League two previews: Mansfield Town

Jun 5, 2021 | News

Since their first meeting against Mansfield Town, in 1931/32, Rovers have clocked up a half century of league meetings against The Stags and currently lead the way with 21 wins.

Mansfield have won 16 games and 13 have ended all square while in the FA Cup Rovers won 5-0 on the only occasion the clubs have met in that competition, registering victory at Eastville on 4th January 1958. Peter Hooper (2), Alfie Biggs, George Petherbridge and Dai Ward scored Rovers’ goals that day.

Whatever they call their stadium (it’s currently the One Call Stadium) to me it will always be Field Mill and the current capacity stands at 9,186.

Having dispensed with the services of former Rovers manager Graham Coughlan on 28th October 2020, Mansfield replaced him with Nigel Clough in November and he guided them to safety and a 16th place finish with 58 points. Home matches saw them win six, draw ten and lose seven.

Thinking of games against Mansfield there is, inevitably, one that springs to mind. They visited the Memorial Stadium for the final game of the 2013/14 season with Rovers needing just a point to avoid dropping out of the league. However, Mansfield won 1-0 and to rub salt into the wounds they did it wearing a set of Rovers shirts!

The result ended Rovers’ unbroken record of 94 years in the Football League and consigned the club to Conference football. The post match scenes of that afternoon will stay with me for always.

On a lighter note, there was a win at Field Mill on the opening day of the 2004/05 season when, under Ian Atkins and with a raft of new players in the side, Rovers won 2-0, both goals being scored by Junior Agogo.

There was also a 4-4 draw at The Mem in March 2005 and an amazing game at Field Mill in October 2015 when ten man Rovers snatched victory against nine man Mansfield in the last minute thanks to Matty Taylor’s goal in the eighth minute of time added on.

Will either of next season’s meetings be as dramatic of any of those listed above, I wonder?

Ollie Clarke, Ryan Sweeney and Rollin Menayese are the most recent players to have turned out for both sides. The list also includes Craig Armstrong, Adam Barrett, Aidy Boothroyd, Craig Disley, Keith Curle, Scott Jones, Phil Kite, Reggie Lambe, Conrad Logan, Jeffrey Monakana, Guy Ipoua, Noel Parkinson, Scott Shearer, Matt Somner, Tom Stanton, Chris Beardsley and Andy Beasley.

Former Mansfield player Darrell Clarke managed Rovers, while former Rovers and Mansfield player Keith Curle managed The Stags.

In addition, former Rovers goalkeeping coach Stuart Naylor also played six games for Mansfield when on loan at Field Mill, from Bristol City.

Craig Disley, pictured playing against his former club in 2007 (photo courtesy of Neil Brookman.

Post war debuts against Mansfield include John Petts (1965/66), Trevor Rhodes (1968/69), Stuart Campbell, Steve Elliott, Jamie Forrester, Craig Hinton, James Hunt, Robbie Ryan, Paul Trollope & Richard Walker (all 2004/05), and Patrick Keary (2013/14).

A one way journey to Field Mill from The Mem is 150 miles.

Keith Brookman