After the very disappointing home defeat to Swindon last Saturday, the Stags now travel south to Barnet, who last weekend lost 2-1 away to Notts County
Yet, Barnet have during their last 25 years created FL history as the Bees was the first club which have managed a League Two return twice.
This happened two seasons ago. And the second club to return twice was Lincoln last term.
The first occasion was in 1991, followed by a decade in the FL and the Bees’ so far only season at current League One level in 1993-94. The second title came a decade ago, ending a four-season stint outside the FL, and last Barnet returned again after two seasons at current National League level.
All other sides which have been relegated twice before York last season (Halifax, Chester, Darlington, Hereford, Torquay) have not returned after a second relegation and some of the mentioned sides have endured severe problems off the field, four of those having had to reform (Halifax, Chester, Darlington and Hereford).
The latest one, York City, became the first side to drop from League Two to National League North in successive seasons.
And two weeks after the Stags’ return to League Two in 2013, Barnet were relegated from the FL for the second time, and that was on a record number of 51 points, a tally which two seasons ago was ten points better than the one of Cheltenham in the same position which Barnet had three years ago, in the same relegation position, and seventeen (!) points better than Dagenham & Redbridge and York, the two sides which had to leave the FL at the end of the 2015-16 campaign.
Barnet's first-ever league victory was achieved at Field Mill after their first promotion, gained way back in 1990-91, after losing the very first league game to the rare scoreline of 4-7 at home to Crewe Alexandra. But the Bees’ second league game and the first-ever away one was a pairing with the Stags, who just had been relegated to the then Division 4 in its last season after spending five campaigns at the third level. And Barnet notched their first-ever league win to a 2-1 scoreline after goals by Bull and Carter, their two top-scorers in the 1991-92 season, while Charles converted a penalty for the Stags in front of 2669. But after that fixture, the Stags were unbeaten in 12 games while Barnet figured in promotion and playoff spots all season. Already then, the Barnet games were high-scoring ones, ending the season with 81 for, 61 against minus two expunged games against Aldershot. (The Stags also had two expunged fixtures against the Shots as well).
The league game at Barnet in their first relegation season from the League saw loads of goals as the sides shared six of them in front of 1732 at Underhill on August 19, 2000, no wonder of that as most Stags visits to Underhill were drawn. Stags scorers then were Blake, Clarke and Greenacre while the Barnet hit-men were Arber, Stockley and McGleish, the latter later at Northampton and at Wycombe, more often than not scoring against the Stags, i.e. one at Wycombe in front of the previewer way back on February 9, 2008. Barnet, who midway that 2000-01 season stuffed Blackpool 7-0 at home, eventually were relegated after losing their last home game 2-3 against Torquay, also lost their last fifteen (!) away games that season, yet scored 67 times, only a few less than champions Brighton.
The biggest Stags win so far is a 5-0 achieved on a Friday, November 20, 1998, being the first game played with a yellow ball. The Stags scorers then in front of 2965 were Peacock (3), Ford and Christie, and the 3-0 on December 31, 1994, scorers Donaldson 2, Ireland attended by 2891 was the last of a four-match winning streak in which the Stags netted on nineteen occasions.
Two seasons ago, the Stags visited Barnet’s new ground The Hive for the very first time, and returned home victorious to a 3-1 scoreline. All previous away games at Barnet were played at Underhill, where the Stags drew on no fewer than seven occasions over the years spread over Barnet’s first two FL stints. Underhill was also the venue of Peter Shirtliff’s final game as Stags boss, a 2-1 defeat just before Christmas 2006.
Just like every other side promoted to the FL since the introduction of promotion and relegation between the basement and current National League 30 years ago, Barnet have managed to secure their FL status and did what was to be expected, finishing in lower mid-table.
Quite a few players have appeared for both sides. One of those, Krystian Pearce, played for the Bees in their latest relegation season, while Gary Silk, playing in 114 Stags BSP fixtures (both against Chester in 2009-10 included), made his debut for Barnet in a 2-0 home defeat against Farnborough on December 20, 2003. Another one, Alan Birchall, played against the Stags at Mansfield in April 2008. Birchall’s latest club was Maidstone. Calum Butcher made his FL debut for Barnet in a League Two home fixture against Bournemouth in December 2009, while Shaquile Coulthirst played for the Stags last season and converted a penalty to seal the final score to a 2-0 Stags victory at the Hive. Coulthirst is now playing for Barnet and has scored six times so far.
Played for both sides: Keith Alexander, Adam Birchall, Gary Brazil, Calum Butcher, Jamie Campbell, Shaquile Coulthirst, Craig Dobson, John Doolan, John Fairbrother, Jonathan Fortune, Exodus Geohaghon, Warren Hackett, Lee Howarth, Pat Kruse, Luke Medley, Krystian Pearce, Gary Silk, Alan Walker, Steve Whitworth.
Home: P 13, W 6, D 3, L 4, GF 25, GA 12
Away: P 13, W 3, D 7, L 3, GF 14, GA 13
Season Home Date Away Date
1991-92 1-2 1991-08-24 0-2 1991-12-21 Division 4 (old)
1994-95 3-0 1994-12-31 2-2 1995-04-08 Division 3
1995-96 2-1 1996-03-02 0-0 1995-12-26 Division 3
1996-97 0-0 1996-09-10 1-1 1996-12-26 Division 3
1997-98 1-2 1997-10-25 1-0 1998-04-25 Division 3
1998-99 5-0 1998-11-20 0-0 1999-04-17 Division 3
1999-00 0-1 2000-04-01 0-0 1999-12-18 Division 3
2000-01 4-1 2001-02-27 3-3 2000-08-19 Division 3
2005-06 4-0 2005-10-22 0-1 2006-04-17 League Two
2006-07 2-1 2007-04-28 1-2 2006-12-16 League Two
2007-08 2-2 2008-04-05 1-1 2007-10-13 League Two
2015-16 1-1 2016-04-23 3-1 2015-11-28 League Two
2016-17 0-1 2016-09-10 2-0 2017-02-04 League Two
Come on Mansfield!