10 Years ago Mansfield T 0 Pool 4 - LDV R2

Last updated : 03 November 2011 By INOIT

mansfieldLast season, at about the same stage of the campaign, Steve McMahon took an injury ravaged side to Field Mill for a midweek clash more in hope than expectation and on the back of an indifferent start to the season.

But against all the odds, his battered warriors kept Mansfield out, and then Richie Wellens popped up late on to snatch the winner and clinch a result which proved in many ways to be a turning point in Pool's season. Last night, it was the grim evening suddenly turning into a very enjoyable trip routine all over again, and how the 100 or so Seasiders fans who made the journey lapped it up as their side saw off the home challenge before eventually strolling into the Northern quarter-final of the LDV Vans Trophy. It would be going over the top to say it was a classic performance and you have to also admit that the scoreline had a slightly flattering look and hardly did justice to a lively Mansfield side who matched the visitors for long periods. But fortunes have been cruel to Blackpool at times this season, and, when Lady Luck eventually smiles on you, you just accept it – which is precisely what Macca's men did. Pool's slice of luck last night came from the unlikeliest of sources given some of the events at away grounds this season – the referee.

After half an hour, it looked as though we were in for a long night. Macca had given Brett Ormerod a rest, dropping him to the bench and the temporary strike force of Graham Fenton being assisted by Martin Bullock were getting little change out of a solid defence. It was the Stags who had looked the livelier side, big centre forward Shayne Bradley causing a few scary moments for the Tangerines. Then match official Trevor Parkes stepped in. Danny Coid, thrown on after Brian Reidís enforced withdrawal a few minutes earlier, threaded a ball into the area and as Bullock latched onto it, he fell under the challenge of Stuart Reddington.

It looked a fair tackle but Parkes pointed to the spot. Neil MacKenzie had struggled to make an impact up to then but he kept his head and dispatched the penalty in convincing style to keeper Michael Bingham's left. It would be wrong to say that incident totally turned the pattern of the game, because though it turned the heat up and led to some pretty tasty challenges in the following minutes, the pattern of the home side pressing continued. They came near to breaking through as pacy forward Jason White, on loan from Cheltenham, twice roared down the right and tested Phil Barnes, but the keeper was equal to it.

Then just when Pool looked to have weathered the storm, they had the added bonus of a second goal. Bullock's ball in from the rightlooked to be causing little danger, but Gary Parkinson had found his way forward and turned the ball back for MacKenzie to chip the ball into the net from fully 25 yards.

The last thing any side that goes two goals down wannto the field, but that's what Mansfield had to face as the goal hero entered the fray with 18 minutes to go. And as Pool at last began to ease into the driving seat, Ormerod put on his own super show to round things off very nicely. With 10 minutes left, Bullock again turned provider as he tore down the left and slotted a precision ball through to the striker.

Ormerod, racing clear of the defence deftly flicked the ball past Bingham.
Then in the final minute came number four, which was made all the sweeter by being set up by 16-year-old Matthew Blinkhorn, given a 10 minute run out by McMahon as opposed to the 10 second debut he enjoyed at Wrexham a week ago.

The youngster picked up possession and advanced forward before finding Ormerod with a precise ball. Brett did the rest, cracking the ball home from 15 yards via the keeper's left hand post to complete the victory and give Blinkhorn the first of what will hopefully eventually turn into an album full of memories of heroics in a Tangerine shirt.

Three steps to heaven

FOUR-star Blackpool moved to within three steps of a return to Cardiff last night and delighted Steve McMahon by smashing their penalty jinx in the process.
Pool saw off Mansfield 4-0 at Field Mill to cruise in to the Northern quarter-finals of the LDV Vans Trophy, and after missed spot-kicks at Brighton and Oldham already this season, it was Neil MacKenzie who assumed the responsibility by smashing the ball home after 32 minutes to set the ball rolling McMahon said: "He made a beeline for it and picked it up, I thought 'oh no'. He didn't have one of his better first halfs but neither did anyone else." But even Macca admitted the penalty award was controversial. He said: "There have been times when we have been given decisions against us that we weren't happy with, but he's given it, and that did change it."
McMahon was delighted that the midfielder struck it away and was even more pleased with the second goal which went a long way to sealing the win. "It was a great lob by Neil MacKenzie, and as soon as the second one goes in we can relax a bit," said McMahon. "It was a very sloppy first half by both sets of players. I just hoped they would liven it up a bit because they were letting themselves down and we livened it up and got the goals."

The one negative point was the hamstring problem which forced Brian Reid to leave the field early. "Hopefully Brian is not too seriously hurt. I asked if he was OK and he said he was, but we brought him off as a precaution and we'll save him now for Saturday hopefully," said McMahon. He was also generous in his praise for Brett Ormerod, whose late two-goal salvo took his total to 16 – level with Manchester City's Shaun Goater as the nation's leading scorer.

"He's on to everything and every time he goes forward he looks as though he's going to score a goal," said McMahon, who also praised the late contribution of young Matthew Blinkhorn who set up Ormerod for Pool's fourth. "I'm pleased for the lad. It was the ideal opportunity for him to go on for 10 minutes and he didn't disappoint. He's got a great future and we'll nurture him and make he comes in at the right time."

McMahon added that he was making every effort to beef up the currently thin ranks in the striking department. "I'd just like us to be a bit stronger in the strikers and I'm working tirelessly to bring another one in. "It's not good at this moment. As soon as one striker goes down injured we are struggling,"