Mansfield Town 1 Derby County 3
Moore 8. Morris 10, MChristie 70, Evatt 78.
Att 5,788 (1741 from Derby)
by Gary Tyldsley at Field Mill
Worthington Cup R1
Sometimes, when you think that the worst as passed by and things can only get better – like having lost 2 successive home games without scoring. It is only then that you are left at the mercy of the one man who appears to want to do everything in his power to turn even the most mild mannered of folk into angry, animated souls. Yes people… Paul Danson is back.
Possibly he was not content with probably the most selfish performance of officialdom seen at Field Mill in living memory when we faced Kidderminster in the league last season, one that included a red card for Chris Greenacre. He obviously felt that he had to do something to surpass that feat and he achieved it. Maybe he did see something that the other 5788 did not, but the manner of the incident only served to prove that this chap should not even be active in the Chad Youth League and also offered more evidence that the supposed “assessment” of officials is simply not working.
It seems such a shame to have to start this view of tonight's game with so much negative feeling. On a night when, despite the end result, our team put in the sort of display that restores some confidence for the remainder of the campaign.
Leicester City did not allow Damien Delaney to play, whereas Stockport gave permission for Peter Clark to start tonight. It seems that Lee Glover ruled himself out of the game to remain eligible for the Worthington Cup. This may have no bearing on the tactics however, as Stuart Watkiss decided to pack the midfield and allow Iyseden Christie to play a lone role further forward. The intended 4-5-1 formation only lasted for 90 seconds as a skirmish following a Lee Williamson tackle ended up with a red card for the Stags young skipper. This must have been a bitter disappointment for Lee in the first competitive game against the club where he started his football education.
The event seemed to provide more of a boost for the Stags and they opened the scoring on 8 minutes. A long ball across was headed back by Iyseden Christie and Neil Moore took 2 attempts to hammer the ball home for his first goal since joining the club in the summer.
Our joy was short-lived as only 2 minutes later, Malcolm Christie showed his class with a superb run before laying the ball back to Lee Morris who applied a clinical finish to level the game.
It was then that the game settled into an inevitable pattern. Lots of passing across the middle by Derby, waiting for an opportunity to play a killer through ball, countered by the sheer hard work of the Stags 10. Moving onto the positive points of the game, the defence looked organised and solid, the tackling was good quality, the work-rate was outstanding and there was a tough edge that has been absent in every other game this season. To back up the performance for the remainder of the first half, the record shows that Kevin Pilkington had only 1 save to make before the break.
The second half began with “that man” making sure he would not be left out, showing a Yellow Card to Derby's Paul Boertien within 2 minutes of the restart.
As the clock passed the 50-minute mark, there was then a passage of events that really settled the contest. Peter Clark showed his determination with a “throw everything in the way” block to stop a goal-bound effort before Stuart Reddington troubled “that man” again by collecting a Yellow Card for a tug on a white shirt.
We then saw the introduction of the sometimes enigmatic and often brilliant Georgy Kinkladze to rapturous applause from the travelling Rams – rather strange when it appeared that other Derby players were actually ignoring Kinkladze during the half-time interval. His influence was immediate and led to a shooting chance for Brian O'Neil, although his effort was comfortably dealt with by Kevin Pilkington.
Then came, arguably, a match changing decision. On one of the few attacking moments created by the Stags during this phase, Iyseden Christie was clearly barged over by Chris Riggott when chasing a ball in the box. No reaction from the whistle-blower and one more degree of anger for the home faithful.
It was at this stage that the effect of the extra man became apparent. Some of the Stags players were clearly tiring and more space was appearing for the Derby players to use. On 71 minutes it was used to great effect. A low ball into the box from the left was met with a classic first time finish from a proven goalscorer – surely when the “transfer window” opens again, Malcolm Christie will be a target for those Premiership clubs in need of a boost.
With seemingly little left to lose, Stuart Watkiss jumped straight in with the tactical switch of Andy White replacing Stuart Reddington.
A final blow was only minutes away though. Also with proof that when the gods are against you then it hurts. A header from the Derby sub Evatt looked to be gathered in by Kevin Pilkington but with bodies coming together the ball appeared on the wrong side for Stags and the visitors took an unassailable 3-1 lead.
The Stags players were now simply too tired and it became more like a kick-around on the park for the remainder of the game. Danny Bacon was given a short run and Youth Team player Mark Hurst replaced Wayne Corden for the last 3 minutes.
Despite the scoreline this was a vastly improved performance, not just for the fact of playing with 10 men for 88 minutes but for the attitude shown by the players – something that has to be taken into the game at Oldham this Saturday. On a brighter note, a reliable source passed on words from Bobby Hassell that he will be fit for the weekend, and of course we have Scott Sellars returning after his suspension.
My Man of the Match: Neil Moore
Pilkington: 7 Not a lot to do and only beaten by 2 high class finishes and some poor luck
J Clarke: 7 Good positional play, some super tackling and good distribution
Moore: 9 First goal and some outstanding defending
Reddington: 6 Solid game and worked extremely hard
P Clark: 7 Good performance, one particularly outstanding block tackle
MacKenzie: 6 Not on the ball a lot but ran his legs off – quality passing when he got the ball
Disley: 8 Did not stop running – gave everything tonight
Lawrence: 6 Steadily improved performance and learning how to tackle – ran everywhere
Williamson: - Feel sure he will send Paul Danson a Christmas Card this year
Corden: 6 Worked very hard without much reward
Christie: 8 Ran his socks off and was central to anything we created
A White (for Reddington, 72mins) : 6 Not much impact
Bacon (for Christie, 86mins) : 6 Terrier-like for the short time he was on
Hurst (for Cordon, 90mins) : - Not on the field long enough to rate
J White: not used
Holyoak: not used
Latest | September 2002