The chance of reaching the playoffs is still there, but is a bit distant. For the Stags to make it, they need to win their final game at Crawley and also need a couple of other results to go their way on the final Saturday of the current campaign.
If the home fixture against Portsmouth had been won, a Stags victory at Crawley had sealed a playoff place. But a key decision last Saturday went wrong at the stand of 0-0, in this case not awarding a penalty and a Portsmouth red card three minutes into the second half at One Call Stadium. About ten minutes later, already-promoted Pompey hit the winner in front of the biggest One Call Stadium crowd since the Stags’ FL return four years ago.
Now, the Stags travel to Crawley, one of the former clubs of current Stags boss Steve Evans.
In fact, his first game as Stags boss was the home fixture against Crawley, who on November 19, 2016, succumbed to a three-goal blitz inside ten minutes of the second half.
But Steve Evans bossed Crawley in all their Conference games against the Stags some time ago.
Among them was the very first game between the sides at Mansfield on January 17, 2009, a game which saw Steve Evans in the Crawley dug-out against a Stags boss who was to manage his first Stags fixture. Boss then: David Holdsworth, who saw a Rob Duffy wonder strike seal the game in the Stags’ favour.
Incidentally enough, Mr Holdsworth’s final Stags league fixture was also against Crawley who were streets ahead of their then BSP rivals and showed why by winning 4-1 at Mansfield on October 30, 2010. Those four goals scored by Crawley then are the only ones they have ever scored at Mansfield until now.
In between, Dave Holdsworth oversaw a 4-0 rout against the outfit managed by Steve Evans on the opening day of the 2009-10 season, August 8, 2009.
But this is not the worst rout Steve Evans endured in the opposition dug-out against the Stags. During the Boston FL days a decade ago, the Boston Pilgrims were routed big style at Field Mill on March 11, 2006, to a 5-0 scoreline which made Mr Evans cut out the Sunday break for his side.
Last season, the Stags inflicted the second 4-0 demolition on Crawley of all time. On September 12, 2015, this was also the Stags’ first home victory last term.
Last term, Crawley were back in League Two after three seasons at League One level, having gone straight through League Two after their runaway BSP victory in the 2010-11 season.
That season also saw a current Stags goalie play against the Stags for Crawley on March 29, 2011, when a depleted Stags side, just three subs, lost to a 2-0 scoreline down South.
Depleted, could one say about Crawley on several occasions last term. In several games, they were able to field just five subs, and lost their last eight League Two fixtures, some of them to heavy scorelines. But Crawley had before their poor finish last term done enough to avoid a further slide, out of League Two as the two relegated sides (Dagenham & Redbridge and York) were the worst ones on points League Two had seen for a decade on the field.
Crawley were to be one of several sides being promoted to the FL from the current National League to go straight through to the current League One (others include Stevenage, Macclesfield, Wycombe) in their debut FL season. In 2011-12, Crawley finished in third position by beating Accrington by the only goal of the game on the final day of that season.
Three seasons in League One followed, best position tenth in 2012-13. That season, ex-Stag Richie Barker was Crawley manager all that term up to November 2013, when he was replaced by John Gregory.
For long time this season, Crawley hovered around mid-table, having beaten sides like Luton, Blackpool and Colchester, but have faltered badly during the recent months, just one victory in their last thirteen games, against already-relegated Leyton Orient. The prize for that slump paid Crawley head coach Dermot Drummy, who just has parted company with the Reds.
Although the Stags before the 2008-09 campaign never did face Crawley in any competition, a couple of players have appeared for both sides. Here they are (details on some are listed below):
Philip Barber, Graham Brown, Daryl Clare, David Coles, John Dempster, Gavin Hurren, Brian Jensen, Ray Keeley, Jefferson Louis, Gary Mills, Jeffrey Monakana, Lewis Price, Jon Shaw, Scott Shearer, Emile Sinclair, Tyrone Thompson, Adi Yussuf.
* Philip 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 Division Four games (all drawn) for the Stags in April 1983 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.
* Jefferson Louis. Much-travelled striker who played for us in the 2007-08 campaign, came from Weymouth, scored our 90th minute winner at Wycombe in February 2008 in front of the previewer, was then Wrexham's top scorer. Has figured in several previews during the last decade and has played for loads of clubs during his career, last season at Wealdstone in National League South, where he scored quite a lot, this season for Oxford City. Played for Crawley in the 4-0 rout on the opening day of the 2009-10 campaign.
* Gary Mills. Came to the Stags from Stevenage, did also play for Forest Green. Played some twenty games for Crawley in 2006-07 sandwiched in between two spells at Rushden & Diamonds.
* Tyrone Thompson. Came to Crawley from Halifax in 2007, played 44 games for the Red Devils in the 2007-08 campaign, later transferred to Torquay before joining the Stags.
More recently, Brian Jensen, Lewis Price and Mitchell Rose have played for both sides. Jeffrey Monakana and Emile Sinclair are yet two other players having appeared for both sides, as did Scott Shearer. Out of the players having appeared for both sides over the years, five are goalies: Graham Brown, David Coles, Brian Jensen, Scott Shearer and Lewis Price.
Managed both sides: Steve Evans.
Elsewhere, who will follow Leyton Orient out of the FL tomorrow? And who will take the final two playoff places?
And on a May 6, being a Saturday, the Stags have played a few FL games. In 1989, the Stags sent the Spireites down to current League Two by winning 3-1 at Field Mill, and in 2000, a seven-game goal drought ended in a 2-2 home draw against Plymouth. And exactly 50 years ago, the Stags had faded out of the automatic promotion race and duly lost at home to Workington by the only goal of the game. This was also to be Workington’s last-ever Third Division victory and their last-ever FL victory at Field Mill. Finally, in 2006, Cheltenham won 5-0 at Mansfield, and a few weeks later followed that one up by beating Grimsby in the playoff final.
Previous league fixtures:
Home: P 5, W 4, D 0, L 1, GF 13, GA 5
Away: P 4, W 2, D 0, L 2, GF 4, GA 4
Season Home Date Away Date
2008-09 1-0 2009-01-17 1-2 2008-09-13 BSP
2009-10 4-0 2009-08-08 2-0 2009-11-14 BSP
2010-11 1-4 2010-10-30 0-2 2011-03-29 BSP
2015-16 4-0 2015-09-12 1-0 2016-01-30 League Two
2016-17 3-1 2016-11-19 (at Mansfield) League Two
Come on Mansfield!