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Season 03/04 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 3
Mansfield Town  
2 - 1
 Boston United
Mendes 32, 51.
 Wetherstone 27
Attendance: 5,161 (610 from Boston)
Date: 1st November 2003

Martin Shaw and Dad at Field Mill

Mansfield Town earned an important victory over Boston United at Field Mill this afternoon thanks to a hard-working performance and two cracking goals from Junior Mendes.

This was the first league meeting between the two clubs and Boston arrived on the back of an impressive 6 match unbeaten run. The Stags made one change from the side that had beaten Cheltenham with Bobby Hassell returning from injury at right back in place of Luke Dimech. There was no place in the 16 for Iyseden Christie.

The Stags started brightly and within the opening minutes Hassell and Lawrence linked well down the right creating a chance for Mendes at the near post, but he flicked his shot just wide. The game entered a scrappy phase with the visitors showing nothing at all. The Stags were unlucky when a free kick from MacKenzie from 22 yards was inches wide of the left post; indeed most fans in the West Stand thought it had gone in. Boston then had a goal disallowed for a clear offside. The whistle had gone well before the ball was put in the net, though the Boston fans at the far end had not heard it or seen the flag, and celebrated prematurely.

This seemed to lift the visitors confidence and, after Corden had shot saved at the other end, Boston did take the lead on 27 minutes. A cross from the right by Rusk was missed by Hassell, and Artell could only deflect it into the path of Simon Weatherstone, who had all the time in the world to compose himself and fire unchallenged past Pilkington, from 12 yards. Boston then played some neat football for a few minutes, but 5 minutes later came the crucial equalizer. Lawrence played a ball to Larkin who played a fine ball down the line just inside the Boston half on the right wing and Mendes ran purposefully towards goal from 40 yards, and then shot hard and low just inside the left hand post from 10 yards giving keeper Bastock no chance. It was a wonderful finish by a player who has been a revelation this season.

Just 3 minutes later Mendes nearly repeated the feat with another run and shot but this time Bastock just kept the ball out. As half time approached Rhys Day was lucky not to gift Boston another goal when his attempted clearance was sliced inches wide of his own post.

Half Time 1-1

The Stags hadn’t quite clicked in the first half despite an impressive performance in midfield from Williamson. At the start of the second half Curtis replaced MacKenzie in an attempt to combat Boston’s tough tackling midfield. The Stags started the half much better and took the lead on 52 minutes. Great interplay between Hassell and Lawrence down the right, culminated in a terrific deep cross from Lawrence which Mendes lept high to head just inside the left hand post. It was a great finish for a player not known for his heading ability.

The Stags then had a 5 minute purple patch when the game could have been ended as a contest. Firstly Larkin, who had had a very quiet first half, got the ball on the edge of the area and curled a fine left foot shot that seemed goalbound until Bastock clawed the ball around the left hand post. Seconds later, from the resulting corner, Mendes had a shot blocked on the line, and from the rebound Lawrence shot wildly over and wide with his left foot from 6 yards. Lawrence showed his frustration by beating the ground. Then another fine Lawrence cross was headed back across goal by Corden on the bye-line but it was cleared before a Stags attacker could make a decisive finish.

The game entered another quiet phase with the Stags well on top and never looking tested at the back. Mendes had another fine run from the left this time, and his shot was deflected a foot wide of the right hand post, with Bastock rooted to the spot and nowhere near it.

In a rare Boston attack, Weatherstone was left unmarked and headed over the bar from 10 yards.

On 80 minutes the Stags were denied by a wonderful save. Lawrence put in a good corner to the near post where Vaughan met it with a bullet header but somehow Bastock acrobatically tipped the ball away. A minute later the Stags made a change when Beardsley replaced the quiet Larkin. As the game drew to a close, Boston still did not look dangerous though with a slender lead, there was also an air of tension. The game entered 3 minutes of stoppage time, and Mendes made a fine run from the half way line and played the ball across to the right where Corden shot but Bastock saved again. In the last minute of stoppage time Boston had a very rare corner but it was easily cleared and the Stags were soon celebrating an important victory.

Not the best performance from Mansfield in front of the Yorkshire TV Soccer Sunday cameras with John Helm looking uncomfortable standing up in the TV gantry to do his commentary. Lee Williamson had a fine game in midfield winning plenty of 50:50 balls and spraying some wonderful passes as well. Junior Mendes scored the all important goals and was unlucky with 2 other efforts that were very close. Liam Lawrence was not at his best but was crucially involved with setting up both goals with fine passes, and linked very well with the returning Bobby Hassell down the right. The Stags now take on Bishop’s Stortford at Field Mill next week in the FA Cup before returning to league action at bottom club Carlisle in 2 weeks.

Man of Match: Lee Williamson

Report by: Martin Shaw and Dad at Field Mill

Line Up:
Pilkington 7 A quiet afternoon but had to be alert to clear some punts over the top. Dealt well with crosses.
Hassell 7 Linked well with Lawrence going forward and never looked troubled.
Artell 6 Generally solid.
Day 7 A tower of strength.
Vaughan 6 Defended ok and unlucky not to score from a header.
Lawrence 6 Not at his best but crucially provided some class for the telling moments of the game.
MacKenzie 6 Unlucky with a free kick just wide. Did ok.
Williamson 8 Won plenty of 50:50 balls and sprayed some wonderful passes as well. Looks like the player of two seasons ago.
Corden 6 Not in the game enough but showed touches of class.
Larkin 5 Disappointing. Very quiet apart from one good shot
Mendes 8 Two great goals and unlucky with two further efforts.
Sub Line Up:
Curtis (for MacKenzie, 46) 7 Provided steel in midfield. A fine second half.
Beardsley (for Larkin, 81) - Did ok. Only on for 10 minutes.
Subs Not Used: JWhite, Dimech, Disley.
Opposition Line Up:
Bastock, Balmer, Greaves, Hogg, Beevers, Lee Thompson, Ellender, Weatherstone, Rusk, Jones, Duffield. Subs: Chapman, Croudson, Douglas, Clarke, Potter. Subs used: Douglas for Jones, Chapman for Ellender.
A.Penn (West Midlands) 7 Very good.

Season 03/04 Reports