After the convincing 4-1 home victory against Grimsby Town last Saturday, the Stags are at home again. This time around, it is against a much tougher opponent on paper. The tale is of Wycombe Wanderers, a side the Stags have not beaten at home since their return to the FL four years ago, but twice away, among them on August 17, 2013, when Ollie Palmer headed home the Stags’ first League Two goal for five years. But the Stags’ latest home win against the Chairboys dates back a decade ago. On February 24, 2007, the Stags ran out 3-2 winners at home.
A Wycombe player who starred then is still around. The name: Matt Bloomfield, who since the 2003-04 season has played nearly 400 league games for the Chairboys, and has played every game so far this term, albeit two as sub. An incredible feat, to print the least. And on August 21, 2012, he was in the same Wycombe line-up as the Stags’ penalty converter against Grimsby last Saturday, Lee Angol, who came on as sub with six minutes left of a 0-1 home defeat against Gillingham. But by then, Bloomfield had been subbed.
Bloomfield also played when the previewer watched a 90th minute strike by much-travelled Jefferson Louis at Adams Park securing a 2-1 victory for the Stags on February 9, 2008.
Unlike many other sides, Wycombe have had the same man in the hot seat for a couple of seasons. Their current manager, Gareth Ainsworth, has bossed the Chairboys since late 2012 and has overseen a last-game League Two survival in 2014 by the help of the Stags and a near-miss on promotion the following season.
Last season saw Wycombe narrowly miss out on the playoffs and look likely to be in the mix again this term. Their first five games this term saw goals flying in left, right and centre at both ends, 24 in all, before a goal-less draw at Newport last weekend.
The sides also met in the FA Cup during the 2003-04 season.
After drawing 1-1 at Wycombe in front of the TV cameras, the Stags kayoed the Chairboys in the replay at home thanks to a 90th minute Liam Lawrence penalty. That game might have been billed: Liam Lawrence 3, Wycombe Wanderers 2, as Liam first had sent the Stags 1-0 up, then in the second half equalized to 2-2 thanks to another pen. This was an FA Cup 2nd round thriller, to say the least.
Before the 2000-01 season, when Wycombe reached the semi-finals narrowly losing 1-2 to Liverpool at Villa Park (after beating Harrow Borough, Millwall, Grimsby, Wolves, Wimbledon and Leicester) the Chairboys reached the 3rd round in 1993-94, 1994-95 and as a non-league side in 1974-75, then holding Division One Middlesbrough to a 0-0 draw at home before going out 0-1in the replay at Ayresome Park. And as early as 1932-33, Wycombe reached the FA Cup 1st round for the first time. Then they held Gillingham to a 1-1 away draw before going out 2-4 at home. And in 1959-60, Wycombe won their first FA Cup 1st round game by disposing of Wisbech 4-2 (the side that succumbed 10-1 at Brighton in the FA Cup in 1965-66, noted in the Brighton FA Cup preview one month before our trip to Wycombe in February 2008) before crashing out 1-5 at Watford in the 2nd round. In 1973-74, Wycombe accounted for their first league victim as a non-league side by beating Newport County 3-1 at home before going out against another well-known giant-killer, Peterborough 1-3 at home.
An interesting fact as well is that both Wycombe and Mansfield faced Leicester in the quarter-finals of both clubs’ longest-ever FA cup runs. While Wycombe won 2-1 at Filbert Street on March 10, 2001, the Stags lost 0-1 at home on March 8, 1969. Both clubs have also met West Ham at home. While the Mighty Stags stuffed the Hammers 3-0 on February 26, 1969, the Chairboys lost 0-2 at home in the 3rd round on January 7, 1995.
For the record, the longest FA Cup runs of both 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).
Chairboys in 2000-01: 1st round Harrow Borough 3-0 (home, scorers Bates 2, Simpson), 2nd round Millwall 0-0 (away), 2nd round replay Millwall (2-1 home, scorers Rammell, McCarthy), 3rd round Grimsby 1-1 (home, scorer McCarthy), 3rd round replay Grimsby 3-1 (away, scorers McCarthy, Simpson, Rogers), 4th round Wolverhampton 2-1 (home, scorers Rammell, Parkin), 5th round Wimbledon 2-2 (home, scorers Simpson, Brown), 5th round replay Wimbledon 1-1, 8-7 on penalties (away, scorer Carroll in normal time), QF Leicester 2-1 (away, scorers McCarthy, Essendoh), SF Liverpool 1-2 (at Villa Park, scorer Ryan).
Both sides disposed of non-league opposition as well as Division 2 (old) and Division 1 (old) and current Championship as well as, in Wycombe’s case, current Premier League sides (Leicester) during the record-breaking cup runs in 1968-69 and 2000-01 as the stats above show.
Since the 2007-08 season, the Chairboys have had two one-season stints in League One, in 2009-10 and 2011-12 respectively. In the 2009-10 campaign, Wycombe faced sides like Leeds, Norwich and Southampton while both Sheffield clubs were among Wycombe's opponents two seasons later.
A good test is on the cards. Come on Mansfield!
Played for both sides: Lee Angol, Adam Birchall, Matthew Carmichael, Gerald Darvill, Richard Harris, Kieran Murtagh, Iffy Onoura, Barry Richardson, Scott Shearer, Gary Silk, Mark Stallard, Gustav Uhlenbeek, Danny Wallace, Craig Woodman.
Home: P 10, W 2, D 4, L 4, GF 12, GA 18
Away: P 10, W 3, D 3, L 4, GF 11, GA 12
Season Home Date Away Date
1993-94 3-0 1994-02-12 0-1 1994-01-25 Div 3
2002-03 0-0 2003-01-11 3-3 2002-08-17 Div 2
2004-05 1-4 2005-02-22 1-1 2004-10-23 League Two
2005-06 2-3 2005-09-24 2-2 2006-02-11 League Two
2006-07 3-2 2007-02-24 0-1 2006-09-01 League Two
2007-08 0-4 2008-01-08 2-1 2008-02-09 League Two
2013-14 2-2 2014-01-25 1-0 2013-08-17 League Two
2014-15 0-0 2015-01-24 1-2 2014-09-13 League Two
2015-16 0-2 2015-10-31 0-1 2016-03-25 League Two
2016-17 1-1 2016-10-15 1-0 2017-04-14 League Two
2003-04 1-1 2003-12-05 2nd round at Adams Park, Wycombe
2003-04 3-2 2003-12-16 2nd round replay at Field Mill
2016-17 1-2 2017-01-24 Checkatrade Trophy Quarter-finals at Mansfield