For the first time in fourteen years, the Stags travel to Colchester for a League fixture. But this time, it will be a first as the Stags visit Colchester’s new ground for the very first time, as all previous FL fixtures at current League One or League Two level had been played at Colchester’s old ground, Layer Road, also a scene of FA Cup giant-killing as sides like Huddersfield in 1948-49 and Leeds in 1970-71 can confirm.
The first time the sides met in a League fixtures, were as inaugural members of the old third division way back in 1958-59, a season in which Colchester finished 5th and the Stags 20th. Yet the Stags managed the double over Colchester.
Some of the Stags’ six previous away victories at Colchester, all at Layer Road, were achieved in midweek fixtures. Twice, the Stags emerged as 1-0 winners, in September 1964 with Scanlon as match-winner and on March 16, 1982, when a single Jim Lumby strike sealed three points for the Stags during the very first season of the three-point ruling.
The biggest Stags win so far is a home 4-0 (scorers Humble, Wagstaff, Roy Chapman, Morris pen) on January 15, 1962, in the old fourth division. And none of Colchester’s sixwins at Field Mill has been with a margin of more than two goals. And the highest Colchester win at their old Layer Road home is 3-0, doing so twice, on September 21, 1959 and March 18, 1967, both times in the old third. The following season, over Christmas, did the Stags their latest double over Colchester by 2-1 wins in the space of four days (at home on December 26, 1967 due to goals from Jones and Ledger, four days later a brace from Jones secured the Stags’ first away win), in a run of five consecutive wins lifting the team from a long-occupied bottom position. At the end of that 1967-68 season, Colchester were relegated to the old fourth for the third time in seven seasons after a very poor second half, and the Stags just about stayed up due to the demotion of Peterborough. And the last-ever Stags win at Layer Road was a 3-1 on November 25, 1995 (Stags scorers Boothroyd, Hadley and the Leeds killer Ireland, Colchester scorer Adcock), equalling the result of the first-ever league meeting at Colchester.
The teams last met in league fixtures in 2002-03. On November 1, 2002, the Iyseden Christie show sunk the “U’s” inasmuch as Izzy netted all four goals in the Stags’ 4-2 win. This fixture also was the last Stags one for Scott Sellars, subbed for Mackenzie after only six minutes. At at Colchester, the Stags were, not for the first and not for the last time, very unlucky that season. The proof: Adam Eaton hit the post in the 87th minute, a minute later Scott McGleish (often scoring against the Stags, i.e. doing so for Wycombe in front of the previewer on February 9, 2008), netted the only goal of the game to help Colchester leapfrog the Stags in the relegation zone.
Up to the 2004-05 campaign, the sides had never faced each other in a cup competition, but did so in the FA Cup first round with Colchester going through after a replay at their old Layer Road headquarters.
This season is the first Colchester basement one in eighteen years. The U’s found the going tough early one, but have improved, and, just like the Stags,sit just below the playoff zone despite home defeats last weekend, the Stags very unlucky against Plymouth, Colchester more clear-cut when it comes to the scoreline against Portsmouth.
Since the 1-0 victory at then relegated Doncaster on the final day of the 1997-98 season and winning the playoff final against Torquay, Colchester spent 16 seasons at third level, and even two campaigns at Championship level a decade ago, beating sides like Leeds, Derby, Southampton, Sunderland and West Bromwich at home. In the 2006-07 season, Colchester finished tenth, their best-ever, above sides like Ipswich, Burnley, Norwich, Leicester and Crystal Palace.
One player who has played for both sides is Mark Sale. He starred for Colchester at Doncaster on the final day of the 1997-98 season as well as playing in the playoff final against Torquay a few weeks later.
Last season, Colchester were just one goal away from becoming the first FL side since 2001-02 (then Stockport on 102 against at second level) to have a ton of goals put against them. They ended up on 99 put against them, but had 104 goals against them in their first of now overall sex relegation campaigns from the third level, that being in 1960-61. And on three occasions (1961-62, 1965-66 and 1976-77), have Colchester bounced straight back, the final of those being in the Stags’ 1976-77 Third Division Championship campaign.
Earlier this season, the sides played out a dour goal-less draw at One Call Stadium.
For the record, the clubs’ longest FA Cup runs by the time of the FA Cup games between the sides:
Stags in 1968-69: 1st round Tow Law 4-1 (home, scorers Ledger (2), Keeley, Sharkey); 2nd round Rotherham 2-2 (away, scorers Keeley, Sharkey), 2nd round replay Rotherham 1-0 (home, scorer: Ledger), 3rd round Sheffield United 2-1 (home, scorer Roberts D (2)), 4th round Southend 2-1 (home, scorers Sharkey, Roberts D), 5th round West Ham 3-0 (home, scorers Keeley, Roberts D, Sharkey), QF Leicester 0-1 (home).
Colchester in 1970-71: 1st round Ringmer 3-0 (home, scorer Crawford 3), 2nd round Cambridge U 3-0 home (scorers Jones, Garvey, Gilchrist), 3rd round Barnet 1-0 (away, scorer Mahon), 4th round Rochdale (3-3 away, scorers Crawford 2, Lewis), 4th round replay Rochdale 5-0 (home, scorers Lewis, Simmons, Parry og, Crawford, Mahon), 5th round Leeds 3-2 (home on February 13, 1971, scorer Crawford 2, Simmons, attendance 16000), QF Everton 0-5 (away). Colchester also reached the Quarterfinals during the 2005-06 season.
Played for both sides: Lee Beevers, Barry Conlon, Brian Hall, Ray Harford, Ian Hathaway, Stuart Hicks, William Jeffries, Jake Kean, Dennis Longhorn, Ian McDonald, Jeffrey Monakana, Trevor Morgan, Noel Parkinson, Ian Phillips, Bobby Roberts (also managed Colchester), Mark Sale, Pat Sharkey.
Home stats: P 24, W 7, D 11, L 6, GF 31, GA 26
Away stats: P 23, W 6, D 5, L 12, GF 18, GA 28
Season Home Date Away Date
1958-59 3-2 1959-02-02 3-1 1959-04-04 Div 3 (old)
1959-60 1-3 1959-09-28 0-3 1959-09-21 Div 3 (old)
1961-62 4-0 1962-01-15 0-2 1962-03-23 Div 4 (old)
1963-64 1-1 1963-10-26 1-1 1964-03-07 Div 3 (old)
1964-65 0-1 1964-09-07 1-0 1964-09-14 Div 3 (old)
1966-67 2-0 1966-10-22 0-3 1967-03-18 Div 3 (old)
1967-68 2-1 1967-12-26 2-1 1967-12-30 Div 3 (old)
1972-73 1-1 1973-03-24 1-1 1972-10-28 Div 4 (old)
1973-74 2-2 1973-11-10 0-1 1974-03-22 Div 4 (old)
1975-76 0-0 1976-04-24 2-0 1975-08-23 Div 3 (old)
1978-79 1-1 1978-10-28 0-1 1979-03-09 Div 3 (old)
1979-80 0-1 1979-10-01 1-2 1979-09-18 Div 3 (old)
1981-82 1-3 1981-11-02 1-0 1982-03-16 Div 4 (old)
1982-83 1-1 1983-03-19 0-2 1982-11-05 Div 4 (old)
1983-84 0-0 1983-11-12 0-1 1984-03-10 Div 4 (old)
1984-85 0-1 1984-09-19 1-2 1985-02-26 Div 4 (old)
1985-86 2-1 1985-12-10 0-0 1986-03-14 Div 4 (old)
1993-94 1-1 1994-04-02 0-0 1993-12-27 Div 3
1994-95 2-0 1994-08-20 1-1 1994-12-10 Div 3
1995-96 1-2 1996-04-27 3-1 1995-11-25 Div 3
1996-97 1-1 1996-12-14 1-2 1997-03-14 Div 3
1997-98 1-1 1997-10-04 0-2 1998-02-13 Div 3
2002-03 4-2 2002-11-01 0-1 2003-02-14 Div 2
2016-17 0-0 2016-12-10 (at Mansfield) League Two
2004-05 1-1 2004-11-13 FA Cup 1st round at Field Mill
2004-05 1-4 2004-11-22 FA Cup 1st round replay at Layer Road, Colchester
Time to bounce back after the unlucky defeat against Plymouth. Come on Mansfield!