opening half without creating any real clearcut chances. Craig Disley had what was probably Stags' best effort of the half but didn't catch the ball with enough power to seriously trouble the home keeper. Wayne Corden was again in sparkling form and it was clear that our best route was through the left channel. For the first 25 minutes we looked comfortable at the back, Bobby Hassell and Rhys Day were particularly good and we were not troubled by a Huddersfield side that seemed to lack any clear ideas. Things did change for a 15 minute spell, in which the home side had the better of things. They still failed to trouble Keith Welch in what turned out to be their only spell of sustained possession in the whole game.

News of the refreshment bar being re-stocked with hot pies caused a mini-stampede in the away section and also appeared to find it's way to the players as they dropped the pace for the last 5 minutes of the half!

Half-Time: Huddersfield Town 0 STAGS 0

Only 5 minutes of the second half had gone when Huddersfield took the lead with a freak goal. Some poor teamwork left Adam Eaton exposed trying to cover two Huddersfield players near the Stags left touchline and the ball was knocked over Eaton's head for Martin Smith to have a run at goal. It seemed that enough Yellow shirts had then made ground to cover the run and Smith was left having to shoot from outside the box. Having a keeper with as much experience as Keith Welch, you would be forgiven for thinking that he would not be prone to any misjudgement. It came as a shock to everyone in the ground as, with Welch appearing to let it go past the post,
it crept inside to put the home side ahead.

With the way that the first half had gone, I had my doubts over whether we would get anything from the game if we went behind. As with other games this season, when we appeared to have the upper-hand and left with nothing.

However, the reaction was excellent from the players and for the next 35 minutes, the Stags chucked everything at the home side in search of at least an equaliser. The first change of formation was to swap Liam Lawrence and Junior Mendes and adopt a standard 4-4-2 line-up. With 20 minutes left, Curle began to play his key cards and the fit-again Colin Larkin was brought on to replace the tiring Liam Lawrence. It was good to see him back and he was able to make an impact as a fresh (and fast) pair of legs running at a defence that was beginning to tire. This change saw Junior Mendes go back to the right hand side and also into his best spell of the match. The combination of pace on the right from Mendes and Larkin through the middle began to prove a real problem for the home defence. It was Larkin's efforts that led directly to the penalty award and give Stags the chance to earn a point. Larkin flicked the ball up over a home defender in the box and a second player came across and clearly "saved" it. The referee had no hesitation in giving the penalty which was not contested by any of the home players. Wayne Corden stepped up to take another excellent spot-kick, selling the keeper a dummy and knocking the ball into the other corner of the net.

The final five minutes were almost unbearable as both sides pushed for a winner and it was the home side that came closest as Keith Welch made amends for his earlier gaffe with a great save in the last minute to help save a point.

It was important to get something from this game and the travelling Stags were relieved not to have lost to a soft goal but can reflect on failing to beat one of the weakest teams we've played this season.

Man of the match: Bobby Hassell

Report by: Gary Tyldsley

Line Up:
Welch - 6 Did not have much to do and made a big boob to gift them a goal
Hassell - 9 Absolutely bloody brilliant – did everything!
Day - 8 Won everything in the air and only one misplaced pass
Eaton - 6 Not a good first half but played better in the second
Doane - 6 Some good moments but some not so good moments
Mendes - 7 Excellent last 20 minutes when he got more of the ball, quiet earlier
Curtis - 7 Covered every blade of grass
Disley - 7 Worked his socks off and won a lot in the air
Corden - 7 Had the beating of the full backs but crosses did not come to much. Great penalty
Lawrence - 6 Played with his heart on his sleeve – Loads of effort but not his best game.
Christie - 6 Plenty of effort but one of those games when he did not make the breakthrough
Sub Line Up:
Larkin (for Lawrence, 71) - 6 Great to see him back, did well to win the penalty
Williamson (for Doane, 76) - 6 Not much impact
Gadsby (for Corden, 90+3)--
Not used: Pilkington, Mitchell

Opposition Line Up:
Not used: Jeffery, Worthington
A.Bates, Staffordshire

Season 02/03 Reports