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STAGSNET`S STATISTICAL PREVIEW
2nd May 2006 21:05


The Stags, who last Saturday clinched the one point needed to ensure League Two survival and leaving it to others to escape following Rushden & Diamonds to the Conf, play Cheltenham, who already have secured their place in the promotion playoffs, in the 2005-06 ultimate league fixture at Field Mill.

And Cheltenham have played against the Stags in all their league seasons to date. The Robins in fact registered their first-ever league win by scoring the only goal of the game (scorer: Grayson) at Field Mill on August 14, 1999 when the Stags made a very poor start of a topsy-turvy 1999-2000 season. Lee Williams, later to play for Cheltenham, appeared for the Stags in that fixture and no Stags player appearing then is now at the club, but the then unused goalie sub Higgs is still around for the Cheltenham team.

And in the following campaign, the teams faced each other at Cheltenham on the opening day when the teams drew 2-2, Chris Greenacre scoring a wonder goal and Mark Blake scoring for the Stags as well as putting through an own goal. On February 13, 2001, the Stags registered their first league win over the Robins 2-1, goals Blake and a Book og in front of only 1940, a crowd more than four times less the one when the teams met in a crucial promotion encounter on April 9, 2002, when the Stags won 2-1 thanks to an Andy White strike in the 78th minute, Chris Greenacre opening the account after just two minutes and Yates equalizing midway through the first half. At Cheltenham, Stags went 2-0 up thanks to two Disley strikes, Alsop equalizing after coming on as sub before Corden hit the winner in the 90th minute, in the end proving very as crucial as well as White's winner at the Mill. Eventually the teams were promoted together after fighting it out up to the final day – Stags directly and eventually Cheltenham after winning the play-off finals against Rushden & Diamonds. And the teams were also relegated together the following term – as the Stags lost both games against the Robins after poor displays – and Cheltenham drawing no fewer than 18 times. The Stags had needed the six points against Cheltenham to stay up that season – and Cheltenham had needed just ONE win of the 18 drawn games to secure their stay in the 2nd division instead of Chesterfield. Had the two-points ruling applied for a win, Cheltenham had stayed up two points clear of the Spireites instead of the reverse under the three-points-system.

In the 2003-04 season, Cheltenham finished lower mid-table – the reason being the number of goals conceded early on. Scoring had at the same time been no problem despite the departure of their King of Headers, Julian Alsop, for Oxford, while the Stags figured in the auto promotion and play-offs race. And that same season, the writer of this preview did the Stagsnet match report of the Stags' home stuffing of Cheltenham 4-0 thanks to a brace of Liam Lawrence penalties and two goals from Colin Larkin, the first being a psychological heavy one to net just on the stroke of half-time while the away one was lost 2-4 due to a poor defensive display. The week-end before the home fixture, much-travelled – as a striker as well as a hot-seat man – Bobby Gould resigned from his post as Cheltenham manager immediately after the 0-2 home defeat against Rochdale. Bob Bloomer was caretaker manager at the time of my Stagsnet report in October, now assistant. John Ward, who earlier had managed York and both Bristol clubs, was handed the Cheltenham managerial post on a permament basis on November 6, 2003 and is still in the Robins' hot seat.

And exactly the 4-0 win at Field Mill just two years ago is the Stags' latest home win against the Robins. And last term, the Stags lost both games against Cheltenham, first the away one 2-0 in October 2004 after a poor showing from the Stags, while the home fixture was lost 1-2 in the final minute. By that time, Cheltenham were just outside the playoffs, but faltered very badly and in the end finished lower mid-table just below the Stags.
And last October, the Stags smashed the nil in their away wins column to pieces thanks to a 2-0 victory, thanks to goals from Barker and Brown after a fine display only marred by one straight red card for each side deep into injury time.

Earlier this year, both sides played Newcastle in the FA Cup. While the Stags only lost to a late Alan Shearer goal at St. James' Park in the third round, the Robins lost 0-2 at home to the Geordies in the following round.

Played for both sides (since Cheltenham were promoted to the Football League): Carl Muggleton, Richard Walker, Jason White (forward!), Lee Williams.

Prior to Cheltenham being promoted to the League in 1999, the following players have been traced, courtesy of the centenary book and the history CD: Andy Beasley, George Blackburn, Roddy Collins (later Carlisle manager!), Melvyn Eves, Glyn Jones, Roger McDonald, Christopher Ogden, George Simpson, Alexander Sykes.

Home: P 6, W 3, D 0, L 3, GF 9, GA 7
Away: P 7, W 2, D 1, L 4, GF 10, GA 14

Season Home Date Away Date

1999-2000 0-1 1999-08-14 0-1 2000-01-15 Div 3
2000-01 2-1 2001-02-13 2-2 2000-08-12 Div 3
2001-02 2-1 2002-04-09 3-2 2001-08-25 Div 3
2002-03 0-2 2002-09-21 1-3 2003-03-08 Div 2
2003-04 4-0 2003-10-25 2-4 2004-02-28 Div 3
2004-05 1-2 2005-02-12 0-2 2004-10-19 League Two
2005-06 (at Whaddon Road) 2-0 2005-10-29 League Two

Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)

 

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