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Archived News from March 2004

18th March 2004 22:24

Two teams that have faltered badly after the turn of the year are facing each other on Saturday for a crunch promotion and play-offs battle. The Stags have lost five of their last seven league games while Oxford – the draw kings of this division – won their first game in six the other day by beating Cheltenham at home thanks to a hotly disputed first-half penalty and even surrendered their unbeaten home record on March 6, when fellow play-offs and promotion hopefuls Huddersfield won by the only goal of the game.

When Mansfield gained their first-ever promotion way back in 1962-63, Oxford United enjoyed their first taste of league soccer. Oxford, who until 1960 were known as Headington United, were elected in place of Accrington Stanley and finished 1962-63 in 18th position. Nevertheless, the clubs won one home game apiece in the 1962-63 season, the Stags 3-2 on December 8, 1962 (Stags goals Morris pen, Askey and Chapman R in front of 7729) and Oxford at their old Manor Ground 3-0 on April 27, 1963.

Accrington Stanley (the old club, not the current one that accounted for two league sides and nearly for a third in this season's FA Cup) resigned with just two months left of the 1961-62 season in the old fourth.

While away league trips to Oxford have in the past not proved fruitful for the Stags except on one occasion up to the current season – and that was early on in the division 3 1976-77 Championship season when the Stags for the first time gained points at all at Oxford by winning 3-0 on September 7, 1976 thanks to goals from Colin Foster, Terry Eccles and Kevin Randall after leading 2-0 at half-time in front of 3822 – have home fixtures been more successful as Mansfield have won five out of the previous eight. Among these victories is the highest one,
achieved in the 1976-77 promotion season.

The home game on February 7, 1977 also ended 3-0 to the Stags in front of 8206 (those years the Stags played home midweek fixtures on Mondays) – Ernie Moss 2 and one strike from Kevin Bird hit the target – and that was during a period when the Mighty Stags won twelve games out of fourteen between December 18, 1976 and March 8, 1977. In fact, the Stags have scored in ALL previous home league outings against the “U”s.

Another memorable victory was the one achieved on February 3, 1968. The Stags enjoyed their best winning run that season – when they stayed up due to the demotion of Peterborough - around the time of that game and a Peter Morris penalty watched by 6111 was enough to clinch the fifth consecutive league win. At that time, Oxford, who three months later were to be division 3 Champions, had failed to win away! They had to wait yet another month, until March 16, 1968, to record their first away win – a 1-0 at Grimsby. Must be some kind of record when a club finishing the season as champs has to wait 18 away games for the first away win – albeit with nine games being drawn!

Earlier this season the Stags were first to take points at Oxford. The game on September 13, 2003, was drawn 1-1, both goals coming in the second half, Wanless giving Oxford the lead, Mackenzie equalizing for the Stags with about ten minutes to go. In the 2001-02 promotion season, the Stags won the corresponding home game 2-1 thanks to two first-half goals by David Kelly and Adam Murray. Les Robinson – long time playing for Oxford – was in the Stags line-up for that game.

The teams also met in the FA Cup 1st round in 2001-02 when an early Chris Greenacre strike secured a place in the 2nd round. But in fact, Oxford were stuffed and the Stags should have won by a higher margin.

And the first time the clubs faced each other in cup competitions was way back in 1964-65. The season before had Oxford become the first team from the old fourth division to reach the quarter-finals – but in 1964-65 that counted for nothing as the Stags won a 1st round fixture at Manor Ground by the only goal of the game with Hall on target.

The late Gordon Hodgson was transferred from the Stags to Oxford early on in the 1978-79 season but did not play in any of the Stags v Oxford league fixtures that season. But he was in the Oxford side that lost to a first-half Terry Austin strike at Field Mill on September 15, 1979.

... and the teams have yet to play a goal-less league and cup game.

Played for both sides: Keith Cassells, Gordon Hodgson, Les Robinson, Mick Vinter

Home: P 8, W 5, D 2, L 1, GF 13, GA 9
Away: P 9, W 1, D 1, L 7, GF 11, GA 21

Season Home Date Away Date

1962-63 3-2 1962-12-08 0-3 1963-04-27 Div 4 (old)
1965-66 1-4 1966-01-01 1-4 1965-10-09 Div 3 (old)
1966-67 1-1 1966-10-08 1-2 1967-02-25 Div 3 (old)
1967-68 1-0 1968-03-02 0-2 1967-09-23 Div 3 (old)
1976-77 3-0 1977-02-07 3-0 1976-09-07 Div 3 (old)
1978-79 1-1 1979-05-14 2-3 1978-09-27 Div 3 (old)
1979-80 1-0 1979-09-15 1-3 1980-02-02 Div 3 (old)
2001-02 2-1 2002-03-09 2-3 2001-12-15 Div 3
2003-04 (at Oxford) 1-1 2003-09-13 Div 3

Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)

Details on league and FA Cup games in the 1960's courtesy of the centenary book


Latest | March 2004