STAGSNET`S STATISTICAL PREVIEW
After having drawn the two latest league fixture, the Stags now focus on a home game against Wrexham. The Welshmen started this league campaign with six games unbeaten, but have since the 2-1 home victory against Swindon, smashing their 100 percent league record to pieces on September 9, 2006, lost five out of the Dragons' last six league fixtures, among them three consecutive on the road to a depressing score-line of two for and thirteen against, having conceded five in back-to-back away games, 0-5 at Accrington and a few days later 2-5 at Stockport. Yet Wrexham have, due to international call-ups, two games in hand on most of their League Two rivals.
And the sides haven't clinched that often in the League for the last 30 years. And the reason for that is quite simple as the sides more often than not have by-passed each other in a promotion or relegation season. Here are the facts:
In 1977-78, when the Stags were relegated from the current Championship, the Dragons gained their first-ever promotion to the second level, staying there for four seasons.
The same thing happened in 1992-93, when the Stags were relegated to the basement and Wrexham gaining their first promotion for fifteen years.
And when the Stags gained their up-to-date last promotion in 2001-02, Wrexham were relegated. And the following season, the roles were reversed.
As a result of that, up to December 6, 2005, when the Stags lost 1-4 at Wrexham despite leading 1-0 at the interval, the teams had not faced each other since New Year's Day 1992, only a few days before Wrexham managed a famous FA Cup giant-killing. On January 4, 1992, the then League Champions Arsenal were dumped out of the Cup to a 2-1 scoreline despite the fact that Wrexham were 1-0 down with ten minutes to go!
The 2001-02 league clash at Wrexham was played at the Racecourse Ground. There, the Welshmen won 3-2 thanks to goals from Thackeray, Owen and Connolly, Stags goals Steve Wilkinson 2. He also scored twice in the 3-0 victory at Field Mill early on that 1991-92 season, Stringfellow netting once. And one player who played for both sides in his league career, Stephen Charles, appeared for the Stags in both games against Wrexham that season. Another one is the man who was responsible for the Leeds League Cup KO in 1994-95, Simon Ireland. A third one, Mick Vinter, scored for the Stags in the 2-1 win at Wrexham on February 1, 1986.
But the most memorable Stags v Dragons league fixture is very easy to pick. This was on the last day of the 1976-77 season. The Stags were already promoted, but were two points ahead of Brighton, who themselves played at Chesterfield on May 14, 1977. Wrexham had a few days earlier lost 2-4 at home to Crystal Palace in the final minutes and therefore needed a win to topple the Londoners. In an English newspaper, think it was the Guardian, there were quotes from – of all places – Chesterfield, like this: “We want Mansfield to win the title, the region needs success”. Brighton could only manage a 1-1 draw at Saltergate. And at Wrexham, as expected there was a full house. That May Saturday ended in heartbreak for Wrexham as Ernie Moss hit the only goal of the game and clinched the Stags' second championship in three seasons. That win was also the Stags' first at Wrexham since September 18, 1954, when Bradley, Gaskell and Adam hit the net in front of 9197. Bradley, then, was not "gone in 60 seconds-Shayne" in the up to date latest Stags v Spireites league game on January 18, 2003, but Don Bradley, who scored one of his six Stags league goals then. At one time, Don Bradley held the record for most Stags' league appearances, a record later beaten by two players playing a big part in both 1970's championships, namely Sandy Pate and Rod Arnold, while Wrexham had to wait another year for their turn.
Another memorable game at Wrexham was played as far back as in the 1936-37 season. That campaign was the one of Ted Harston. When the Stags visited Racecourse Ground on April 17, 1937, the talk among the older Stags supporters must have been if Harston were to score his 50th league goal that term? Eventually he did, and netted another in the 3-2 victory. And in the home game a few weeks earlier, Harston fixed a hat-trick, including one from the spot, in the 3-0 win on March 30, 1937.
In 1975-76, the teams clashed six times, three times in the FA Cup before the Stags went through. A few months earlier, the Stags had disposed of Wrexham in the League Cup as well. And only once before last season had the sides clashed during this century – and it happened in the League Cup in the 2000-01 season. The first leg was actually played at Notts County's ground Meadow Lane! This was due to work at Field Mill. Wrexham won 1-0 but the Stags gained revenge by winning 3-0 at Wrexham a few weeks later, going through 3-1 on aggregate to gain two games against then Premiership outfit Southampton.
If earlier league results are something to go by, there might be a few goals at Field Mill on Saturday. The sides have only played two goal-less draws apiece at Field Mill and at Racecourse Ground. Just after World War II, the sides played in the same league for fifteen consecutive seasons. Both sides were founder members of the old division 3 after the 1957-58 season and were relegated together to the basement two seasons later. And apart from the two goal-less draws at Field Mill, the Stags have only TWICE failed to score at home to Wrexham. This happened on September 27, 1952 in a 2-0-defeat and on September 12, 1960 when the Dragons won 3-0 at Field Mill, only two days after the Stags inflicted Peterborough's first-ever league defeat. On the other hand, Wrexham have been hit for six on two occasions as well at Field Mill. First, on February 4, 1956, when three goals from Darwin, two from Jepson and an own-goal contributed to a 6-1 rout in front of 5072. And on October 24, 1959, the Welshmen were sent crashing to a 6-2 defeat before 5277. Two goals from Fitzsimons, one apiece from Ringstead, Delapenha, Jones and Nugent were enough for the Stags.
In the corresponding Field Mill fixture on February 18, 2006, only a few days before the previer's up to date latest trip across the North Sea, the sides shared four goals, all in the second half, midway through the Stags' best spell of last season with eight consecutive league games unbeaten. First, Wrexham went 2-0 up thanks to a brace from Blackburn loanee Derbyshire. But King Barker equalized within a few minutes, including one from the spot, whilst at Wrexham, the Stags were 1-0 up at the interval only to lose 4-1.
Wrexham were relegated due to getting a 10-points deduction in the 2004-05 season for being in administration for a while and finished mid-table last term.
Played for both sides: Eric Betts, Roy Brown, Michael Carter, Stephen Charles, John Clayton, Simon Ireland, Kenneth Murray, Alf Somerfield, Mick Vinter, George Wynn.
Played for the Stags, later managed Wrexham: Bobby Roberts.
Home games: P 30, W 17, D 8, L 5, GF 62, GA 30
Away games: P 30, W 6, D 7, L 17, GF 31, GA 64
Season Home Date Away Date
1932-33 0-0 1932-12-03 1-1 1933-04-15 Div 3 (N)
1933-34 1-1 1934-01-06 0-5 1933-09-02 Div 3 (N)
1934-35 4-0 1934-12-25 3-1 1934-12-26 Div 3 (N)
1935-36 3-2 1935-09-11 1-5 1935-09-04 Div 3 (N)
1936-37 3-0 1937-03-30 3-2 1937-04-17 Div 3 (N)
1947-48 1-0 1947-12-27 1-2 1947-12-26 Div 3 (N)
1948-49 1-2 1948-12-26 1-1 1949-05-04 Div 3 (N)
1949-50 1-0 1950-04-07 0-0 1950-04-10 Div 3 (N)
1950-51 1-1 1951-04-23 2-2 1950-08-19 Div 3 (N)
1951-52 3-0 1951-09-15 1-3 1952-01-19 Div 3 (N)
1952-53 0-2 1952-09-27 0-1 1953-02-14 Div 3 (N)
1953-54 4-0 1954-04-19 0-2 1954-04-16 Div 3 (N)
1954-55 2-1 1955-02-05 3-1 1954-09-18 Div 3 (N)
1955-56 6-1 1956-02-04 0-2 1955-09-24 Div 3 (N)
1956-57 3-1 1957-04-06 0-0 1956-11-24 Div 3 (N)
1957-58 2-1 1957-09-07 2-4 1958-01-11 Div 3 (N)
1958-59 3-1 1958-09-22 1-2 1958-10-01 Div 3 (old)
1959-60 6-2 1959-10-24 0-3 1960-03-12 Div 3 (old)
1960-61 0-3 1960-09-12 0-2 1960-09-07 Div 4 (old)
1961-62 1-2 1961-12-23 0-5 1961-08-26 Div 4 (old)
1963-64 3-1 1964-02-29 0-2 1964-03-20 Div 3 (old)
1970-71 1-1 1970-09-19 0-4 1971-04-24 Div 3 (old)
1971-72 1-1 1972-05-01 1-1 1972-03-13 Div 3 (old)
1975-76 0-0 1976-03-06 0-1 1975-11-01 Div 3 (old)
1976-77 2-0 1976-12-28 1-0 1977-05-14 Div 3 (old)
1983-84 3-4 1984-03-06 3-2 1983-11-05 Div 4 (old)
1984-85 1-0 1984-10-20 2-2 1985-03-09 Div 4 (old)
1985-86 1-1 1985-09-07 2-1 1986-02-01 Div 4 (old)
1991-92 3-0 1991-09-03 2-3 1992-01-01 Div 4 (old)
2005-06 2-2 2006-02-18 1-4 2005-12-06 League Two
1975-76 1-1 1975-11-22 1st round at Field Mill
1975-76 1-1 1975-11-24 1st round replay at Wrexham
1975-76 2-1 1975-12-08 1st round 2nd replay at Villa Park, Birmingham
1975-76 2-1 1975-09-10 2nd round at Wrexham
2000-01 0-1 2000-08-22 1st round, 1st leg at Meadow Lane, Nottingham due to work at Field Mill
2000-01 3-0 2000-09-05 1st round, 2nd leg at Wrexham (the Stags through 3-1 on aggregate)
Details from various sources, mainly the centenary book and a few editions of Rothmans Football Yearbook
Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)