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Archived News from January 2007

28th January 2007 17:34

After having had a player sent-off after only ten minutes, the Stags fought out a deserved 1-1 draw at Chester last Saturday, and in the latest home fixture, an early 0-1 deficit was turned into a very creditable 2-1 victory over leaders Walsall at Field Mill. Now the focus must be 100 % on the home fixture against bottom club Torquay on Tuesday night.

And the Stags are surely out for avenging the 1-0 defeat at Plainmoor in mid-September. But after that game, the Gulls played an unwanted new club record 19 league fixtures without a victory, surpassing a previous one of seventeen between March 5, 1938 and September 10, 1938, until last Friday night, when the Gulls convincingly beat fellow strugglers Grimsby to a 4-1 score-line. The consequences: Falling from a place around the playoffs in September to rock bottom. Yet the Gulls managed to reach the Third Round of the FA Cup for the second year running, and that was the reason for the postponement of the Gulls' trip to Stagsland. Off the field, Torquay's slide also had consequences. Manager Ian Atkins (see below) left the club before the turn of the year and was replaced by Milos Kubik. The Czech man was to be Torquay's fourth manager during last year. And the Stags' hot-seat man at Torquay in September, Peter Shirtliff, is also no longer a manager.

And while writing about Torquay, Plainmoor is a venue the writer of these lines has been to for two of the last three games between the Gulls and the Stags down in Devon.
On February 25, 2006, the first of two Stags league games within a week was watched by the previewer. An early scrambled Danny Reet goal following a corner put the Stags on the winning trail. And late on in the second half, Simon Brown put the game beyond doubt. More on that game including pictures in the match report section for last season. This was also the Stags' first double over Torquay for twenty seasons, as the sides clashed at a rain-soaked Field Mill early last season where the Stags won 3-0, and that was to be the only league success last term for Carlton Palmer as Stags manager. Torquay, too, endured managerial resignations last campaign. Only just about a month before the Stags' visit to Torquay, Leroy Rosenior, who steered the Gulls to auto promo for the first time since 1965-66 and only just failed to make Torquay stay up in League One in 2004-05, resigned after a 1-3 home defeat to Rochdale. Rosenior was replaced by John Cornforth, who lambasted his side's performance against the Stags on February 25. And the Gulls were all last season in relegation danger. Cornforth resigned in early April and was replaced by Ian Atkins. With five games left, Torquay were very close to be relegated to the Conf. But a late rally with four consecutive wins, including 2-1 away at Carlisle, and a goal-less draw against Boston, secured league status for the Gulls. Yet in one of Leroy Rosenior's last games for Torquay, the Gulls managed a creditable FA Cup 3rd round replay against Birmingham.

And the Gulls were elected to the league a couple of seasons prior to the Stags and therefore they were not among the founder members of the old division 3 (S). After being elected at the expense of Aberdare in the late 1920's, Torquay stayed in the old Division 3 (S) up to 1957-58 when the old divisions 3 and 4 were formed. The Gulls, having narrowly failed to gain promotion in to the old 2nd division in 1956-57, when only goal-average separated them and Ipswich Town, fared much worse in 1957-58 and as a result of that they became founder members of the old 4th division in 1958-59. Therefore the Gulls also played the Stags when they spent four seasons in the Southern section – and the teams have also played an expunged division 3 (S) game – a 2-2 draw at Plainmoor on September 2, 1939 (Stags scorers Akers and Ward), game NOT included in the stats below – competition then cancelled due to outbreak of the 2nd World War. And when league football was resumed in 1946-47, the teams also met early on at Torquay. Again the game ended in a 2-2 draw! This happened on September 7, 1946 when Eric Bryant netted twice for the Stags. Bryant was a little more than two years later to become Yeovil hero big style by netting the winner in an epic FA Cup 4th round home fixture against Sunderland. 2-2 was also the result of the first-ever Torquay v Stags league fixture at Plainmoor. This happened on January 23, 1932, when Broome and Death scored for the Stags in front of 3370. A little more than thirty years later, the teams shared six goals at Torquay. That game on October 6, 1962, the highest-ever score-draw between the sides, was watched by 6403 who saw Hollett, Chapman (R) and Hall score the Stags' goals.

Since the 1966-67 season, the teams have met very frequently in the two lower divisions of the league as the teams were relegated together from the old 3rd division in 1971-72 despite both teams then beating the champs Aston Villa (Stags did it away 1-0 while the Gulls did that at home 2-1 ten days prior to the Stags winning 1-0 at Plainmoor that season). In the late sixties, Stags league fixtures against the Gulls both home and away were very successful as the Stags completed four doubles in a row over Torquay, the most important one in 1967-68 when the Stags won both fixtures 2-0, thus ensuring that the Gulls finished just three points below Bury in second promotion spot in the old third – long time it seemed that Torquay were to be runaway winners. The 2-0 home game on November 18, 1967, scorers Melling and Rowland, attendance 5295, ended a very barren spell with just one league point in nine league games – and the goal-less draw in 1971-72 was the last of nine consecutive home games without scoring.

A curiousity is that one of the Stags scorers at Plainmoor on April 13, 1968 was John Rowlands, who later was to play for the Gulls.

Some Field Mill games between the Stags and the Gulls have attracted very low crowds, the lowest in Stags league history. The all-time lowest is mentioned below. But the 3-1 home win on May 1, 1982, attracted only 1394 who saw Nicholson score twice and Caldwell. Even lower was the gate on December 17, 1982, just 1293, the lowest post-war Field Mill league game crowd, saw Dungworth and Caldwell net for the Stags in a 2-1 three-pointer.

Twice, the Stags have run out 4-0 winners. First time on March 8, 1939 in front of just 800! spectators who saw Gardner and Carter net twice apiece and second time in 1985-86 – that clipping of the Gulls ensured the Stags going top of the old fourth division on October 26, 1985 when 3506 watched two goals from Whatmore, one each from Lowery and Chamberlain completing the rout. On the other hand, Torquay have also twice ran out 4-0 winners in home games. The first one on a Sunday, March 10, 1974 – after the Stags had drawn 1-1 at Exeter the day before – this arrangement was surely due to the fuel crisis in 1974 – and the second one as late as in April 2000 during the Stags longest-ever spell without scoring a league goal.

The teams have also something else in common – both knocking Leeds and West Ham out of cup competitions!
While the Stags KO'ed West Ham in the FA Cup in 1968-69 and Leeds in the League cup in 1994, Torquay's disposals were in the FA Cup 3rd round. Leeds were routed 4-0 at home in a replay after a 2-2 draw at Leeds in 1954-55, West Ham narrowly beaten 1-0 at home in 1989-90. Apart from that, the Gulls also made the Spurs play a second time in 1964-65 after a 3rd round 3-3 draw at Plainmoor.

Despite the long distance between the towns, yet quite a number of players have represented both sides. Among them are two former Stags managers, Keith Curle (last season sacked at Chester) and George Foster. On the other hand, Don O'Riordan was Torquay hot-seat man between 1993 and 1995. And the manager of the first Stags championship side in 1974-75, Dave Smith, was in charge of the Gulls between 1989 and 1991 but left just before the end of the 1990-91 season and therefore wasn't in the hot seat when Torquay secured promotion after penalizing Blackpool at Wembley. Most recently, Adam Murray had a short spell at the Gulls this season and played in the game on September 16, 2006. But Murray has since then left the South Coast, having now joined Macclesfield.

In the 2003-04 season, both sides were challenging the playoffs and auto promo positions. The clashes between the sides were narrow ones. Not for the first time, a clash between the clubs was a midweek fixture. And the one at Plainmoor on October 21, 2003, saw the writer of these lines among the spectators, due to holiday visiting Swedish friends in Plymouth at that time, just like in February 2006, and a few days later travelling up to Stagsland watching a mauling of Cheltenham. The game at Torquay was lost by the only goal of the game, while the game at Field Mill was one of the best that season. First postponed under controversial circumstances shortly before kick-off due to a deteriorating pitch – a decision that caused dismay to fans from both clubs – considering the fact that some Torquay supporters actually had made the long 248 miles trip from Devon to watch the fixture. The game was played a few weeks later – also a midweek tie. Eventually the Stags ran out 2-1 winners, all goals coming early in the first half, thence both sides had good opportunities to score. And the Torquay scorer on March 30, 2004, Martin Gritton, is now a Stags player on loan from Lincoln. Will he now score AGAINST the Gulls?

But the Gulls have only won at Field Mill on four occasions, the first one being in the Stags inaugural league season on September 12, 1931, which also was the Stags first-ever home league defeat to the tune of 2-4 despite two Harry Johnson goals, thus opening his Stags league goals account. Attendance then: 8499. The 1-2 on April 8, 1963 in the Stags first-ever promotion season was attended by 14259! And the Stags have scored in all but three home fixtures against Torquay in league history – all being goal-less draws. And the one with the most goals at Field Mill was also the Stags first home league game this century with the Stags running out 4-3 winners – first win this century – with Boulding (2), Darrell Clarke and Chris Greenacre contributing in front of 2876.

Played for both sides: William Bell, Dave Caldwell, Gary Chapman, Keith Curle, Charlie Davis, Derek Dawkins, O'Neill Donaldson, Dick Edwards, John Fairbrother, Fred Fisher, George Foster, Tommy Le Grice, Martin Gritton, Ian Hathaway, Arjan van Heusden, Joseph Hill, David Hodges, Walter Hunt, Harry Keeling, Pat Kruse, John Matthews, Tom Mitchinson, Adam Murray, Don O'Riordan, Arthur Phoenix, Jason Rees, Darren Rowbotham, John Rowlands, Mark Sale, Arthur Weightman, Keith Welch, Craig Woodman.

Managed both sides: Dave Smith.

Home games: P 31, W 20, D 7, L 4, GF 59, GA 30
Away games: P 32, W 10, D 10, L 12, GF 32, GA 40

Season Home Date Away Date

1931-32 2-4 1931-09-12 2-2 1932-01-23 Div 3 (S)
1937-38 1-1 1937-09-18 1-0 1938-01-29 Div 3 (S)
1938-39 4-0 1939-03-08 0-3 1939-04-15 Div 3 (S)
1946-47 1-0 1947-01-04 2-2 1946-07-09 Div 3 (S)
1962-63 1-2 1963-04-08 3-3 1962-10-06 Div 4 (old)
1966-67 4-2 1966-10-31 2-1 1966-09-03 Div 3 (old)
1967-68 2-0 1967-11-18 2-0 1968-04-13 Div 3 (old)
1968-69 2-1 1968-08-17 1-0 1969-04-30 Div 3 (old)
1969-70 1-0 1970-03-21 2-0 1970-03-04 Div 3 (old)
1970-71 0-0 1971-03-13 0-0 1970-11-14 Div 3 (old)
1971-72 0-0 1971-12-04 1-0 1972-04-22 Div 3 (old)
1972-73 2-1 1973-04-14 1-1 1973-03-21 Div 4 (old)
1973-74 2-1 1973-10-27 0-4 1974-03-10 Div 4 (old)
1974-75 3-0 1975-01-18 2-0 1974-11-30 Div 4 (old)
1980-81 1-1 1980-11-08 1-1 1981-04-12 Div 4 (old)
1981-82 3-1 1982-05-01 0-2 1981-09-30 Div 4 (old)
1982-83 2-1 1982-12-17 1-3 1983-04-23 Div 4 (old)
1983-84 1-3 1983-10-15 0-1 1984-03-24 Div 4 (old)
1984-85 1-0 1984-10-13 0-1 1985-03-19 Div 4 (old)
1985-86 4-0 1985-10-26 2-1 1986-03-22 Div 4 (old)
1993-94 2-1 1994-04-09 0-1 1994-01-01 Div 3
1994-95 2-2 1995-04-29 1-2 1994-10-15 Div 3
1995-96 2-0 1996-04-23 1-1 1995-09-02 Div 3
1996-97 1-2 1996-10-29 2-1 1997-02-18 Div 3
1997-98 2-2 1998-04-11 1-2 1997-12-02 Div 3
1998-99 2-1 1998-10-09 0-0 1999-04-05 Div 3
1999-2000 4-3 2000-01-03 0-4 2000-04-08 Div 3
2000-01 0-0 2001-04-14 2-2 2000-10-24 Div 3
2001-02 2-0 2001-10-23 0-0 2002-03-23 Div 3
2003-04 2-1 2004-03-30 0-1 2003-10-21 Div 3
2005-06 3-0 2005-08-13 2-0 2006-02-25 League Two
2006-07 (at Plainmoor) 0-1 2006-09-16 League Two

Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)

Details on scorers in some games and attendance figures courtesy of the centenary book
Updates on “played for both sides section” courtesy of the history CD


Latest | January 2007