This was one of those matches where the home side took control of the game very early and never looked like relinquishing their grip on the three points up for grabs. The result comes as a major disappointment as if the Stags had gained the six points up for grabs over the past two matches, they would have been within sniffing distance of a play off place, the other results having gone kindly for them.
During the opening period of play it was the Stags who looked just the better team but the writing was firmly daubed on the wall when, after nine minutes their defence opened up and Gavin King had to make a good save from Stafford Brown. The second phase seemed to take an eternity until Liam Coleman lighted on the loose ball and smashed it against the far upright. King reacted first and prevented Paul Abrahams from stabbing the ball home.
It was not long before Wivenhoe took the lead: on 19 minutes Coleman was on hand to make amends for his earlier miss when he steered home a cross from Michael Brothers. The Dragons’ joy was short lived when, with possibly one of the best examples of football in the match, Kanyuka won the ball near his own halfway line and bore down on goal. He was shepherded away by Ross Taylor but was able to cut the ball right towards Hasan Kardal who crossed the ball only to see ‘keeper Oliver Sanders go for the save and make a hash of it. Ian Cooper was on hand to net his 17th goal of the season.
Joy was, however, short lived. On 30 minutes Kanyuka made a poor pass in midfield and which allowed Brothers a run down the left side. He crossed for Stafford Brown to nod home unmarked at the far post.
The Dragons controlled the rest of the half with the Stags doing little to make things difficult for the home side.
The Stags went to three at the back early on in the second half in an effort to bring more bite to the midfield. Everything went disastrously wrong early on in the second half when Sean Caton netted the third after a deflection off the referee.
Worse was to come when Kardal was needlessly sent off for a second hand ball offence. From then on the Dragons strolled through the rest of the match and could have pulled further ahead on two or three occasions. On the whole, a display well below par from the Stags.