After drawing 2-2 at Crewe on the opening day of this season, the Stags now play their first League Two home fixture. And the opponent this time around is one well-known from the dark Stags days some years ago as Forest Green were one of the five opponents the Stags played each and every season outside the FL. The others were Barrow, Cambridge, Kidderminster and Wrexham.
And in each and every home game during this stage against Forest Green, the Stags ran out as winners. The most recent one of those was a very late crucial one. An 89th minute Matt Rhead header in front of just 60 FGR fans sealed the tie in the Stags’ favour. And that was in fact the highest FGR turnout at Mansfield during these years, a turnout that should be bettered this time around as this will be the first-ever Forest Green away FL fixture in their history.
As Forest Green won the promotion playoff final against Tranmere Rovers last term, they no longer were the
longest-serving National League side. They made their debut way back in 1998-99, then playing against i.e. Doncaster and Hereford, and were reprieved from relegation on two occasions, 2004-05 when Northwich took voluntary relegation and again in 2009-10, when Salisbury were thrown out for the first time at the end of that season.
Forest Green also played out a 2-2 draw on the opening day. They let a 2-0 lead slip against Barnet on their FL debut. But previously, two other FL debutants have taken their first-ever FL victory at Mansfield in the Stags’ first home game. Barnet did so in 1991 and Cheltenham eight years later.
There has been some player traffic between the two clubs in recent seasons. Since the end of the 2009-10 campaign, Forest Green had Craig Armstrong as player coach as well as Luke Jones, who scored TWICE against Forest Green in a man-of-the-match-performance when the Stags overturned a half-time 1-0 deficit into a convincing 4-1 victory at The New Lawn on January 30, 2010.
In the 2008-09 season, the Stags faced Forest Green for the first time ever. Below a rundown of those fixtures:
In the away fixture on November 22, 2008, the Stags were unlucky to lose by the only goal of the game, while the home one on March 14, 2009, was to be a record-breaker as the 3-0 home victory then was to the Stags' sixth consecutive home fixture without conceding a single goal. The stats, then included on the Stagsnet latest news page, showed these figures:
* 1-0 against Crawley on January 17, 2009
* 0-0 against Rushden & Diamonds on January 28, 2009
* 1-0 against York on February 7, 2009
* 0-0 against Kettering on February 17, 2009
* 1-0 against Lewes on March 7, 2009
* 3-0 against Forest Green on March 14, 2009
In total, it was to be 656 minutes, between the 37th minute in the home game against Burton on December 29, 2008, and the 63rd minute of the home game against Torquay on March 28, 2009, when Blair Sturrock (later to play for the Stags) equalized for the Gulls in the 1-1 draw at Field Mill. This was also in the spell of fifteen Field Mill games without defeat at Field Mill under David Holdsworth, ended by very controversial officiating by the most hated official ever in Mansfield (name not included here, print no more) against Stevenage a few weeks before the BSP 2009-10 home fixture against Forest Green.
Seven years ago almost to the day, the Stags faced Forest Green at home on the opening day, August 14, 2010, won 3-1, while the away fixture three months later, on November 13, 2010, was lost 1-2 after a poor showing which signalled the end of David Holdsworth's reign as Stags boss as he terminated his contract a few days after the FGR defeat.
More details on previous Stags v FGR fixtures are found in the Match Centre.
Here are some facts about Forest Green:
Two successive promotions in the late nineties enabled FGR to play in the Conference from 1998-99 onwards.
First in 1996-97, winning the Southern League Southern Division title - and in the following campaign, the championship of the Southern League Premier Division. And Forest Green's first-ever Conf game ended in a 2-0 defeat at home to Rushden & Diamonds on August 15, 1998. But Forest Green's first ever Conf three-pointer was gained on September 5, 1998 at - of all places - Doncaster! This was in Doncaster's darkest hours following their relegation from the Football League in 1997-98.
Most of Forest Green's campaigns have been those of avoiding relegation. But in the 2007-08 season, they finished a then best-ever eight, and started the 2008-09 campaign very well - and after six games, Forest Green were inside the playoffs position. But a number of injuries contributed to FGR plummeting down the table into the relegation zone after playing twelve BSP games without winning before the home game against the Stags. But Jim Harvey, formerly long.time boss at Morecambe, did steer his side into the third round of the FA Cup for the first time ever. Well there, Forest Green were rewarded with a plum home tie against the 2007-08 season's PL whipping-boys Derby County (yet all the Rams' last seven PL games were sell-outs!!!) and made a very good account for the BSP by only going down by the odd goal in seven. In that game, Derby were really on the brink of crashing out in front of a very good crowd, 4836. Beat that, some League Two sides! In the end, Forest Green stayed up due to a large number of away draws, ten in all.
Yet a few players have appeared for the Stroud side as well as for the Stags. Best known are Ryan Williams and Jefferson Louis. Both players also starred for Weymouth and came from the Terras to the Stags, Williams was last season in his second Stags spell before leaving for Gainsborough, while Jefferson Louis three campaigns ago while at Wrexham hit his best-ever scoring run for any club he has played for, he has now played for more than a dozen clubs having appeared in the BSP during this decade. Louis and Williams played for Forest Green in the 2004-05, but not together. Another one, found while doing the preview of last season's home fixture, but not found in November 2008, was the late Matt Gadsby, whose last BSP station was Forest Green, also in 2004-05. Gadsby played 66 games in two seasons for the Stroud side, and together with Louis and Williams. Luke Graham, who as a Luton player who caused the penalty which on the rebound sent the Stags to Wembley in 2011, was last season in his second spell at Forest Green. And the first-ever player to play for both sides in the FL is Lee Collins, who played the full 90 minutes of Forest Green’s first-ever FL game on an opening day which saw a staggering amount of 50 goals scored, including Yeovil’s highest-ever FL defeat, 8-2 at Luton, while last season’s National League winners, Lincoln, managed a 2-2 draw at Wycombe.
All the players who have been traced playing for both sides are listed below. Here they are:
James Alabi, Tomi Ameobi, Craig Armstrong, Michael Brough, Jon Challinor, Lee Collins, Ross Dyer, Matt Gadsby, Luke Graham, Guy Ipoua, James Jennings, Luke Jones, Marcus Kelly, Paul McLoughlin, Gary Mills, Jefferson Louis, Aaron O’Connor, Mark Preece, Richard Smith, Matt Somner, Thomas Stanton, Paul Stonehouse, Alex Sykes, Sam Wedgbury, Ryan Williams.
Home: P 5, W 5, D 0, L 0, GF 9, GA 1
Away: P 5. W 2, D 1, L 2, GF 8, GA 6
2008-09 3-0 2009-03-14 0-1 2008-11-22 BSP
2009-10 1-0 2009-10-03 4-1 2010-01-30 BSP
2010-11 3-1 2010-08-14 1-2 2010-11-13 BSP
2011-12 1-0 2012-01-07 1-1 2011-10-01 BSP
2012-13 1-0 2012-10-13 2-1 2013-03-15 BSP
2009-10 1-1 2009-11-07 1st round at The New Lawn
2009-10 1-2 2009-11-17 1st round replay at Field Mill
Come on Mansfield!
Stockholm, July 4, 2008, 15.00 GMT. Good news came, K.H. gone. March 1, 2012. Ground purchased.