Mansfield Town 2 Peterborough United 0
Division III, Saturday 28th March 1998
Gary Tallon firmly believes Stags are in with a shout of making the play-offs.
Tallon’s first goal for the club sealed victory over fast-fading Peterborough on Saturday and the Irish midfielder said: “We have six games left and everything to play for.
“We are very much in with a chance. We have a never-say-die attitude installed in us by the gaffer and everyone goes out and gives 100 per cent.”
Tallon paid tribute to Mansfield’s defence who shut out Peterborough hotshots Martin Carruthers and Jimmy Quinn.
“The defence played like trojans and were absolutely fabulous. We really dug in hard.”
Tallon was delighted with his goal in first half injury time.
And he almost added a second near the end when visiting keeper Mark Tyler dived full length to his left to turn Tallon’s long-range effort round the post.
“I got a bit giddy after scoring one and started shooting from anywhere,” he smiled.
“When you’ve scored one you wan to score again. But their keeper made a good save.”
In one of the most exciting games of the season at Field Mill, the crowd were treated to end-to-end attacking football.
John Schofield’s gritty display epitomised the determination of Stags’ defence.
And Steve Whitehall ran tirelessly up front, opening the scoring on 15 minutes and getting into enough good positions after the break to have finished with a hat-trick.
His 21st goal of the season was probably his most bizarre and was a real tragedy for keeper Tyler who otherwise had an excellent game.
Darrell Clarke slotted the ball through for Whitehall only for the keeper to get there first.
But his clearance cannoned back off the Stags striker and past him into the net!
Mansfield had already survived a third minute let-off when nippy full back Neil Lewis charged off on a great run from his own hald, laid the ball inside to Carruthers who, in turn, found Quinn in space.
But Ian Bowling pulled off an important save.
And let-off number two arrived on 36 minutes when Carruthers was clipped by Schofield as he went through.
Had he gone down immediately, it would have been a penalty.
But it seemed to take a second or two to register there had been contact before he collapsed and play was waved on.
He quickly recovered his footing and swung the ball to the far post where an unmarked Quinn headed into the sidenetting.
The killer blow came in first half injury time.
Steve Harper’s header went between a defender’s legs to Lee Peacock. And his near backheel sent the ball into the path of Tallon whose low shot found the net inside the far post.
Stags’ last big let-off came on 65 minutes as Bowling parried a blast from Steve Castle and Harper cleared the Posh man’s follow-up off the line.
Seconds later Carruthers let fly and this time it was Lee Williams who was well-placed to make the goal line clearance.
Carruthers turned Schofield inside-out only to shoot into the sidenetting and Bowling saved well from Quinn’s header on the only occasions the visitors found a way through.
But it was far from one-way traffic and Whitehall nipped through the advancing line of defenders on 71 minutes but fired his finish into Tyler;s midriff.
Six minutes larer, Tallon and Iyseden Christie combined to leave Whitehall with a similar angle and again Tyler was in the way.
Andy Edwards produced a great tackled to stop Christie and when Whitehall came in from the right, his 20-yard effort dipped just over the top.