Murray 51, 70   Quailey 27

Saturday 2nd March 2002

Nationwide League Division 3

Attendance:  6, 292 (1200 from Scunny)

by Martin Shaw at Field Mill

This was an absolutely fabulous win for the Stags as fourth placed Scunthorpe were seen off 2-1 at Field Mill this afternoon. Scunthorpe led 1-0 at half-time thanks to a needless and stupid goal, but two goals from loan star Adam Murray gave Mansfield a richly deserved win despite a couple of late scares.

Stags boss Stuart Watkiss made some surprising positional changes to the Stags side, moving Les Robinson to left-back, Wayne Corden to the right-wing/midfield (where he has not started before for the Stags) and Martin Pemberton to the left-wing/midfield (where he has also not started before for the Stags). Bobby Hassell returned to his familiar right-back position, while on-loan Paul Wheatcroft dropped to the bench. Stags were fortunate that Scunthorpe's excellent midfielder Peter Beagrie was ruled out through injury.

The Stags were the better side in the opening stages and Wayne Corden had a couple of half-chances. Scunthorpe had barely been seen in attack, but took the lead on 27 minutes in ludicrous circumstances. There was no danger whatsoever when Les Robinson, running back towards his own goal, chose the wrong option in playing a back-pass right down the centre of the pitch to Kevin Pilkington. The pass was under-hit and Pilkington had to move quickly to clear. Unluckily for him, with Brian Quailey bearing down in him, the ball bobbled and he missed his kick, allowing Quailey to roll the ball into the empty net. It was a stupid and unnecessary goal. As Robinson was running back to his goal I was screaming for him to put it into touch, but he took the wrong option - this was simply not the pitch to take chances.  Pilkington's missed kick was far from the only such occasion in the match, as even Hodges, who was outstanding for Scunthorpe in the first half, was made to look a fool by the bobbly pitch.

The goal really knocked Mansfield back, and Scunthorpe were the better side for the remainder of the half, without particularly looking like scoring.

Half time 0-1

Stags started the second half very brightly and Pemberton was unlucky to see his 10 yard drive blocked for a corner. Then the game changed course after 51 minutes. Hassell played a long ball from the back. Murray got control of the ball and moved into the right hand corner of the box. As the keeper came out, I was hoping for a penalty as it seemed Stags best hope from that position, but Murray sailed past the keeper and slipped a superb shot into the net from a tight angle. It was the finish of a Premiership player. The goal lifted the team and the crowd and Stags began to dominate.  On 70 minutes the Stags got the winner. Following a corner, Corden sent in a great cross and Murray sent a cushioned header just inside the far post to send the crowd wild. Suddenly Scunthorpe realised that they needed to attack, something they barely yet attempted to that point. Going into the final 5 minutes, Scunthorpe looked as though they might get an undeserved equaliser. Hodges fired over, then Calvo-Garcia shot wide when it looked as though he would find the corner of the net. Also Hassell made one great last-ditch tackle when it seemed Scunthorpe would score. At the final whistle Stags management team rejoiced, as did the 5000 home fans. This was a big win.

It  was  a physical encounter in which Adam Murray was the star of the show winning  many 50:50 balls and distributing the ball well. In the first half Hodges  was outstanding for Scunthorpe, but Stags managed to keep him quiet in the second half. Murray's goals gave Stags their second 2-1 success in 4 days  coming  back  from a goal behind and showed the grit and character of the  side.  It  will be another tough game at Hull on Tuesday but the Stags are  capable  of getting a good result and keeping the promotion band-wagon on the road.

Man of the Match: Adam Murray.

Report by Martin Shaw

Pilkington 7 Handled the ball well and made a couple of decent saves.  Unlucky with the bobble for the goal.
Hassell 8 Super performance at right back.
Reddington 6 Beaten in the air by Torpey several times, but generally coped well. Distribution was poor.
Barrett 7 Defended well.
Robinson 5 Stupid back-pass in the conditions gifted first goal away.  Generally defended ok in unaccustomed position, but repeated another unnecessary back-pass in the second half.
Corden 6 Not at his best on the right wing, but great cross for the second goal. A tendency to give the ball away in dangerous positions.
Williamson 6 Below his best, but still fought like a tiger in the middle.
Murray 9 Outstanding performance. Won most of the 50:50 balls and scored an outstanding first goal.
Pemberton 6 Didn't quite look in his best position on the left wing, but did ok and made a couple of good forging runs.
Greenacre 6 Quiet game but, as always, worked hard and held the ball up well.
Kelly 7 Fine game. Showed his experience on numerous occasions.  Surprisingly withdrawn.
Bradley (for Kelly, 70 mins) 6 Looked short of the pace of the game, and was lucky when he gave the ball away once in a dangerous position.
A White (for Greenacre, 85 mins) 6 Held the ball up front ok. Little time to make an impact.
Subs Not Used: Bingham, Asher, Wheatcroft