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Season 02/03 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 2
Bristol City  
5 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Peacock 13, Murray 32, 51, 80, Carey 70
 Disley 37, Butler 61 (og)
Attendance: 12,013 (approx 250 from Mansfield)
Date: 12th April 2003

It seems like the fat lady is on her second verse now as a heavy defeat here at Ashton Gate seems to have been the final nail in the Stags coffin.

In what was an exhilirating game the Stags gave as good as they got at times and could've got on level terms had Craig Disley finished like he did in the first half when faced with another one on one with the keeper, but it was not to be as he put it wide. There was a glimmer of hope at 3-2 when a headed own goal gave the battling Stags a glimpse, but that's all it was as City ran out comfortable winners in the end.

In truth, City were, at times, awesome. Looking through their team you could see so many names who you would choose to have in your squad if you were a manager. It's amazing how they're not higher in the league.

The Stags team seemed to have been picked to get a draw with the formation being 4-5-1. Pilkington was in goal and captain, Hassell, Day, Curle and Eaton were the back four, the midfield was made up of Williamson, Disley, MacKenzie, Curtis and Corden with Mendes the surprise choice as the loan striker. On the bench was three strikers, Christie, White and Mitchell with Welch and Gadsby the other two.

The game started with City pressing forward and looking dangerous from the start and it was no surprise when Peacock rose like a John West and headed over Pilkington and into the net. It was no more than they deserved as Stags had hardly ventured into their half. The game continued at the same pace and the atmosphere was electric as noise made by drums and 12,000 City fans spurred the team on.

Stags started to get back into the game with Curtis, Disley and MacKenzie working hard in midfield but after 32 minutes disaster struck as Scott Murray scored the first of his hat trick. It was tough luck on Stags but Eaton was struggling with his injury and it showed.

Within four minutes though Disley found himself through on the keeper and he scored. He took his goal superbly considering the one-on-one's he's missed this season and kept his cool brilliantly to round Phillips and slot the ball into the net. Stags had been given a lifeline and Ashton Gate suddenly went very quiet.

Half time came and went and Stags continued to battle and looked like they could score. Gadsby had replaced the injured Eaton during the interval. Disley had a great chance when he found himself one-on-one with the keeper again but he sliced his finish wide and his reaction told what a golden chance it was as he kicked the post in sheer anger and frustration.

It proved to be a massive miss as on 50 minutes City went 3-1 up as Murray slid the ball in and there seemed no way back. The noise returned to Ashton Gate and City continued to press. Stags brought Christie on and on the hour a mix up in the City defence led to Butler heading over his own keeper to throw Stags a lifeline. Again the ground went silent and the small band of Stags fans got behind the boys and Stags pressed forward in search of an equaliser.

They had several half chances, Corden had a couple of shots and a free kick but nothing was falling for the Stags. As Stags were pressing for the leveller Louis Carey picked the ball up and ran unchallenged into the box and slid the ball under Pilkington. The Stags keeper had pulled off several excellent saves before this and also did afterwards, keeping the score from heading into double figures.

Stags still pushed bodies forward and brought Andy White on for Curtis. Stags then won a free kick on the edge of the box. The ball was cleared from the free kick and within four seconds City were 5-2 up as Murray completed his hat trick and had killed the game. It was tough luck on the Stags who had battled gamely during the majority of the match but City showed their class in their finishing and at the end of the day it was the gulf in finishing that seperated the teams. Surely now there's no way back for the Stags and they will be making history next season by heading for Huish Park, the home of Yeovil Town.

Report by: Dan Westwell at Ashton Gate.

Line Up:
Pilkington 9 Pulled off some amazing saves to keep the score down.
Hassell 6 Outpaced by Murray on occasions. Otherwise did ok.
Day 6 Won some valuable headers.
Curle 6 Got skinned a few times.
Eaton 5 Badly exposed and you could tell he was carrying an injury.
Williamson 6 Very ineffective. Kept drifting out of the game.
Curtis 7 Did well today. Got stuck in, held the midfield line well.
MacKenzie 7 Showed his usual skill and flashes of class. Couldn't understand why he was subbed.
Disley 7 Took his goal well, but missed a similar chance when 2-1 down.
Corden 6 Not involved enough. Had a couple of soft shots.
Mendes 5 Showed enthusiasm but nothing else.
Sub Line Up:
Gadsby (for Eaton, 46) 6 Caught out a few times when pushing forward.
Christie (for Curtis, 54) 7 Showed flashes of the old Iyseden. Unlucky not to score.
AWhite (for MacKenzie, 67) 6 Didn't have much chance to get involved in the game.
Not used: Welch, Mitchell.
Opposition Line Up:
Phillips, Carey, Butler, Coles, Bell, Murray, Burnell, Doherty, Tinnion, Peacock, Roberts. Subs: Beadle, Hill, Stowell, Brown, Rosenior.
P Taylor (Hertfordshire)

Season 02/03 Reports