STAGSNET STATISTICAL PREVIEW
If the previous results in the Stags' BSP fixtures as well as those of Eastbourne are something to go by, there should be a goal feast on Saturday at Eastbourne.
The proof: Both sides have been involved in good wins as well as heavy defeats and high-scoring games. By the time of Eastbourne's visit to Field Mill last September, both sides came afresh from 5-0 home wins. While the Stags "murdered", to print the least, or thrashed York City 5-0 on Tuesday night, a reverse which led to York boss Martin Foyle throwing in the towel, Eastbourne thrashed bottom club Altrincham 5-0. But that wasn't Eastbourne's first five-goal win this term. In the second round, Hayes & Yeading returned from Priory Lane with a 5-0 rout between their tails. In their first ten BSP games, the Eastbourne fans saw 45 goals at both ends, while the Stags have yet to play a goal-less BSP game this season. And the Stags haven't played a goal-less fixture on the road since April 12, 2008, when a League Two game at Macclesfield saw no goals.
Since then, the Stags have played 60 away games with at least one goal for either side, the expunged Chester game on August 29, 2009, included. This is close to be a Stags record. The longest Stags consecutive away spell with goals for either side is believed to stretch from April 10, 1971 (0-1 defeat at Barnsley in the old third division) to March 22, 1974, a 0-1 defeat at Colchester in the old fourth. That was a spell of 68 games, almost three full seasons. On March 27, 1971, the Stags picked up a rare point at Plymouth when playing 0-0, while on March 26, 1974, the game at Doncaster ended up in a 0-0 stalemate.
Other long consecutive goal-laden Stags away sequences include 52 from election to the FL in 1931 (August 31, 1931, first-ever FL away point 1-1 at Norwich to December 16, 1933, a 1-5 defeat at New Brighton, first 0-0 away was at Walsall on Boxing Day, 1933). From January 24, 1959, a 3-3 draw at Bournemouth to April 25, 1961, a 3-2 win at Doncaster, the Stags recorded 55 straight away games with goals. On January 17, 1959, a game at The Shay in Halifax produced no goals, while our game at Gillingham, the final one of the 1960-61 campaign on May 3, 1961, saw no goals either, but that Division Four fixture gained the point the Stags needed to avoid re-election.
The Stags' home game against Eastbourne on September 25, 2010, saw a 4-0 win, the game decided by a debatable penalty just before half-time, and that result made the Stags go top of the BSP overnight.
Last season, the Stags played Eastbourne twice within a month. At Eastbourne, early goals set up the Stags on the winning trail thanks to a 2-1 scoreline on October 17, 2009, while the Field Mill clash on November 21 ended 1-1 after a below-par Stags display.
The sides first clashed in the 2008-09.
When Matt Somner scored two minutes from time in the 3-1 home victory on September 6, 2008, the Stags went top of the BSP - and furthermore achieved their fifth successive home win, a feat last achieved in the 2001-02 season, and that twice. In the September preview, the following was written: In case of a fifth straight home win, it would the best home sequence since the 2001-02 promotion season, when we twice won five home games on the trot (first spell from August 27, 2001 with a 4-0 rout of Macclesfield, to October 5, 2001, with a 3-2 home three-pointer against Leyton Orient, second spell from February 2, 2002, 3-1 against Rochdale, to March 9, 2002, with a 2-1 victory against Oxford). But in 1973-74, the Stags started with seven consecutive Division Four home victories (and won the last two home games in 1972-73 as well), yet failed to win away in 1973.
By the time of the first-ever away game against Eastbourne, Dave Holdsworth had taken over as Stags boss after Billy McEwan - and had started well. Meanwhile, Eastbourne had then won seven out of nine BSP games, which eventually led them to a lower mid-table finish, much better than most people had expected. In the away game on January 31, 2009, Eastbourne took an early lead. But the Stags showed character and turned the game around into a 2-1 victory, which cemented the good start of Mr Holdsworth's reign. But the home win against Eastbourne in September 2010 was to be Mr Holdsworth's last BSP victory as Stags boss. More on earlier Boro games in the match centre. The Stags have yet to lose to Eastbourne and have gained maximum points at the Sussex coastline so far.
Below are some details on the Stags' opponents on Saturday:
Eastbourne Borough were founded in 1964 as Langney Football Club. Prior to our 1968-69 FA Cup QF season, Langney FC made a name-change to Langney Sports Club. In 1983, the club were elected to the Sussex County League, and moved to their new - and current - headquarters at Priory Lane. In 1986-87, the club reached senior status by being promoted to the Sussex County League division 2, and in the following season, further promotion was achieved.
In the late 1990's, the club were on a few occasions very close to reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup. In 1999-2000, even Havant & Waterlooville (the side that played Liverpool at Anfield in January 2008, see more below due to a certain player) were dumped out, but once again, entering the first round did not materialize. But Langney won the Sussex County League first division and were promoted to the Southern League Eastern Division, then called Dr Martens League.
In 2000-01, Langney Sports Club changed their name to the current one, Eastbourne Borough FC. Two seasons later, the club were promoted to Dr Martens Premier Division, and in 2004-05, Eastbourne became founder members of the then newly formed Conference South. Well there, Sports excelled themselves and reached the only ever Conf South v Conf North final, only to be beaten by Altrincham, the club that for three seasons running before the 2008-09 season survived in the non-league upper house due to various problems of other sides. The 2005-06 campaign was an inconsistent one in Conf South, yet Eastbourne reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the very first time. Little did the then 3700 record crowd at home know then, that Eastbourne a few seasons later were to face Oxford United in the BSP! After a creditable 1-1 draw, Eastbourne lost the replay 3-0.
In the 2007-08 season, Eastbourne were neck-to-neck to our FA Cup first round opponents that campaign, Lewes, in the Blue Square South. The lead changed several times until Eastbourne eventually finished runners-up. In the playoffs finals, Eastbourne secured promotion the hard way thanks to two late goals against Hampton & Richmond. Eastbourne also reached the FA Cup first round proper for the second time, only to be soundly beaten at Weymouth.
Eastbourne's second BSP season saw mainly low-scoring games. Borough had to wait until the last few minutes of that season to learn their fate. A late penalty against Oxford ensured Eastbourne survival. Only a few days before that game, the Eastbourne board showed loyalty and patience in extending long-serving manager Garry Wilson (boss since February 1999!), his contract no matter where Borough were to be playing this term. Such things should many boards learn from. Stability off the field is the key-word for that.
Eastbourne are now in their third BSP campaign but have after a reasonable start faded badly and are now without a three-pointer since October 2, 2010, when York were beaten 2-1 at Priory Lane. Since then, Eastbourne have played eleven games without winning and have therefore plummeted from mid-table into the relegation zone. The problem: fewer goals scored, but on average two goals conceded per game. Still, Eastbourne's scoring rate is higher than most sides in the bottom half, and even higher than that of play-off candidate Fleetwood.
First player to have appeared for both clubs is Richard Pacquette. Having started at QPR without playing against the Stags in 2002-03, Pacquette played a few games for the Stags on loan during February and March 2004, scoring at York, one of his later clubs. Pacquette played for Havant & Waterlooville and scored in their epic FA Cup game at Anfield Road in Liverpool a little more than two years ago, but have since his transfer from York (!) netted seven times for the Sussex side. But Pacquette is unavailable against the Stags on Saturday due to a straight red card at AFC Wimbledon recently.
The second player to have appeared for both side is Steve Cook. He played for Eastbourne on loan from Brighton in the game at Field Mill last September, seven in all. A month later. Cook came to the Stags and have put on the amber and blue in the BSP on eight occasions.
The two sides of the Stags this season have been efficiently shown in their last three BSP games. The excellent 5-1 away mauling of Cambridge have been followed up by unacceptable much-below-par displays at Grimsby on New Year's Day and at home to Altrincham two days later. The Stags cannot afford any more appalling displays if a playoff push is to be maintained. But Eastbourne should not be underestimated. Come on Mansfield!
Eastbourne details mainly courtesy of the club's official website http://www.eastbourneboroughfc.co.uk
Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag
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