Craig Priest reflects on the season just gone...
Like the season before, the 2011-12 season will be remembered from the history books as yet another heartbreaking one. Flicking back through the images, the one most used to sum up the campaign is the one of Adam Murray stood in tears on the One Call Stadium pitch whilst the York City players and Supporters dance in celebration in the backdrop – this is wrong, this shouldn’t be the image that defines the season just gone because for once, there is a bigger picture, there is a story to be told. The 2011-12 campaign may well have ENDED in heartbreak, but the beginning and middle of the tale follow a totally different script, as the 2011-12 campaign in truth, was Mansfield’s best for many year, it was the year they became reborn.
Still reeling from the pain of a Wembley cup final defeat in extra time, it’s fair to say that the Stags we’re broken down to the most delicate of shells, we all knew change was needed and that whoever took over the reins, would have a tough job in rebuilding us and putting us back out to battle. Many names we’re thrown into the hat for the managerial hot seat, the two front runners appeared to be ex Rushden & Diamonds chief Justin Edinburgh and former Eastwood boss Paul Cox, on the 19th May 2011 it was the latter appointed on a one year deal.
Despite the initial concerns that Cox had not managed in the BSBP, a year on his addition and the path we have taken as a result as more than proved enough to banish away that original doubt. When you look at what we did, you can be proud – so many ex-league clubs in this division think they have a divine right to waltz straight back into the football league, the arrogance is often shameful and will get you nowhere, something that after three seasons in the conference we accepted and dealt with, changing our answer to one question which in so many ways can shape your seasons fortunes. In the past we’d answer ‘What are Mansfield Town FC’ with ‘A Football League team’, now we answer ‘A conference side, equals with those around us’
We appointed a non-league manager with vast non-league experience and vast non-league contacts. He then appointed another non-league manager as his assistant in Micky Moore before adding to his coaching team with the vastly experienced Andy Todd and chief scout Paul Ogden, probably one of the best scouts outside of the football league. In terms of the playing staff, there were a few ex-football league players that arrived in Paul Bolland (Macclesfield), Jon Worthington (Bradford) and John Thompson (Notts County) but looking back through the season’s stats, the ex-league boys have featured less for one reason or the other than the non-leaguers such as Lindon Meikle (Eastwood), Ross Dyer (Forest Green) and Anthony Howell (Alfreton). Whether or not this was the intention at the beginning who knows bar Cox himself but whatever, my point is that the blend of players was finally right, we had players at the club wanting to play football and be a success rather than link up with an old friend, run about a bit and pick up a pay cheque, no matter how harsh that seems. My point is also that in appointing Cox and building a non-league structure, our broken shell has been mended properly rather than cheaply fixed with pound shop filler – I’m sure that will make sense eventually!
Below you can find my review of the season month by month, stats etc will be throw in along with the occasional comment with my round up at the end – sit back and enjoy reading the 2011-12 season review: the season Stags we’re reborn.
With the squad beginning to assemble nicely, the time for football soon arrived with the pre-season schedule kicking off with a friendly against Rainworth MW, only Neil Collett and Danny Mitchley appeared from the ‘old guard’ as Micky Moore ran his eye over several trailists and youth players with Paul Cox at a wedding. Trialist striker Patrick Samba netted for Stags in a game which ended 1-1, after the match Moore revealed that none of the trailists would be given a second look. Three days later the proper pre-season campaign got underway with a trip to Nuneaton, trailist Chris Carruthers set up new signing Lee Stevenson to put Paul Cox’s side ahead however the hosts, who would go on to be promoted via the blue square north play-offs, overturned the score line and ran out 2-1 winners.
After two games on the road it was back to Field Mill to face Notts County, the first opportunity for supporters to get a look at Paul Cox’s newly assembled squad ahead of the campaign. The Stags started brightly and we’re ahead through Paul Connor on 26minutes, five minutes after Adam Smith had seen his tame penalty saved by Notts keeper Stuart Nelson. Neil Bishop levelled for the visitors on 28 minutes before Notts took home the bragging rights, Hamza Bencherif netting the winner on 75 minutes.
The Stags search for a pre-season victory would continue as Doncaster Rovers ran out 1-0 winners, Billy Sharp scoring the game’s only goal 12 minutes from full time, John Thompson donned the amber and blue for the first time after signing late Friday night following the Notts County game, the Rovers match also gave us a look at three trialists, Lewis Horne, Shaun Pejic and left back Joe Kendrick, the latter penning a one year deal days after the match.
A trip to FC Halifax gave us a first look at Oxford loan man Matt Green, however it was a combination of the old guard that grabbed the games only goal two minutes into the second half, Paul Connor provided the assist for Louis Briscoe.
Next up was a tight encounter with Hednesford Town in what proved to be the toughest test of pre-season. The Keys Park pitch was one which Paul Cox was really looking forward to playing on due to is tough bobbley nature, the final score shows just how close the game was, Stags running out 3-2 winners, winning 2-0 through Matt Green’s first in Stags colours and a Louis Briscoe penalty before the hosts pulled one back. Tom Naylor then netted from a Matt Bell corner before the hosts set up a tight finish, making it 3-2 with five minutes left to play. Cox clearly had words with his players in the dressing room despite the victory and kept myself and the press waiting, but as ever was frank and honest with his answers to the questions.
A comfortable 4-1 victory at Boston United which saw Adam Murray net twice, Louis Briscoe bag another penalty and Anthony Howell also get on the score sheet, the boys we’re heading for a weekend in Skegness and things we’re looking fairly rosy, that was until we took on Ilkeston in our penultimate pre-season friendly, a game which would change our entire dynamic ahead of the season’s opener.
Matt Green had scored twice to put Stags into a 2-1 lead early in the first half before Gary Rickets and Ritchie Sutton collided, the latter was able to carry on but again collided with Rickets after Louis Briscoe had made it 3-1. This time Sutton was unable to continue and headed straight for A&E. Gary Rickets then made it 3-2 with a header before Louis Briscoe netted from the spot for 4-2 at half time. Five minutes into the second half Martin Riley took an elbow to the face from Rickets and required a trip to A&E and several stitches, before the games controversial moment on 68 minutes when John Thompson was shoved into the advertising hoardings by Gary Rickets as they battled with the ball. Thompson suffered several facial injuries and left a pool of blood embedded in the New Manor pitch, the actions led to Paul Cox leading his team from the park and the match being abandoned, click here to read the full report from the night.
A happy medium had all of a sudden gone back underneath a dark cloud, plans had to be remade and plans redrawn ahead of the season’s opener, however there was time for one last pre-season trip as we headed to Chasetown. The injuries sustained during the week had seen another trialists introduced, former Macclesfield and Rochdale man Matt Flynn. A delightful Adam Smith chip and a neat Ross Dyer goal had put the Stags into a 2-0 goal lead in the opening 20 minutes before Chasetown pulled one back, Ross Dyer made it 3-1 before trialist Flynn made it 4-1 with five to go before the break. The Stags had several opportunities in the second half but failed to make the pay, the full time score staying at 4-1 meaning the Stags headed into the season on the back of five consecutive victories.
Contracted Players Used During Pre-Season: Neil Collett, Danny Mitchley, Alan Marriott, Luke O’Neill, Ritchie Sutton, Tom Naylor, Adam Murray, Lee Stevenson, Jon Worthington, Ross Dyer, Paul Connor, Louis Briscoe, Shane Redmond, Adam Smith, Anthony Howell, Andy Todd, Matt Bell, Lindon Meikle, Martin Riley, John Thompson, Paul Bolland, Matt Green.
Trialists Used During Pre-season [Rainworth MW trialist match]: Jason Beardsley, Josh Wilde, Lee Bennett, Patrice Liburd, Milan Redi, Yann Jougeul, Joe Lamplough, Patrick Samba, Jamie Jackson, Connor Branson (Y), Sean Lynk (Y), Jack Whickham (Y), Aaron Striland (Y) – (Y) Denotes youth team trialist.
Other Trialists Used: Chris Carruthers (Nuneaton A), Nathan Craig (Nuneaton A), Rhema Obed (Nuneaton A, Notts County H), Alan Goodall (Notts County H), Steven Watt (Notts County H), Joe Kendrick (Doncaster H Signed following the match), Shaun Pejic (Doncaster H), Lewis Horne (Doncaster H), Nick Wood (FC Halifax A, Hednesford A, Ilkeston A, Chasetown A), Nick Hegarty (Ilkeston A), Matt Flynn (Chasetown A), Odilion Koudemba (Chasetown A)
Youth Team Players Used [Rainworth MW only]: Blake Vincent, Jobe Shaw, Oliver Medley.
After the pre-season events had begun to fade away, the season’s curtain raiser with Bath City at Field Mill soon arrived, as just shy of four thousand fans arrived for the long awaited match, a fair percentage taking advance of the Wembley ticket offer. Prior to kick off Paul Cox added trialist Nick Wood on a month’s short term deal as cover following Ilkeston gate, wingman Louis Briscoe also penned a contract extension until the end of the 2012-13 campaign. Martin Riley donned a head band to be able to make his competitive, he one of six who marked their first league appearance in the amber and blue. Kick off was delayed by ten minutes to allow the additional fans to take their season, despite an agonising wait to kick start the season officially, it soon proved worth it as Paul Connor headed home young full back Matt Bell’s cross just minutes in to put Paul Cox’s side into an early lead. Bath took a share of the spoils, Adam Connolly netting 11 minutes before the break.
Next up it was the first long trip of the campaign as we headed for Gateshead, a trip which is one of very few this season I wish I hadn’t of made. A lacklustre display saw us crash to a 3-0 defeat and have Tom Naylor shown a straight red card, Lee Stevenson and Joe both debuted in the match, whilst Nick Wood came on late on for what proved his only appearance.
Dropping to 21st after the Gateshead defeat, it was off to newly promoted Braintree next, a trip I’ll never forget (Keep your eye out for a separate series of ‘Craig’s Travel’ blogs in the coming weeks to find out why!). Louis Briscoe smashed in his first of the season minutes into the second half before the hosts levelled through Sean Marks in a match which gave a debut to giant defender Ben Futcher, who arrived from Ritchie Barker’s Bury.
Three games in and still without a win, it was back to Field Mill to see if our luck would change against our old FA Trophy adversary’s Luton Town. Matt Green grabbed his first goal of the league season with a sensational strike from outside the box before Paul Cox’s men, unchanged for the first time, again surrendered a lead, Will Antwi heading home for a point with 12 minutes left to play, a second successive draw and third point from a possible 12 saw the Stags sat it 20th at the full time whistle.
Something needed to spark us into life and re-light the fire which burnt so brightly in pre-season, the spark arrived as Kettering Town arrived at Field Mill on August 27th, keeping the same line up as the credible Luton draw, goals from Louis Briscoe, Matt Green and Ross Dyer swept Kettering aside, sealing our first victory and clean sheet of the campaign in a match which saw Ritchie Sutton return from his injury and come off the bench to make his debut.
With the fire burning, it was soon time to add fuel, a bank holiday lunchtime trip to relegated Stockport County did that. A well balanced encounter between the sides saw just the one goal, Luke O’Neill grabbed it with a sweet left footed effort in front of the 436 travelling Staggies on 67 minutes, Ritchie Sutton made his full debut at the expense of Martin Riley who picked up a toe injury during the win over Kettering.
The three points moved us up to 8th place, ending the season’s opening month in a stronger state than we had started it.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
Bath City (H) D1-1 3997 (80) Paul Connor
Gateshead (A) L3-0 825 (125)
Braintree Town (A) D1-1 875 (212) Louis Briscoe
Luton Town (H) D1-1 2592 (437) Matt Green
Kettering Town (H) W3-0 2051 (112) Louis Briscoe, Matt Green, Ross Dyer
Stockport County (A) W1-0 3571 (112) Luke O’Neill
September proved one of those months that, if you take out the middle, was really enjoyable. It began on the road again as we headed to our FA Trophy final opponents Darlington, who proudly showed off their trophy in reception, much to our dismay. In a way the players remaining from that heartbreaking day used it as fuel to the fire, a strong first half performance saw us 2-0 up at the break with Matt Green netting both. The hosts responded strongly in the second half but a good defensive display saw us keep hold of the score line and grab our third consecutive victory.
So we’ve beaten our FA Trophy heartbreakers and are going steady, could things get any better? How about a nice 5-0 win on the telly? Go on then! Oh, there was a 7-0 victory against Shepshed Dynamo in a friendly sandwiched in-between the league matches, Paul Connor grabbed 4 goals, Danny Mitchley got 2 whilst Nick Wood grabbed the other. We’d never won in front of the TV Cameras in the conference but on a wet yet sunny afternoon which produced a lovely rainbow, the Stags found gold. Matt Green and Louis Briscoe netted before the break for 2-0, Ross Dyer then converted a low cross for 3-0 before Briscoe took the roof off with an emphatic volley for 4-0. Luke O’Neill added the fifth after linking up with Matt Green on the right hand side.
The win against Newport had stretched our unbeaten run to six, with two draws followed by four consecutive wins, the first time we’d achieved the latter since 2003 – however keeping a fourth consecutive clean sheet and getting as many wins had put us in pole passion to break a new club record of five consecutive wins without conceding, the Newport game equalling the record set in May 1997. A full list of stats, records matched and/or broken can be found at the very bottom when complete.
Matt Green put the Stags into an early lead at Holker Street against Barrow in the months third fixture, however the dream of setting a new club record for five consecutive victories and five consecutive clean sheets was broken by Louis Almond on 25 minutes, his strike levelling the game and becoming the first goal Alan Marriott conceded in 397 minutes of football. Ben Futcher headed home three minutes later to put us 2-1 up at the break, Adam Boyes brought things level again in the second half before Lindon Meikle netted the winner ten minutes from full time.
Wondering how long the winning run could continue, supporters didn’t have long to wait for the answer as it was back to Field Mill for a midweek battle with AFC Telford United. Matt Green’s second half strike opened the scoring to put Stags 1-0 up and top of the league, however Chris Sharps strike on 85 minutes proved the hammer blow, knocking Stags back down and only able to take a point.
The hammer blow then got worse at the weekend as we looked to return to winning ways, an awful performance against Kidderminster saw us crash to a 3-0 defeat and have Louis Briscoe sent off. A pathetic Mansfield we’re 2-0 down in just seven minutes, just when we thought those days had gone. The third goal came from the spot on 23 minutes, Lee Vaughn tucking home.
The good football, the smiles, the happiness had all vanished and pretty much nobody was looking forward to the months final trip, across the welsh border to then league leaders Wrexham who we’re enjoying a fine start to the season despite their manager jumping ship to Doncaster and numerous off field problems. Paul Cox made three changes from the side defeat by Kidderminster, Tom Naylor donned the Amber and Blue for the first time since his dismissal at Gateshead which resulted in a four game ban, Andy Todd and Jon Worthington also came in. The hosts started brightly and were denied by Marriott just a minute in, the Stags keeper pulled off a world class save, tipping away a goal bound free kick. Danny Wright headed into his own net on 39 minutes to put the Stags one goal up at the break, Lee Fowler levelled for the hosts before Matt Green converted from the penalty spot after Nat Knight-Percival was sent off for conceding the spot kick as last man. The game then got headed at Tom Naylor was shown a second yellow card and sent off despite it being he who was fouled! At 10 V 10 the hosts pushed however Substitute Paul Connor put the game beyond doubt in the final minute of stoppage time, coolly converting to put Stags back on the winning track and finally beat Wrexham on welsh soil for the first time since February 1986.
The victory over Wrexham wrapped up September, with us sitting in 5th place at the full time whistle.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
Darlington (A) W2-0 2647 (296) Matt Green 
Newport County (H) W5-0 2324 (121) Matt Green, Ross Dyer, Luke O’Neill, Louis Briscoe 
Barrow (A) W3-2 1244 (137) Matt Green, Ben Futcher, Lindon Meikle
AFC Telford (A) D1-1 2481 (110) Matt Green
Kidderminster (H) L3-0 2522 (117)
Wrexham (A) W3-1 3478 (150 Approximate figure) Danny Wright [OG], Matt Green [P], Paul Connor
Usually in October you begin to search for the winter coats, woolly hats and scarves, however as October got underway and we headed for the delightful Nailsworth to take on Forest Green Rovers, we were reaching for the sun cream and deck chairs as a scorching sun was the back drop for our match with the Rovers.
The hosts are famously a rather Green club, however it was the Stags that used solar power (wow what an awful pun!) to gain the advantage, Ross Dyer using the sunlight to power him forward and score after 17 seconds, to my knowledge the quickest Stags goal ever scored. The Stags failed to take their following chances and we’re pegged back on 41 minutes, they we’re then forced to play the entire second half with 10 men as Anthony Howell was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on the stroke of half time, a challenge which split opinion at the time however the match DVD proved the dismissal a correct call. The Stags defended resiliently in the 30 degree heat and clung on for a 1-1 draw.
Back at Field Mill there were three changes as Grimsby arrived, defensive due Tom Naylor and Ben Futcher who were suspended for the trip to Forest Green were brought back into the fold along with Lindon Meikle, who replaced the suspended Anthony Howell. Michael Coulson had put the mariners ahead at the break however the Stags completed the turnaround in the second half; Luke O’Neill netted a splendid 40 yard free kick before Paul Connor came off the bench to head home the winner from an O’Neill corner.
The smiles at the full time whistle were again broad however a repeat performance the following weekend wasn’t found as those smiles turned to frowns as impressive Southport ran out 3-1 winners. Losing Tom Naylor through injury early on didn’t help as the Stags defence were caught at sea by a long throw, Andy Todd converted into his own net before substitute Martin Riley diverted a Southport shot beyond Marriott to double the visitors lead. Tony Gray scored a third after the break, during which Paul Cox made his final two changes introducing Lindon Meikle and Paul Connor, the latter fresh from scoring in a behind closed doors friendly with Solihull Moors. On 76 minutes Paul Connor sent a header goal wards, the final touch coming from Southports Steve Akrigg before crossing the line for 3-1, another lack lustre defeat.
Paul Cox’s side had to refresh quickly and faced a midweek trip to struggling Lincoln City, who were the other team relegated alongside Stockport. The Stags boss made five changes which included a first full start for Paul Bolland, the travelling support of 981 were phenomenally noisy but had endure cheers of joy from the home faithful midway through the second half as Martin Riley made a meal of Joe Anyon’s strong boot downfield, Gavin McCallum smashed home beyond Marriott on his return to Sincil Bank. Three minutes from time a delightful move saw Matt Green slide into level the game, a fine save from Anyon and several other blocks in the final minutes prevented Stags from taking all the points, alas in the end in finished 1-1.
One “derby” was followed by another as Alfreton visited Field Mill for the first ever league meeting between the pair, the reds were the more productive in front of goal and took a 2-0 lead into half time with goals from Anton Brown and Paul Clayton. Three minutes into the second half Antony Wilson was shown a second yellow card but with ten men, still the reds pushed, had it not been for the sending off of Greg Young on the hour mark, Stags may well have lost. Even against nine men they needed luck, it came on 75 minutes as Paul Connor was fouled in the box, Matt Green scored the resulting spot kick. The clock still clicked down and the Stags still trailed, a moment of magic from Meikle on 86 minutes levelled the game before Andy Todd of all people bagged the winner with a sloppy finish in injury time, ensuring the Stags ran out 3-2 winners in another lame performance that in honesty, warranted defeat, but you know what they say – take the rough with the smooth.
The Alfreton match was it for league action in October, putting us in 8th place in the table, rounding off the month was a FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie with Fleetwood at Field Mill. A wonderful free kick from Jamie Milligan put the visitors ahead at the break however a leveller from Ross Dyer on 70minutes set up a midweek trip to the seaside for a replay. The match at Field Mill also saw the return of Louis Moult on loan from Stoke City whilst youth team hit man Adam Somes made the bench.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
Forest Green (A) D1-1 893 (241) Dyer
Grimsby (H) W2-1 2982 (589) O’Neill Connor
Southport (H) L3-1 2406 (114) Steve Akrigg [OG]
Lincoln (A) D1-1 2944 (981) Green
Alfreton (H) W3-2 2982 (320) Green [P] Meikle Todd
Fleetwood [FA CUP] (H) D1-1 1725 (134) Dyer
The penultimate month of the year got off to a disastrous start as a sickness bug swept through the camp and wiped out virtually everybody ahead of the FA Cup replay with Fleetwood. Micky Moore took the managerial reigns as Paul Cox stayed at home unfit to travel, a bug for Matt Green also saw him miss out and hand Louis Moult a first start since returning on loan. The performance and result was stuff of nightmares as Fleetwood romped to a 5-0 victory, meaning the Stags failed to be part of round one for the first time since 1931. Despite the score line there were some positives, John Thompson made the bench for the first time since that injury, youth team hit man Adam Somes debuted as sub whilst Rhys Day also saw some late action from the bench.
Things got no better as the weekend arrived, Harrison Dunk struck twice to see Cambridge run our 2-1 winners at Field Mill, completing the turnaround after Matt Green had put Stags into a 55th minute lead. The match at Field Mill also saw two debutants, Nick Hegarty who’d previously been on trail started his contract which ran until Boxing Day, whilst highly rated defender Kieron Freeman arrived on loan from Nottingham Forest.
A Monday night trip to Eastwood for an open to the public friendly gave us a look at some of the players that had yet to feature, the defence partnered Rhys Day and summer signing John Thompson – goals from Anthony Howell and Lee Stevenson saw the Stags side run out 2-1 winners. John Thompson had done enough in the friendly to warrant a first start and got it at AFC Telford, coming in for Ben Futcher whose loan spell had expired and returned to parent club Bury. Thompson was solid enough and helped keep the Stags first clean sheet in some 13 matches, however despite the tight back line, the front line offered little and the match ended as it began – goalless.
A week later it was a long trip to Bath City, the leagues bottom club. During the week Paul Cox had strengthened his side in the loan market, brining in Aman Verma and Marcus Kelly from Kettering, young striker Nialle Rodney from Bradford and experienced defender John Dempster from Crawley. Mansfield stuck with the same back four to keep the clean sheet but made changes in the middle with Aman Verma debuting at the expense of Hegarty whilst Paul Bolland replaced skipper Murray who was suspended after picking up five bookings, John Thompson donned the armband. Marley Watkins had put the hosts ahead after an error in the middle by Paul Bolland, Lindon Meikle levelled with a fluke goal from the bye line in a dull, frustrating fixture.
Rounding a frustrating November off was a midweek home fixture with Gateshead, a game which handed John Dempster his debut alongside Thompson at the expense of O’Neill and gave Lee Stevenson his first start since the reverse fixture in August. Ross Dyer gave the Stags a 9th minute leader following an excellent move of creative football, however several missed chances were made to rue on 68 minutes when former Stag Jon Shaw continued his impressive season for the heed, heading in his 20th of the season for 1-1. The draw rounding off a winless month and as we look back, the only month of the season we went without victory, picking up just three points from the 12 on offer.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
Fleetwood (A) [FA Cup] L5-0 1159 (78)
Cambridge (H) L2-1 2046 (237) Green
AFC Telford (A) D0-0 2203 (474)
Bath City (A) D1-1 816 (146) Meikle
Gateshead (H) D1-1 1513 (34) Dyer
With Christmas songs being overly played in supermarkets and shopping centres since October, the only festive cheer we wanted was three points after the previous months winless run, the arrival of Braintree to Field Mill did just that. It started off as bah humbug though as Sean Marks was on hand to give the visitors an 8th minute lead, John Dempster then levelled heading in Aman Verma’s corner, from then on in it was one way traffic as the Stags took the game to the visitors in the second half, Matt Green added two more to his tally with Lindon Meille also on the score sheet.
In midweek it was a trip to Grimsby, which started and ended goalless in a game which Alan Marriott shone between the sticks, the following night we had another chance to look at the fringe players again at Eastwood, this time the Stags side on show ran out comfortable 4-0 winners, trialist Ben Hutchinson scored two emphatic efforts whilst fellow trialist Anto Flood and Louis Briscoe were on target at Coronation Park before the weekend arrived with a break from league action and, on reflection, the seasons turning point.
Our FA Trophy run of the 2010-11 campaign is well document and despite defeat in the final, we will forever hold it in high regard. Despite being on a bit of a barren run in the league with one win in eight games, the belief that our squad was stronger than the Wembley 15 was high, as was the desire to go all the way and bring home the silverware after being what, a minute away last season. Heading to blue square north strugglers Droylsden confidence was high and the team strong, in the pouring rain and on a tough pitch the Stags rallied but wasted several early chances and were matched in their attacking play by the hosts, who played the pitch well and grabbed a 19th minute lead through Dale Johnson. The same man struck again midway through the second half on the break, a deserved goal following lots of first half pressure, A switch to 4-4-2 saw the Stags come alive and after several more missed chances, grabbed one back six minutes from time through a Matt Green header – the goal proved too late though as the hosts defended well and saw out the game to go through to round two and dump a frankly pathetic Stags (for 70 minutes of the game) out at the first hurdle, shattering dreams of another Wembley final – some games during the season I’ve been annoyed with, none more so than this.
Looking back now at the end of the campaign not being involved in the trophy has proved a godsend as we channelled our energy into our league form and in fairness, we were rewarded in the end as Adam Murray said throughout the season being knocked out at round one was probably a blessing in disguise – at the time though the frustration was rife. Things didn’t get much better the following weekend as we headed to Haig Avenue to play Southport who’d already beaten us once during the season. Goalless at the break John Dempster gave the Stags a dream start to the second half nodding home a Luke O’Neill corner, however the lead barley lasted two minutes as Chris Lever scuffed a shot beyond Marriott. Ritchie Sutton was then shown a second yellow card and Stags reduced to ten men, a battling performance saw them hanging on for a point until the last minute when Southport were awarded a penalty, Chris Lever powerfully converted before the hosts added a third following a poor piece of defending in the final minute of four added on.
On Boxing Day back at Field Mill the Stags found a little fight as they face York City, Matt Green skipped past Michael Ingham for his 15th of the season on 11 minutes, Ross Dyer and Aman Verma both came close before the break however the visitors struck through Liam Henderson midway through the second half to take home a point.
Before the chimes of Big Ben could signal the start of 2012, the Stags we’re handed some great news as Matt Green was poised to seal a permanent move from Oxford, Gary Roberts looked set to join from Port Vale with former Middlesbrough hit man Ben Hutchinson also in the pipe line, Nick Hegarty moved the other way departing overseas following the expiry of his deal.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
Braintree (H) W4-1 1790 (52) Dempster, Meikle, Green 
Grimsby (A) D0-0 2553 (140)
Droylsden [FA Trophy] (A) L2-1 335 (away att unknown – no segregation) Green
Southport (A) L3-1 1006 (98) Dempster
York (H) D1-1 3551 (931) Green
As the New Year dawned it was off to York City for the New Years Day opener, Gary Roberts made his debut whilst Matt Green remained in attack after sealing his permanent move, marking it by opening the scoring fourteen minutes in. After the break a sensational effort from substitute Aman Verma doubled Mansfield’s lead before Matty Blair clawed one back for the hosts. With less than a minute to go the Stags were winning 2-1, however after conceding a free kick in an awful passion, York pounced and took an undeserved point, Jamal Fyfield grabbing the goal as Stags failed to clear their lines despite having three opportunities – frustrating.
With just one win in 12 outings the play-offs looked unreachable considering our form, however something clicked and things started slotting into place, two wins on home soil provided the boost we’d been searching for. Aman Verma, Marcus Kelly and Keiron Freeman had all returned to their parent clubs which meant a shuffle of the pack, Joe Kendrick made his first start at left back in 12 games against Forest Green, Lindon Meikle’s strike the final difference. Hayes and Yeading proved a tougher test than it should have been, the Stags welcomed back Adam Smith following his loan spell at league two Aldershot, he the only change from the previous weeks line up. Julian Owusu opened the scoring for the visitors before Ross Dyer finished well to level before the break. A delightful goal for Hayes hit man Louis Soares restored the visitors lead before Matt Green smashed in Adam Smith’s cross. In the final minute, Gary Roberts won a penalty which Green handed over to substitute Ben Hutchinson, who debuted the previous week against Forest Green from the bench. Hutchinson kept his cool and converted the spot kick to hand Stags a late victory.
A goalless midweek trip to Luton handed a full debut to Ben Hutchinson, it was then followed by a trip to Ebbsfleet, a match which welcomed loan signing Paul Edwards to the bench, arriving on a month’s loan from Fleetwood. Paul Cox’s side put in a classy performance and we’re unlucky not to be ahead with in the opening 30 seconds, Matt Green eventually opening the scoring on 21 minutes following a well work free kick from deep. Gary Roberts doubled the lead with a rocket before the break, wrapping things up with his second of the game in the final minute of the match capping off an assured team performance, a 3-0 victory and unbeaten January.
A reserves side was in action at Rainworth MW, a match in which Rhys Day would suffer another injury set back and subsequently retire from the game, the only real negative point in what on reflection was a month where the turnaround of fortunes began.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
York (A) D2-2 4284 (498) Green, Verma
Forest Green (H) W1-0 2008 (32) Meikle
Hayes & Yeading (H) W3-2 1872 (26) Dyer, Green, Hutchinson [P]
Luton (A) D0-0 5261 (111)
Ebbsfleet (A) W3-0 1085 (200 approx) Green, Roberts 
There’s always a part of the season when mother nature comes out to ruin things, February was the month in question seeing various games postponed with bad weather league action wouldn’t return until February 18th and even that was doubtful! Paul Cox kept the lads ticking over with training sessions on 3G pitches and a behind closed doors game at Sutton Coldfield, a match which the Stags ran out winners with deadline day signing Matt Rhead on the scoresheet. A younger side also we’re beaten heavily by a strong AFC Telford side on valentines night 5-0.
Deadline day had proved more disappointing than encouraging as a bid for John Dempster failed meaning he would have to return to Crawley at the end of his loan spell and that February was spent on the lookout for another defender. Sam Craven was brought in on non-contract terms along with Rhead, the only two to arrive on deadline day towards the end of January.
When league action did arrive the Stags seemingly returned to a lethargic, lacklustre state, falling to a 1-0 defeat at Newport County, a match which saw Paul Edwards and Matt Rhead debut as two of three half time substitutes made by a furious Paul Cox.
The Stags responded well and showed no mercy against troubled Darlington at Field Mill midweek, a sluggish start saw Darlington ahead through Marc Bridge-Wilkinson after a minute, Paul Edwards failed to close down a cross making his first full start. John Dempster, playing his final game before returning to Crawley, headed home the equaliser before Matt Green got the first of three goals to grab his first Stags hat-trick. At 3-1 Darlington somehow grabbed one back straight from the restart, however Green’s treble sealing spot kick and an emphatic Briscoe strike sealed the victory.
Wrapping up the month was a home match with Tamworth, Giant defender Exodus Geohaghon arrived on emergency loan from Darlington for the remainder of the season and settled in well, becoming an instant crowd favourite with dominant defensive play and a frightening long throw. Tamworth were first to score after a goalless first half, Jean Paul-Marna hit an unstoppable effort before a Geohaghon throw fell for Adam Smith who levelled the match. Another Geohaghon throw caused havoc and was eventually turned in by Green, a goal proving to be the winner – sealing our fourth consecutive home victory for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
Newport (A) L1-0 1285 (89)
Darlington (H) W5-2 1697 (80) Dempster, Briscoe, Green [3/1P]
Tamworth (H) W2-1 2221 (134) Smith, Green
Arguably the most important month of the season, March will be remembered for a very long time, especially when you look at its importance with John Radford securing a 10 year lease on Field Mill to allow promotion and subsequently buying the ground back of Keith Haslam, finally ridding the club of the black cloud which has hung over them for far too long. To celebrate it was back to Field Mill to face Lincoln City and the return of former manager David Holdsworth. Prior to kick off there was a party with a moving speech from director Steve Hymas and the man himself, Mr Radford “Ladies, Gentleman, I am proud to say we’ve done it, we now own Field Mill” the roar which followed was simply phenomenal.
The off pitch carnival atmosphere transferred to the field of play too, Paul Edwards had departed which saw a reintroduction for Martin Riley whilst Anthony Howell stood in for injured skipper Murray. Ross Dyer and Gary Roberts netted for the Stags who we’re un-phased by a late Lincoln goal, the fans behind the goal in the Quarry Lane End continued to conga as we clocked up five consecutive home wins.
Up next was a midweek trip to Cambridge and despite falling behind to an early James Jennings free kick, there was only ever going to be one winner in another accomplished performance. Ross Dyer headed stags level for 1-1 at the break before another Briscoe belter won the game on 52 minutes, the victory taking Stags into 5th place and the play-offs from where they would not fall.
A trip to Tamworth saw a solitary Matt Green strike prove the difference, before a tough test with league leaders Fleetwood at Field Mill. A fast paced high octane fixture saw the divisions two form teams lock horns, skipper Adam Murray returned alongside Jon Worthington making a rare appearance replacing the suspended Gary Roberts – emergency loan signing Danny Andrew made the bench after arriving from Cheltenham. Field Mill was rocking and the energy electric, despite being pegged back by another Jamie Vardy strike players and supporters united in their belief and kept driving forward both on and off the pitch, the noise in the 90th minute off the scale when Geohaghon headed in Luke O’Neill’s corner to snatch a more than deserved point from the jaws of defeat.
The next game was tame in terms of tempo but so delightful to watch as Stags brushed aside Barrow 7-0, netting seven goals in a game for the first time since Boxing Day 1994, a 7-1 win over Hereford at Field Mill. Louis Briscoe opened the scoring early on before adding a second after Matt Green had seen a penalty saved. Anthony Howell made it 3-0 on 23 minutes heading in Geohaghons throw, Lindon Meikle added a fourth before half time past substitute keeper Stuart Dixon on his bluebirds debut – the visitors using all three subs before half time. After the break the Stags continued their goal scoring mission, Matt Green headed in the 5th, Briscoe rounded off his treble with an emphatic effort for six before substitute Matt Rhead grabbed his first goal late on for seven. Danny Andrew also debuted from the bench replacing Sutton, unlucky not to add an 8th with a well hit free kick.
So one game with goals a plenty is enough right? WRONG – hello Alfreton and a strange game in which Stags we’re 6-3 winners. The first half produced seven goals and with the hosts looking for a victory over the Stags at a bouncing Impact Arena, it was they who struck first through Jake Moult. Anthony Howell levelled with a tap in before Nathan Jarman restored Alfreton’s lead. Martin Riley headed home his first Stags goal before Matt Green bundled in O’Neill’s corner for 3-2, Anthony Howell hit a beautifully empathic strike for 4-2 before a free kick saw Antony Brown make it 4-3 on the stroke of half time. After the break it calmed down a little but with the score line finely balanced the hosts naturally pushed, a late header from Exodus Geohaghon made it 5-3 in the 89th minute before Matt Green teased the reds with his second of the night, rounding the keeper following a Rhead header to wrap the game up.
A 2-0 defeat at champions elect Fleetwood was expected however despite the score line the Stags did themselves proud again matching the hosts on a scorching hot afternoon. Rounding off the month was another victory, Matt Green’s strike eight minutes from time the only goal in a 1-0 victory.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
Lincoln City (H) W2-1 4830 (627) Dyer, Roberts
Cambridge United (A) W2-1 1736 (165) Dyer, Briscoe
Tamworth (A) W1-0 1600 (909) Green
Fleetwood Town (H) D1-1 3132 (104) Geohaghon
Barrow (H) W7-0 2510 (70) Howell, Meikle, Green, Rhead, Briscoe 
Alfreton Town (A) W6-3 3354 (1956) Riley, Geohaghon, Green , Howell 
Fleetwood Town (A) L2-0 3106 (480)
Ebbsfleet United (H) W1-0 2630 (55) Green
The final month of the scheduled seasons fixtures and for the first time in a long while, there was something to play for as we looked to seal our play-off place. Ahead of the run in Paul Cox arranged an open to the public match with Quorn for those he made need to use at some stage, Matt Rhead scored twice as did Lee Stevenson, John Thompson back playing after a series of injury’s again kept him out netted along with Ben Hutchinson and youth teamer Adam Somes in the 7-2 victory.
A trip to Kettering Town (well Rushden and Diamonds! As it was Nene Park rather than Rockingham Road) saw the Stags kick on and relegate the hosts, Lindon Meikle headed in a Roberts cross for 1-0 at half time. Good defending and relentless attack saw Stags grab a further two goals in the second half, Matt Green was naturally on target before substitute Matt Rhead headed home Luke O’Neill’s corner with seven minutes to go – the victory putting Stags seven points clear of the chasing pack with four games remaining.
A bank holiday Monday match at Field Mill, now renamed the One Call Stadium saw Adam Murray return to the line up along with Adam Smith and Matt Rhead, the latter handed his first full start. A minute into the second half Exodus Geohaghon set yet another goal with a long throw, Adam Smith powering in following Green’s flicked assist before another Geohaghon throw led to a wonderful curling effort by Briscoe for 2-0. A late goal from Stockport made the full time score 2-1 following a defensive lapse, late goals elsewhere saw the Stags still catchable by other clubs meaning the play-off space was not yet sealed – a trip to Hayes and Yeading, well Woking to face the former, would soon sort that.
Anthony Howell set the Stags on their way to another victory, netting after five minutes however a leveller from Perio Mingoia saw the sides level at the break and Paul Cox lay into the lads during the interval loud for all to hear. The Stags responded and we’re ahead on 67 minutes when Ross Dyer netted a sweet left footed volley from the edge of the box, Matt Green wrapped up what felt at times like a pre-season friendly in front of a small crowd, made up majorly of Stags fans scattered around the ground as for a second time this season, no segregation was in place. The victory sealed the Stags place in the play-offs and also sparked a real of achievements, the victory was sour tenth away win last achieved in the 1991-92 campaign, the three points saw Mansfield break the club record for the amounts of points picked up in a season, moving onto 83 they passed the 81 point mark set in 1985-86.
Next up in the penultimate match of the season, it was a Friday night TV showdown with second placed Wrexham. Lee Stevenson came in for his first start since December’s FA Trophy exit at Droylsden on a wet night where the Stags totally outclassed their opponents, Anthony Howell headed home Geohaghon’s throw on 13minutes for 1-0 at the break. The second half provided the golden moment of the season as Alan Marriott scored a sensation goal from his own area with what can only be described as a 96 yard screamer! The full time whistle had secured third place meaning the second leg home advantage in the play-offs, with more records and feats to be added to the list, Alan Marriott’s sensational goal Mansfield’s 50th home goal of the season, the first time the 50 goal mark has been reached since the 1976-77 campaign. Rounding off Mansfield’s season at home was a 14th home win of the season matching the number of home wins picked up in 2008-09 but beating the points tally of 47 set at home that season by a solitary point.
To complete the season and indeed April it was off to Kidderminster Harriers, who needed not only to beat us, but hope Luton we’re beaten at Champions Fleetwood to get into the play-offs themselves. Paul Cox made seven changes ahead of the midweek play-off trip to either York or Luton, confirmed as York at full time – Shane Redmond debuted between the sticks, Danny Andrew was handed his first full start at left back whilst there were starts for Jon Worthington, Matt Rhead and long term injury victim John Thompson. Despite the changes the Stags showed no mercy and survived early scares to go into the break goalless. Lee Vaughn was sent off for the hosts minutes into the second half before Lee Stevenson grabbed a deserved goal, a pink nun invaded the pitch before Louis Briscoe headed home his 11th of the season for 2-0. Matt Green was handed a run out from the bench and grabbed his 30th of the season with four minutes remaining, becoming the first Stags player since Ray Clarke in the 1974-75 season to reach the big 30. The full time whistle saw the Stags finish on 89 points as mentioned above, a club record, whilst the victory was Mansfield’s sixth on the bounce, the first time since October 1991 a Mansfield side has won six on the bounce. The away win was our 11th of the season, the first time since 1976-77 and for only the third time in our history. The three goals scored propelled us to a record of sorts, the 37 away goals scored being our highest total in ten seasons – the club record of 47 away goals in a season untouched, if only some of those early season draws had been wins by the odd goal! A great season, which was far from over.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
Kettering Town (A) W3-0 1818 (877) Meikle Green Rhead
Stockport County (H) W2-1 3883 (506) Smith Briscoe
Hayes & Yeading United (A) W3-1 487 (away att unknown) Howell Dyer Green
Wrexham (H) W2-0 3665 (184) Howell Marriott!
Kidderminster Harriers (A) W3-0 3565 (674) Stevenson Briscoe Green
‘She wore a yellow ribbon in the merry month of May’ is the song we were all whistling as we headed into May, hopeful it would be the month which sealed our return to the Football League after four long seasons away. The achievements made, the ground covered and the journey had been incredible but with two games between a return to Wembley and a play-off final, everything counted for absolutely nothing.
York City had finished in fourth place following the final day of the season meaning York’s Bootham Crescent was the destination for the play-off semi-final first leg. We nearly sold our allocation and the terraces behind the goal we’re packed solid – the noise once more phenomenal. The hosts enjoyed early pressure and forced a system change early on with skipper Murray rallying the troops, Ross Dyer was the one to break the deadlock, heading home Exodus Geohaghon’s throw on 26 minutes, putting life into the Stags after they’d seen York have a goal ruled out for offside, a blatant penalty appeal turned down, Matt Green a second away from serious injury and Martin Riley substituted with injury. It was nervy and the hosts did threaten going forward but in fairness, never looked like going that extra step and scoring, it took an unfortunate own goal from Exodus Geohaghon to level the match. Matt Green then picked up a second yellow card during the second half seconds before he was due to be substituted for what looked a very silly handball – resilient defending at the back was matched by several close calls at the other end, taking a 1-1 draw back to the One Call Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday, a place where the Stags we’re unbeaten since November.
The second leg sticks in our memory like a horrid taste sticks in the back of a dry throat, a complete sell out watched on as we failed to break the deadlock in normal time and the match head into extra time. Michael Ingham kept out Lindon Meikle in the opening seconds of extra time and as the clock ticked on, it just wasn’t meant to be – the winning goal being sealed by Matty Blair in the 110th minutes as Stags switched off. Ritchie Sutton was then dismissed for a second yellow card before the clock eventually ran out and our hearts broken once more.
It took me a year to get the image of Chris Senior celebrating at Wembley after winning the FA Trophy for Darlington, the image of EVERY Stags player in tears on the pitch whilst York celebrate will probably last a lot longer, trust me when I say I’ve woken up shivering and drowned in cold swet reliving that horrid moment – we’d come so far I thought our time had come. I finish writing this on Saturday 19th May, I honestly thought I’d be sat here writing a match preview rather than season review, I though tomorrow I’d be gracing the Wembley press box once more as my team fly back to the Football League, alas no – I shall be here, on the sofa watching repeats of only fools and horses on GOLD, playing the long waiting game before our fifth season in the BSBP commences.
2011-12 was the season of dreams, but the horrid reality of a dream is that no matter how epic, how enjoyable they may be – you’ll be awoken by the harsh reality sooner rather than later. May was tough, it was heart breaking and in the end, we achieved nothing bar another ocean of tears, but do you know what? I’m so bloody proud of Mansfield Town FC and the journey that sadly, came to an abrupt end.
Fixtures, Results, Attendances, Goal Scorers
York (A) D1-1 6057 (1352) Dyer
York (H) L1-0 AET 7294 (1490)
As I say for it to end in such a heartbreaking way a second season running was difficult to take, I didn’t answer my phone for days after, I barley ate and couldn’t face going outside –eventually my numbness passed and the bigger picture had emerged. It had ended in heartbreak yes, and true in terms of promotions etc we’d achieved absolutely nothing but the truth is that was by far the best season I’ve witnessed for so many different reasons both on and off the pitch. Mansfield Town FC had before been like many other football clubs, two separate entity’s the fans and the players – Paul Cox changed that, the lads changed that – we merged into one, one team, one family, one unit with a whole lot of love and belief: that in itself is victory – and its’ that which will make this summer one of smiles rather than one of sorrow, our song isn’t ending it’s only just beginning.
Paul Cox has signed his two year deal and has already began work to strengthen behind the scenes rather than rebuild, because for once we don’t need to strip the walls bare and relay every bricks, we don’t need to paper over the cracks and be a patch work side – we just need to channel our united energy into next season and the reward will come, of that I’m sure.
Below I’ll pick a few favourite moments and highlights, but that’s just to give this blog closure – the whole season has been phenomenal, I can’t wait for the next one! May I just take this opportunity now to thank each and every one of you for reading this and indeed every blog we post, as well as listening to our shows and podcasts – together we are one, together, we are Mansfield Town FC, until next time, have a great summer!
Best Game: The obvious choices of Barrow, Newport and Alfreton for the high score lines spring to mind, however my personal favourite is Lincoln at home for the historical importance but more so, Fleetwood home. The match against the league champions was played in front of an electric atmosphere and demonstrated exactly who and what we were, ever giving up, matching the league front runners toes for toe, blade of grass for blade of grass – I could watch that game over and over.
Best Goal: Blimey there are a few to pick from, my choice may be a little controversial and get tongues wagging but apart from Howell at Alfreton, it’s the one I could watch from every angle and not get bored. Louis Briscoe against Stockport at home, the pressure from Geohaghon’s throw, the tackle and pass from Murray and then the finish, without even looking, one hit, wonderful curl straight into the top corner – wonder technique.
Best Signing: I have three that I can’t separate in honesty – Ben Futcher is the first on my list, coming in and stabilising a crumbling defence and such an early stage. Matt Green’s permanent arrival in January is certainly up there, we wouldn’t have finished where we did without his goals, that and his all round play has been a joy to watch. The third is obvious, Gary Roberts has changed the dynamic of how we play, he is something else both on and off the ball, a real asset and credit to Paul Cox’s persistence.
In the coming weeks I’ll bring you some story’s from ‘behind the scenes’ as it where plus my end of season report on all the players and try to pick my ‘team of the season’ – a tough choice!
Players used during the season: Alan Marriott, Tom Naylor, Joe Kendrick, Jon Worthington, John Thompson, Martin Riley, Louis Briscoe, Lee Stevenson, Paul Connor, Matt Rhead, Matt Green, Adam Murray, Paul Bolland, Ross Dyer, Luke O’Neill, Ritchie Sutton, Matt Bell, Adam Smith, Andy Todd, Anthony Howell, Rhys Day, Shane Redmond, Lindon Meikle, Nick Wood, Adam Somes (Youth), Ben Hutchinson, Nick Hegarty and Gary Roberts
Loan players used: Paul Edwards (Fleetwood), Ben Futcher (Bury), Louis Moult (Stoke), Exodus Geohaghon (Darlington), Danny Andrew (Cheltenham), Kieron Freeman (Nottingham Forest), John Dempster (Crawley), Nialle Rodney (Bradford), Marcus Kelly (Kettering) and Aman Verma (Kettering).
Players not used: Sam Craven (on a duel registration with Hednesford Town), Neil Collett and Danny Mitchley.
Achievements/ Records matched/ broken
· 10th September 2011 (Post Newport H) Four consecutive victories for the first time since 2003
· 10th September 2011 (Post Newport H) Fourth consecutive clean sheet for the first time since April 1997 when we kept SIX consecutive clean sheets (three wins, three draws)
· 10th September 2011 (Post Newport H) Four consecutive victories AND consecutive clean sheets since May 1997 – one shy of the club record of FIVE
· 17th September 2011 (In game: Barrow A) Louis Almond’s 25th minute goal saw the Stags run of not conceding come to an end, the Stags locking the door for 397 minutes of football
· 17th September 2011 (Post Barrow A) Five consecutive victories for the first time since October 1991
· 1st October 2011 (In Game: Forest Green A) Ross Dyer scores possibly the fastest ever Stags goal after 17 seconds of play.
· 25th February 2012 (Post Tamworth H) four consecutive home wins for the first time since 2008-09 season
· 1st March 2012 John Radford secures a 10 year lease on Field Mill to allow promotion and takes full ownership of the ground the following morning
· 3rd March 2012 (Post Lincoln H) five consecutive home wins for the first time since August/ September 2008
· 11th March 2012 Barrow at home becomes the highest win recorded by a Stags side outside the football league
· 11th March 2012 Stags score seven for the first time since Boxing Day 1994 (a 7-1 win over Hereford)
· 11th March 2012 Victory over Barrow goes onto the list of highest scoring wins (seven goal margin) Rotherham H 9-2 (1932) / QPR H 8-1 (1965) / Scunthorpe H 7-0 (1975)
· 11th March 2012 – Mansfield’s first 7-0 victory since Scunthorpe at home in 1975
· 20th March (In Game Alfreton A) Matt Green becomes Mansfield’s highest goal scorer over the past nine seasons with his second of the night taking him to 26, one ahead of Mickey Boulding who bagged 25 in the 2007-08 season
· 14th April 2012 – Following victory at Hayes and Yeading United, the Stags clocked up ten away wins for the first time since the 1991-92 season
· 14th April 2012 – following victory at Hayes and Yeading, Mansfield passed their highest points total ever, moving onto 83 points, the passed the club record of 81 set in the 1985/86 campaign
· AWAY from home it was the first time since the 1994-95 season that our away WINS total was higher than our AWAY defeats total
· 28th April 2012 (In Game: Kidderminster A) Matt Green becomes the first Stags player since Ray Clarke (1974-75 season) to reach 30 goals in a season
· 28th April 2012: Victory at Kidderminster was the sixth on the bounce, the first time since October 1991 a Mansfield side has won six on the bounce (home and away)
· 28th April 2012: The three goals scored at Kidderminster propelled us to a record of sorts, taking us to 37 away goals scored, our highest total in ten seasons
· 20th April 2012 (In Game: Wrexham H) Alan Marriott’s 96 yard goal Mansfield’s 50th home goal of the season, the first time that mark has been reached since the 1976-77 campaign
· 20th April 2012 CLUB RECORD: final points total of 89
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PHOTOS: James Williamson / Dan Westwell
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