STAGSNET`S STATISTICAL PREVIEW
Most of the printing surrounding the BSP in recent weeks has been about events off the field, rather than those on the pitch. One case has been about being locked out of their own ground (BSP stalwarts Northwich), two others of points deductions due to players not (?) registered. One of the players cases have hit Saturday's Field Mill opponents, Crawley. They have, just like the Stags did disgracefully a few months ago, been dock four points by the BSP officials. The other club hit by BSP sanctions are Oxford United. These incidents (mainly the player ones) clearly show how badly run the BSP is.
When the Stags travelled to Crawley in September, they were on top of the BSP table, with Crawley just behind, now guided by former Boston manager Steve Evans. But Steve Evans is no stranger to points deductions, having experienced that fate at Boston earlier this century.
On the road, Crawley have won four, drawn four and lost four so far but have due to their four-point penalty dropped out of the playoff zone.
Crawley Town Football Club, founded in 1896, entered Southern League in the early 1960's and played for some twenty years in the Premier Division up to 2003-04. During these years, Crawley reached the FA Cup third round in the 1991-92 season, eventually losing 5-0 at near-neighbours Brighton in front of over 18000 at the Seagull's old Goldstone Ground. On their way to the third round, then lower-midtable Crawley dumped Northampton out at home to a 4-2 score-line at the Red Devils' old ground, Town Mead, in the first round, and in the following round, Hayes were kayoed away by the only goal of the game. Bottom of Crawley's League then were Gravesend & Northfleet, now Ebbsfleet.
Crawley are now in their fifth season playing in the non-league upper house. In the first season, 2004-05, the Red Devils finished in 12th position. The headlines of their following three seasons were more those of off-the-field problems, which in all of these ended in points deductions. Three points docked in 2005-06, the compulsory ten for entering administration in 2006-07, and last season minus six points, still finishing mid-table. This is now the fourth season running Crawley have lost points off the field, easily an unwanted BSP record.
John Hollins, brother of FA Cup hero Dave, was Crawley boss for a while during their off-field-problems period.
Although the Stags before this season never have faced Crawley in any competition, a few players have appeared for both sides. Here they are:
* Phlip Barber. A loanee from Bristol City, who figured in Crystal Palace's FA Cup finals team of 1989-90. Phil scored once for the Stags, in a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe on December 9, 1995. He finished his career at Crawley around 1997.
* Graham Brown. Came to us from Crawley in the season after our FA Cup QF run, and despite competition from Dave Hollins and Rod Arnold yet kept the Stags goal 143 times in the League, the first a 1-0 home win against Gillingham on August 9, 1969, the last in a 1-4 defeat at Crystal Palace on November 29, 1975. Brown also kept Blackpool at bay in the FA Cup fourth round on January 24, 1970, and was also the custodian in the fifth round tie at Leeds' Elland Road a fortnight later.
* David Coles. Another goalie that played just three games (all drawn) for the Stags in April 1993 before going south to Aldershot but did not keep goal there in the season in which the Shots folded (1991-92, details checked). Had a short spell at Crawley before joining Yeovil.
* Ray Keeley. Came to us from Crawley in June 1968 and made his Stags league debut at Brighton in a 2-1 victory on August 10, 1968, then the Stags first-ever points haul at the Seagulls' nest. Keeley's first Stags league goals came when he scored both in a 2-3 defeat at Southport on October 7, 1968, and became a legend when scoring the second goal in the famous FA Cup fifth round demolition of West Ham on February 26, 1969. But before that, Keeley had scored two FA Cup goals, one in the 4-1 home win over Tow Law, one in a 2-2 draw at Rotherham on December 7, 1968. Keeley's final Stags league goal came in a 2-1 win at Halifax on October 25, 1969, and his final Stags league appearance came in the 1-0 victory at Bradford City on April 22, 1970 in the Stags' final league game that campaign.
The game at Crawley on September 13, 2008, lost 1-2 during Billy McEwan's reign as Stags boss, is the only previous league game between the sides. Very interesting to see which team David Holdsworth now picks.
David Holdsworth's first Stags game is eagerly awaited, as well as the more than deserved applause for one of his predecessors in the Stags hot seat, Ian Greaves. Come on Mansfield!!!!!!!!!
Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)
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