STAGSNET`S STATISTICAL PREVIEW
For the third time in league history, the Stags will face Bristol Rovers on an opening day of a league season. But the two previous occasions have been on fruitless away trips.The first one on August 27, 1938, when 11050 saw the Pirates win 3-0 at Eastville and the second one was on August 22, 1964 when the later player-manager Peter Morris hit the consolation goal in a 1-4 defeat attended by 10701 – very good crowds considering the capacity of current FL grounds. The coming season's opener will create history as the Stags then have faced both Bristol teams at home as well as away on opening days. Bristol City visited Field Mill on August 15, 1987 – and contrary to the last Field Mill outing with the scandalous injury-time handling (enough written!) – goals from Stringfellow and Cassells clinched a 2-0 win. Four years earlier, the Stags had crashed to a 4-0-defeat on August 27, 1983 at Ashton Gate.
The Stags and the Pirates last met at Field Mill in the closing stages of last season in the only goal-less league game at Stagsland. But it shouldn't have been that way then, as an Andy White goal was controversially disallowed in the last seconds of injury-time. But at Bristol on September 30, 2003 – just a few weeks short of the writer's up to date latest visit to Stagsland – the Stags stuffed the Pirates in the first half thanks to two goals from Craig Disley – whose visit now will be as a Bristol Rovers player if selected – and one from Junior Mendes – being 2-0 up within the first quarter of that encounter.
While the Stags reached the playoffs finals, Bristol Rovers had an inconsistent campaign last season, finishing 15th and will start the new season with a new manager, Ian Atkins, who was in the Oxford hot seat last season until he was suspended by the “U”s after it had been revealed that he had had talks with Bristol Rovers.
More often than not, have Bristol Rovers left Field Mill emptyhanded – i.e. six consecutive games there without scoring a single goal in the mid-sixties – out of total thirteen - when the teams were stalwarts in the old third. But twice in that period of time were the Stags hit for six when Bristol Rovers played their home games at Eastville – a 0-6 rout in 1965-66 and a 2-6 (Stags goals Partridge and Goodfellow) in the 1968-69 FA Cup QF season.
And does any current Bristol Rovers supporter remember that half of the Pirates' strikes at Field Mill were achieved just before World War II? Here are the facts:
In all the four seasons the Stags did play in the old Southern section, Bristol Rovers were the opponents and more than half of the Bristol team's goal at Field Mill in league fixtures were scored during that period.
This was done on January 30, 1932, when 7118 watched the Stags go down 3-0 and on Christmas Eve, 1938, when Gardiner scored the consolation goal in a 1-3-defeat watched by 3343 – the second of six consecutive league defeats then. And the first-ever Stags win against the Gasheads was also achieved in the thirties, when a solitary Read scoring in front of 3222 on January 15, 1938, clinched the game in favour of the Stags.
Even in the first post-war season when the Stags finished bottom, Bristol Rovers were soundly beaten early on in the 1946-47 season. On September 21, 1946, two goals from the later Yeovil FA Cup hero Bryant and a strike by Calverley in front of a good crowd of 9183 put the Stags on the winning trail.
The teams also met in the Stags solitary season in the old 2nd division and a home game on April 24, 1978, was won 3-0 – in fact the last Mansfield win that season thanks to two goals from John Aston and one from Johnny Miller. Another memorable rout was the 5-0 on January 31, 1987 – the Keith Cassells show that figured on the Swedish pools coupons – of course I predicted a banker Stags win and was proved right. Only once have the teams met in the FA Cup – and that was in the 3rd round in the 1957-58 season. The Stags were drawn away and were routed 5-0 on January 4, 1958. At that time, Bristol Rovers were a solid top-half team in the old second division finishing 10th while the Stags qualified for the then old third ending up as 6th in the final season of the old div 3 (N).
There have been some players who've figured for both sides. Among them are Adam Barrett, who played for the Stags in 2001-02. Another one is Ryan Williams. And the current Stags manager Keith Curle started his league career at Bristol Rovers way back in the 1981-82 season. The next one might be Craig Disley.
Played for both sides: Adam Barrett, Andy Beasley, Keith Curle, Stephen Foster, Phil Kite, Trevor Morgan, Nicky Platnauer, Noel Parkinson, Tom Stanton, Ryan Williams
Home games: P 20, W 13, D 4, L 3, GF 35, GA 11
Away games: P 20, W 2, D 6, L 12, GF 19, GA 45
1931-32 0-3 1932-01-30 1-1 1931-09-19 Div 3 (S)
1937-38 1-0 1938-01-15 0-0 1937-09-04 Div 3 (S)
1938-39 1-3 1938-12-24 0-3 1938-08-27 Div 3 (S)
1946-47 3-1 1946-09-21 0-1 1947-01-25 Div 3 (S)
1963-64 2-0 1964-04-11 2-3 1963-11-30 Div 3 (old)
1964-65 3-0 1964-12-12 1-4 1964-08-22 Div 3 (old)
1965-66 2-0 1965-09-04 0-6 1966-12-19 Div 3 (old)
1966-67 2-0 1967-03-04 4-4 1966-10-15 Div 3 (old)
1967-68 3-0 1968-03-11 0-2 1967-09-09 Div 3 (old)
1968-69 0-0 1968-10-26 2-6 1969-03-25 Div 3 (old)
1969-70 1-1 1969-09-20 1-4 1970-01-10 Div 3 (old)
1970-71 4-1 1971-01-16 0-2 1970-10-20 Div 3 (old)
1971-72 0-0 1971-10-09 1-2 1972-03-11 Div 3 (old)
1977-78 3-0 1978-04-24 1-3 1977-10-04 Div 2 (old)
1986-87 5-0 1987-01-31 0-0 1986-09-13 Div 3 (old)
1987-88 1-0 1988-02-27 1-2 1987-10-03 Div 3 (old)
1988-89 2-1 1988-10-08 0-0 1989-02-18 Div 3 (old)
1989-90 0-1 1989-08-26 1-1 1990-01-13 Div 3 (old)
2001-02 2-0 2002-04-06 1-0 2001-11-20 Div 3
2003-04 0-0 2004-04-12 3-1 2003-09-30 Div 3
Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)
Some details on scorers are courtesy of the Centenary book
Latest | August 2004