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Season 03/04 Stagsnet Match Report
Nationwide League Division 3
York City  
1 - 2
 Mansfield Town
Nogan 65
 Lawrence 29, Pacquette 53
Attendance: 4,068 (1063 from Mansfield)
Date: 14th February 2004

The Stags made 4 changes from the side that lost convincingly at Rochdale a week ago. Out went the injured Bobby Hassell and Junior Mendes, Colin Larkin and Luke Dimech dropped to the bench. In came Tony Vaughan at left back, Jake Buxton moved over to right back, Dave Artell replaced Dimech, Disley replaced Larkin on the right and Christie started in attack in place of Mendes. The Stags were backed by a very large away support of 1,063, a great turn-out considering the poor performance of last weekend.

The Stags began brightly, Corden involved heavily in the early exchanges with a couple of excellent left wing crosses which caused the York defenders problems. It took 10 minutes for the home side to register a shot, Miller hitting a low shot wide. From the subsequent goal kick, the Stags launched an attack, Christie held the ball up well, turned and created himself room for the shot, sadly the shot wasn't up to the standard of his earlier work and in fact, the ball flew so wide it ended up a throw-in. However, Christie was back to his best, winning most headers and proving a real thorn in the York defence. In a rare foray into the Stags half, No 18 broke clear on the right but his shot was well wide of Pilkington's goal. On the quarter hour the Stags almost took the lead. Great work on the right from Disley forced a corner, Lawrence swung a pin-point cross to Day who's header was cleared off the line, in the ensuing melee Christie slid in but saw the ball hit the side-netting. Disley, behind all the Stags best moves, found Lawrence who in turn played the ball out wide to Corden, his cross was met by the head of Disley but Ovendale was equal to the well placed header. The Stags took a thoroughly deserved lead just before the half hour - and what a goal it was. Disley cut a neat ball inside to Lawrence, who shifted the ball onto his "unfavoured" left foot before curling a superb 25 yard shot past the helpless Ovendale. The Stags were now well on top and playing the sort of football that got them into the top three earlier on in the season. The visitors forced a succession of corners from which a goal looked more and more likely, with Artell and Day almost getting on the end of the fine Lawrence set pieces. However, on 39 minutes the Stags were almost pegged back, a right wing corner was headed down to Nogan, who 8 yards out with his back to goal hooked a shot just over the bar. Back came the Stags, Corden released again on the left cut the ball back to Christie who's shot from the edge of the area was deflected wide for another corner. York cleared the immediate danger but the Stags came back, Christie superbly put Corden clean through, Ovendale saved the Stags winners shot, but the ball fell to Pacquette who, with the goal at his mercy, blasted the ball over the bar. A second goal would have been no more than the Stags deserved, but at half time fans reflected on what was undoubtedly the best 45 minutes the side have managed since the 3-0 win at Northampton back on November 29th.

Half Time 0-1

The Stags needed the cushion of a second goal and it arrived within ten minutes of the restart. The inspired Lawrence was fouled on the Stags right, he took a great curling free kick where Pacquette met the ball with a superb header which went in off the underside of the bar - a case of villain turned hero!! Tempers became a little frayed, Disley was the recipient of a terrible challenge on half-way, for which Dunning was fortunate to escape with just a booking. Disley, clearly incensed by the challenge, was then booked himself for a foul on the same player. Great credit to Liam Lawrence, who had a quiet word with Disley off the ball just to get him to calm down. The Stags were still the better side, another Lawrence corner was cleared only as far as Vaughan who hit a sweet left foot shot just wide of the post. However, disaster struck just past the hour when Stags keeper Kevin Pilkington, who was otherwise excellent, gifted York a lifeline. Given a simple ball to deal with the Stags keeper, 20 yards from his own goal-line, decided to try and pass to Lawrence instead of playing the ball long, Nogan intercepted the pass and cleverly lobbed the ball over the keeper and into the empty net. This was a real set-back and for the first time in the match, York were now on top. Only a great challenge from Vaughan prevented Pilkington being called into action but overall the Stags defence kept York at bay and in truth Pilkington had no saves to make apart from a couple of fine catches from corners. Larkin replaced Pacquette, who had been struggling with an injury and he made an immediate impression with his pace, though his first touch was understandably a little rusty. It was Larkin who almost added a 3rd after a fine cross from Corden saw the Stags striker place a curling header just wide of the far post. As 4 minutes injury time began, the Stags poured forwards - gone was the tentative play we have seen in recent matches and chance after chance was created when normally the Stags would be hanging on for grim death. Corden could have netted twice in stoppage time alone, forcing two fine saves from the York man of the match Ovendale. First he broke free on the left, cut inside and fired a low shot which the keeper tipped wide for a corner. A minute later, Corden let fly from 20 yards, Ovendale manager to palm the ball over the bar.

All in all this was a fine performance from the Stags. The midfield quartet, so familiar with each others game, blended superbly and were far too good for the home side. The defence looked very solid, the return of Artell added more steel, and despite the terrible error, Pilkington's handling was excellent throughout. Christie had a fine game in attack, Pacquette looked off the pace but his headed goal was superb. Man of the match is a straight forward choice between Disley and Lawrence, both back to the sort of form they showed during the last promotion season. Liam was truly back to his best, his passing and control were a joy to watch and his goal was simply outstanding. However, for me Disley just shaded him - his work-rate was first class, he was often the driving force behind Stags attacks and for me was that missing ingredient we have needed for the last couple of months. Finally, well done to the manager, he proved he was not afraid to shake things up, and the points gained today were as much down to his decisions as to the efforts and talent of the players who performed for him - after many weeks of doubt, this definitely looked like a promotion challenging team.

Man of the Match: Craig Disley

Report by: Rob Wheldon

Line Up:
Pilkington 6 Good handling throughout but terrible error for York goal
Buxton 6 Given a hard time by the York left winger
Day 8 Very solid and clearly has a great partnership with Artell
Artell 8 Great to have him back, very strong and reliable
Vaughan 8 One particularly good challenge and defended very well
Lawrence 9 Back to top form, fantastic goal and superb all round performance
Williamson 7 Almost back to the Leroy we know, tigrish in midfield
Disley 9 Pushed the team forwards - was the real difference
Corden 8 Involved far more than recently and a real threat
Pacquette 6 Was having a poor afternoon until his fine goal
Christie 8 Excellent display, won numerous headers and a real handful
Sub Line Up:
Larkin (for Pacquette, 73) 7 Looked a threat, if a little rusty
Dimech (for Disley, 81) 6 Replaced a tired Disley for the last ten minutes
Not used: JWhite, Clarke, Hankey.
Opposition Line Up:
Ovendale , Hope , Brass , Smith , Cooper , Merris , Walker , Ward , Dunning , Nogan , Yalcin
Subs: Edmondson , Parkin , Bullock , Fox , Porter
M Jones (Cheshire) 7 - Stags didn't get the best of his decisions, but generally had a good game

Season 03/04 Reports