VIDEO: STAGS' GOLDEN GOALS '” Liam Lawrence hits last-gasp winner in thrilling derby
It is something that football fans of all clubs argue about. What is the the best, most memorable or favourite goal scored by your heroes?
Each week we are taking a look at some of the best to hit the net for Mansfield Town over the past decades. If you have a goal you would like us to feature, email [email protected] with brief details and your memories of the strike and we will try to include in a future article.
Among those suggested for future weeks are Matt Green’s winner at Hereford that set up promotion back to the Football League and George Foster’s area final strike in the Freight Rover Trophy.
The second golden goal in our series, following last week’s look back to Wayne Corden’s promotion winning goal in 2002, was one of those moments where, as a Stags fan, you were proud to say — I know because I was there!
Liam Lawrence’s derby day winner at Chesterfield in 2003 was a memory that will live with me for ever and has been put forward by Ian Hibbert, who said: “What a moment that meant so much to every Stags fan.” It was also nominated on fans’ website Stagsnet by Ridge, Jay and bobbystagsfan, who wrote: “(It was) not a screamer, but Lawrence’s goal in the last minute at Saltergate has to be up there. That moment is so special to me and, I’m sure, most other Staggies.”
Sunday, 18th January 2003 started off feeling special; perhaps it was the fact the derby was being played on a Sunday, a rare day for the Stags to be in action. A sell-out crowd of 6,813 were packed into Saltergate and the action came thick and fast.
Undeservedly a goal down to a 38th minute penalty after Matt Gadsby was harshly ruled to have handled, the Stags hit back before half-time with a Craig Disley goal — created by the livewire Lawrence who had a game to remember.
Watch Liam Lawrence score the winner against ChesterfieldWatch match highlightsRead match reportGolden Goals: Wayne Corden starts promotion partyThe travelling 2,200 Stags fans then went bonkers when former Mansfield striker Shayne Bradley ran on as a second half substitute and was immediately sent off for what we later found out to be spitting at Stags defender Rhys Day.
You would have thought the Stags had scored the winner to defeat their fierce local rivals for the first time in eight years, such was the volume of noise.
But that delight was still to come... deep into injury time.
Jamie Clarke, midway inside the Chesterfield half, floated a deep free kick into a crowded penalty area from the right.
The ball was flicked back across the six-yard line by Day and Lawrence, rushing in, headed home the dramatic winner to clinch the derby victory.
Those of us squashed in behind the goal went mad... simply mad.
Lawrence, who a few minutes earlier had seen a goalbound shot touched on to the post by the keeper, tore off his shirt and ran into the Stags fans behind the goal.
He later admitted he went “crazy”. Who wouldn’t have done in the same circumstances?
It was a special goal and a special day, made all the more remarkable by the lead up to the game. The Stags had struggled in the Second Division after promotion to the third tier of English football. They had been in the relegation zone since August and went into the derby ravaged by injury.
The squad was so stretched with Keith Curle, Bobby Hassell, Colin Larkin and Neil MacKenzie among those missing that the substitutes were all youth team trainees.
Sadly the famous win did not spark a revival and relegation followed, but for one glorious day the struggles at the foot of the table did not matter.