STAGS ON THIS DAY: Liam Lawrence last gasp goal goal wins it for Mansfield Town at arch-rivals Chesterfield

Stags fans celebrate at Chesterfield.
Stags fans celebrate at Chesterfield.

It is exactly 13 years today since Mansfield Town’s thrilling last gasp 2-1 victory at arch-rivals Chesterfield.

Few who were there on the day will ever forget the outpouring of emotion when Liam Lawrence stole the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Craig Disley celebrates the equaliser.

Craig Disley celebrates the equaliser.

Stags’ army of over 2,200 away fans erupted behind the goal as Lawrence tore his shirt off and ran to them to celebrate a very special moment.

Lawrence, who was pelted with coins by the home fans during the game, said: “Without a doubt that was the most important goal of my career.

“I think the crowd was trying to give me some win bonus as they were chucking coins at me.”

No one had given the Stags a prayer of a first win over the Spireites in eight years.

Mansfield were struggling in the league and decimated by injury – only able to send a bare 11 players plus five trainees to fill the bench.

A certain Chris Beardsley made his debut up front as did Sheffield United loanee left back Ben Doane.

Also in the Mansfield side was Matt Gadsby, who sadly died almost three years later after collapsing on the pitch during the Hinckley United v Harrogate Town Conference clash.

In a rip-roaring first half it was Gadsby who conceded a penalty when he was penalised for handball on 38 minutes, Marcus Ebdon sending Kevin Pilkington the wrong way.

But Keith Curle’s men were level within five minutes as Lawrence set up Craig Disley for a calm finish followed by a wild, shirtless celebration.

Fortunes eventually swung on two red card decisions by referee Paul Robinson, who had taken over from the injured Andy Hall on 20 minutes as Stags’ injury jinx seemed to reach the officials’ room.

First Robinson let off Stags’ Tom Curtis with a lengthy lecture as the midfielder, already in the book, clattered into Alan O’Hare, the Chesterfield man furiously demanding a red.

Then came the big moment as Chesterfield brought on former Stags striker Shayne Bradley to boos from the away section on 67 minutes.

Within three minutes he was dismissed and the tide turned Mansfield’s way.

The worry was the script would see Bradley, who had failed to live up to his Southampton pedigree during an injury-jinxed time at Field Mill, would come on and grab the winner.

Instead he got into a physical tussle with Stags’ new signing Rhys Day, a quality centre half from Manchester City, as they jostled for position in the box.

Unhappy at Day’s manhandling, Bradley lost his head and spat at the Stags man and the referee had no choice but to dismiss him.

With 12 minutes to go Lawrence saw a shot turned onto the post and, with both sides wasting late chances, it seemed the afternoon would end with the spoils shared.

But cometh the hour, cometh Liam Lawrence as deep into added time he sneaked in round the back to ram home the winner after man of the match Day had flicked on Jamie Clarke’s free kick.

So Lawrence grabbed the headlines. But it was a team of heroes on the day as Andy White and Beardsley did well up front all afternoon while the magnificent Day and Gadsby were outstanding in the heart of defence and Disley produced his best games for a while in central midfield.

STAGS TEAM: Pilkington, Curtis, A. White, Disley, Lawrence, Day, Corden, Gadsby, Beardsley (Mitchell 77), Doane, Clarke. Subs not used: Buxton, Carter, Baptiste, J. White.