After the abysmal home display against Bradford City (enough said) last Saturday, the Stags are on the road this week, starting with a trip to one ever-present EFL club since the Stags’ EFL return in 2013-14, namely Morecambe.
But this will be a different Morecambe side on and off the field compared to the start of last season and previous ones as well. Then, Morecambe had Jim Bentley as boss and on the field, long-serving stalwarts such as goalie Barry Roche and evergreen Kevin Ellison. But now, none are at the Shrimps, as Bentley resigned about one year ago to take on the AFC Fylde managerial post without success as Fylde were relegated from the Conf National last season. Roche has hung up his gloves while Ellison left for Newport County after the end of the curtailed 2019-20 campaign.
The Shrimps are also currently the longest surviving League Two member, now in their 14th consecutive campaign and have during their entire FL stay called upon just FOUR permanent managers. The first one was Sammy McIlroy, in charge when the Shrimps gained their League Two ticket in 2007, and he stayed till the end of the 2010-11 campaign. He was then replaced by Jim Bentley, who remained for eight years and way over 400 league and cup games, an incredible feat these days. Roche and Ellison were caretakers before Derek Adams was appointed last November and has so far this season overseen four odd-goal victories and two heavy defeats, the latest at Crawley to a 4-0 scoreline last Saturday.
In fact, the Stags have taken 13 points in their last five visits to Morecambe. And if last season’s fixture at Globe Arena had been won, it had been the Stags’ fifth consecutive victory there following a poor display in February 2015. Against no other current League Two side have the Stags won four consecutive away league games since the FL return in 2013. Closest are three against Exeter, but the Stags won four consecutive away fixtures at Exeter’s near neighbours Torquay at third level between 1966 and 1970. During the dark days a decade ago, the Stags won four out of four at Tamworth, and three out of three at Eastbourne.
Some games between the Stags and Morecambe have been decided very late on in dramatic fashion. Some facts below.
After the game at Morecambe four seasons ago, securing the Stags’ third straight win there, the Shrimps must have felt sick of conceding late goals against the Stags as the game between the sides at Mansfield was also decided late on, just two minutes before the final whistle of normal time.
During the 2016-17 campaign, the sides won their respective away games. On Boxing Day 2016, Morecambe won by the only goal of the game at One Call after a poor Stags display, while the revenge mission was completed on March 25, 2017 , when the Stags won 3-1 at Morecambe, all goals coming in the first half.
At Morecambe’s Globe Arena in 2015-16, the Stags turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 victory within the last five minutes of that game, the Stags’ winner in the 90th minute, which also meant that the Morecambe Shrimps lost at the same time. But the Shrimps did the other way when high-flying Portsmouth took the long trip up to Morecambe a week later. Then, of all players, Morecambe keeper Barry Roche, hit home the equalizer to a 1-1 scoreline in the fourth minute of injury-time (official time 90th minute) meaning that a Morecambe run of three straight defeats came to an end.
In the 2015-16 campaign, both fixtures were dramatic ones. At Morecambe, the Stags turned the game late on, as noted above. At One Call Stadium, goalie Scott Shearer saved TWO Morecambe penalties to preserve a 2-1 victory, the first time a Stags goalie has saved two spot-kicks during the same game during the Stags’ entire League history.
In 2014-15, the Stags won 1-0 at home thanks to a 90th minute header by Alex Fisher which clinched the Stags’ first-ever home points against the Shrimps, as the two games before that between the sides at Mansfield, the first one seen by the previewer on February 12, 2008, had seen Morecambe come out as 2-1 winners. The second one, on November 30, 2013, saw the Stags’ last FL and cup penalty given for up to August 2015, but crucially missed at 1-1. No game between the sides have ended in a goal-less draw, but the draws last season were the first ones ever between the sides.
The 2009-10 campaign is so far Morecambe's best-ever one in their FL history. Then, they finished fourth, a position which in three of the Stags' promotion seasons from the basement (1962-63, 1974-75 and 1985-86 respectively) had guaranteed automatic promotion.
But Morecambe had to be content with the playoffs, where their hopes were dented big style by a 6-0 mauling at Dagenham & Redbridge, the side that followed Morecambe up to the FL in 2007, the Daggers as champions and Morecambe winning the playoff finals against Exeter.
In the 2017-18 season, the Shrimps drew on nineteen occasions, while the Stags drew in eighteen. Before the trip to Morecambe two years ago, the Stags had drawn six consecutive away games, a club record, while Morecambe also drew quite a lot on the road, including some very crucial ones at Notts County and Macclesfield respectively.
The ref this time will be Marc Edwards, whose first-ever Stags game was the goal-less home draw against Stevenage last season.
Played for both sides: Dave Artell, Simon Grand, Kevan Hurst, James Jennings, Keith Kennedy, Fraser McLachlan, Vadaine Oliver, Adam Rundle, James Sutton, Richard Sutton, Brian Thomson, Neil Wainwright, Laurence Wilson.
Previous FL games:
Home games: P 8, W 4, D 1, L 3, GF 13, GA 9
Away games: P 8, W 5, D 1, L 2, GF 12, GA 9
Season Home Date Away Date
2007-08 1-2 2008-02-12 1-3 2007-08-25 League Two
2013-14 1-2 2013-11-30 1-0 2014-04-05 League Two
2014-15 1-0 2014-09-16 1-2 2015-02-10 League Two
2015-16 2-1 2016-02-06 2-1 2016-01-26 League Two
2016-17 0-1 2016-12-26 3-1 2017-03-25 League Two
2017-18 2-1 2017-12-23 2-1 2018-01-27 League Two
2018-19 4-0 2019-04-19 1-0 2018-10-23 League Two
2019-20 2-2 2019-08-10 1-1 2020-02-08 League Two
A very important game on Tuesday night. Come on Mansfield!
Stockholm, July 4, 2008, 15.00 GMT. Good news came, K.H. gone. March 1, 2012. Ground purchased.