STAGSNET`S STATISTICAL PREVIEW
On the same day as the Stags' biggest-ever FA Cup victory, 8-0 at Scarborough after three goals from Fox, two apiece from Marron and Adam, one from Vaughan Watson in front of 6536 on November 22, 1952, our next FA Cup opponents, Conf league leaders Grays Athletic, entered the FA Cup 1st round for the first time ever. Then, their oppontents were Welsh side Llanelli (now in Welsh Premier League), who in Essex went through to a 5-0 scoreline. And in the second round then, the welshmen narrowly lost 2-3 at Colchester. Grays Athletic then had to wait 36 years for their next FA Cup 1st round appearence. A side which were kayoed by the Stags to a 4-0 scoreline at Field Mill the previous season, Bath City, were on November 19, 1988, hosts to Grays – and once again, Grays did not get any further, as Bath City won 2-0. The next Grays, then in the Ryman Premier League, FA Cup 1st round stint was also the first against League opposition, and this happened on November 18, 2000 at Reading, where the current Championship leaders won 4-0. For the record (courtesy of http://www.soccerbase.com), the line-ups were:
Reading: Whitehead, Newman, Gray, Viveash, Mackie, Parkinson, Jones, Hodges (McIntyre, 61), Igoe (Gamble, 68), Butler, Cureton.
Grays: Desborough, Risley, Taylor, Mosely, O'Sullivan (Blaney, 68), Dickinson, Hazel (Snowsill, 76), Feddis, Wright, Wallace (Nestling, 78), Hayzelden.
In the following season, the Grays reached the first round proper again, and were drawn against Hinckley United, who themselves last season disposed of Torquay, then made Brentford play twice before the Bees went through. On November 17, 2001, Hinckley won at Grays to a 2-1 scoreline, Grays goal Lock, Hinckley goals Hunter and Lenton.
In the 2003-04 season, Grays once again reached the first round, and were then drawn against one of their current Conf rivals, Aldershot, at home. And Grays failed to go through again, as the Shots overturned a 1-0 deficit (goal Griffiths) into a 2-1 victory thanks to two strikes within five minutes from D'Sane, the first one from the penalty spot on November 8, 2003. That same day saw also the latest Stags FA Cup pairing against non-league opposition, as Bishop's Stortford (who in 1982-83 reached the third round and got a replay against Middlesbrough) came to Field Mill and were beaten 6-0.
And when Grays Athletic beat York 3-0 away, scorers Bishop og, Slabber and Poole in the first round a few weeks ago, it was their first-ever FA Cup first round victory. But the Conf leaders last season won the FA Trophy by beating Conference North side Hucknall on penalties.
Grays Athletic, promoted to the Conf, won their latest league game 1-0 at Stevenage, while the Stags beat Stockport 2-1 at home. But this will be of no significance on Friday! Anyway, Grays have now gone further in the FA Cup than they've ever done in this competion before. A competition, in which the Stags reached the quarter-finals way back in 1968-69. One of the victims then were West Ham on February 26, 1969, when Keeley, Roberts and Sharkey hit the net in front of 21,117 at Field Mill.
In this season's FA Cup 1st round, the Stags beat Rotherham away 4-3 in an epic encounter, which saw Richie Barker, formerly of Rotherham, hit the winner in injury time. No wonder that the Stags fans went wild after that strike!
Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)
Latest | November 2005