{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from March 2004

28th March 2004 21:18

Torquay were among the founder members of the old division 3 (S) in the 1920's and stayed there all the time up to 1957-58 when the old divisions 3 and 4 were formed. The Gulls, having narrowly failed to gain promotion in to the old 2nd division in 1956-57, when only goal-average separated them and Ipswich Town, fared much worse in 1957-58 and as a result of that they became founder members of the old 4th division in 1958-59. Therefore the Gulls also played the Stags when they spent four seasons in the Southern section – and the teams have also played one expunged division 3 (S) game – a 2-2 draw at Plainmoor on September 2, 1939 (scorers Akers and Ward), game NOT included in the stats below – competition then cancelled due to outbreak of the 2nd World War. And when league football was resumed in 1946-47, the teams also met early at Torquay. Again the game ended in a 2-2 draw! This happened on September 7, 1946 when Eric Bryant netted twice for the Stags. Bryant was a little more than two years later to become Yeovil hero big style by netting the winner in an epic FA Cup 4th round home fixture against Sunderland.

Since the 1966-67 season, the teams have met very frequently in the two lower divisions of the league as the teams were relegated together from the old 3rd division in 1971-72 despite both teams then beating the champs Aston Villa (Stags did it away 1-0 while the Gulls did that at home 2-1 ten days prior to the Stags winning 1-0 at Plainmoor that season). In the late sixties, Stags league fixtures against the Gulls both home and away were very successful as the Stags completed four doubles in a row over Torquay, the most important one in 1967-68 when the Stags won both fixtures 2-0, thus ensuring that the Gulls finished just three points below Bury in second promotion spot in the old third – long time it seemed that Torquay were to be runaway winners. The 2-0 home game on November 18, 1967, scorers Melling and Rowland, attendance 5295, ended a very barren spell with just one league point in nine league games – and the goal-less draw in 1971-72 was the last of nine consecutive home games without scoring.

A curiousity is that one of the Stags scorers at Plainmoor on April 13, 1968 was John Rowlands, who later was to play for the Gulls.

Twice, the Stags have run out 4-0 winners. First time on March 8, 1939 in front of just 800! spectators who saw Gardner and Carter net twice apiece and second time in 1985-86 – that clipping of the Gulls ensured the Stags going top of the old fourth division on October 26, 1985 when 3506 watched two goals from Whatmore, one each from Lowery and Chamberlain completing the rout. On the other hand, Torquay have also twice ran out 4-0 winners in home games. The first one on a Sunday, March 10, 1974 – after the Stags had drawn 1-1 at Exeter the day before – this arrangement was surely due to the fuel crisis in 1974 – and the second one as late as in April 2000 during the Stags longest-ever spell without scoring a league goal.

The teams have also something else in common – both knocking Leeds and West Ham out of cup competitions!
While the Stags KO'ed West Ham in the FA Cup in 1968-69 and Leeds in the League cup in 1994, Torquay's disposals were in the FA Cup 3rd round. Leeds were routed 4-0 at home in a replay after a 2-2 draw at Leeds in 1954-55, West Ham narrowly beaten 1-0 at home in 1989-90. Apart from that, the Gulls also made the Spurs play a second time in 1964-65 after a 3rd round 3-3 draw at Plainmoor.

And this season, the Stags and the Gulls are the only teams to beat Hull away! And both sides needed only one strike to tame the Tigers.

Despite the long distance between the towns, yet quite a number of players have represented both sides. Among them are current Stags manager Keith Curle and a former one, George Foster. On the other hand, Don O'Riordan was Torquay hot-seat man between 1993 and 1995. And the manager of the first Stags championship side in 1974-75, Dave Smith, was in charge of the Gulls between 1989 and 1991 but left just before the end of the 1990-91 season and therefore wasn't in the hot seat when Torquay secured promotion after penalizing Blackpool at Wembley.

Midweek fixtures between the two teams are nothing new. As recently as in 2000-01, the teams played out a 2-2 draw in October 2000 in front of just 1880 at Plainmoor with Bacon and Greenacre as Stags scorers, Hill and Mendy replying for the Gulls. And the teams also met in the 2001-02 season. The home tie, attended by 4059 was also a midweek fixture, won 2-0 with Corden and Greenacre finding the net – and the away fixture on March 23, 2002 – just a month away from my first trip to Stagsland - was to be the ONLY goalless away draw that term.

This season, Torquay are challenging the playoffs positions as they did last season, narrowly falling to reach them then but have now only lost once in their last thirteen league outings - but have only won at Field Mill on four occasions, the first one being in the Stags inaugural league season on September 12, 1931, which also was the Stags first-ever home league defeat to the tune of 2-4 despite two Harry Johnson goals, thus opening his Stags league goals account. Attendance then: 8499. The 1-2 on April 8, 1963 in the Stags first-ever promotion season was attended by 14259! And the Stags have scored in all but three home fixtures against Torquay in league history – all being goal-less draws. And the one with the most goals at Field Mill was also the Stags first home league game this century with the Stags running out 4-3 winners – first win this century – with Boulding (2), Darrell Clarke and Chris Greenacre contributing in front of 2876.

Both sides normally in yellow come fresh from 1-1 away draws – the Stags in Somerset at Yeovil while the Gulls overcame an early set-back to equalize through danger-man Graham on the very long trek to Darlington.
Earlier this month, this game was called off shortly before kick-off due to a deteriorating pitch – a decision that caused dismay to fans from both clubs – considering the fact that some Torquay supporters actually had made the long 248 miles trip from Devon to watch the – not for the first time - midweek fixture between the promotion and playoff chasing sides.

Earlier this season, the Gulls won at Plainmoor thanks to a first-half Hockley scoring with the writer of these lines watching the game when starting my English holiday in Plymouth.

Played for both sides: Gary Chapman, Keith Curle, Dick Edwards, John Fairbrother, Fred Fisher, George Foster, Ian Hathaway, Arjan van Heusden, Joseph Hill, Walter Hunt, Pat Kruse, Arthur Phoenix, Don O'Riordan, Jason Rees, Darren Rowbotham, John Rowlands, Mark Sale, Arthur Weightman, Keith Welch.
Managed both sides: Dave Smith.

Home games: P 29, W 18, D 7, L 4, GF 54, GA 29
Away games: P 30, W 9, D 10, L 11, GF 30, GA 39

Season Home Date Away Date

1931-32 2-4 1931-09-12 2-2 1932-01-23 Div 3 (S)
1937-38 1-1 1937-09-18 1-0 1938-01-29 Div 3 (S)
1938-39 4-0 1939-03-08 0-3 1939-04-15 Div 3 (S)
1946-47 1-0 1947-01-04 2-2 1946-07-09 Div 3 (S)
1962-63 1-2 1963-04-08 3-3 1962-10-06 Div 4 (old)
1966-67 4-2 1966-10-31 2-1 1966-09-03 Div 3 (old)
1967-68 2-0 1967-11-18 2-0 1968-04-13 Div 3 (old)
1968-69 2-1 1968-08-17 1-0 1969-04-30 Div 3 (old)
1969-70 1-0 1970-03-21 2-0 1970-03-04 Div 3 (old)
1970-71 0-0 1971-03-13 0-0 1970-11-14 Div 3 (old)
1971-72 0-0 1971-12-04 1-0 1972-04-22 Div 3 (old)
1972-73 2-1 1973-04-14 1-1 1973-03-21 Div 4 (old)
1973-74 2-1 1973-10-27 0-4 1974-03-10 Div 4 (old)
1974-75 3-0 1975-01-18 2-0 1974-11-30 Div 4 (old)
1980-81 1-1 1980-11-08 1-1 1981-04-12 Div 4 (old)
1981-82 3-1 1982-05-01 0-2 1981-09-30 Div 4 (old)
1982-83 2-1 1982-12-17 1-3 1983-04-23 Div 4 (old)
1983-84 1-3 1983-10-15 0-1 1984-03-24 Div 4 (old)
1984-85 1-0 1984-10-13 0-1 1985-03-19 Div 4 (old)
1985-86 4-0 1985-10-26 2-1 1986-03-22 Div 4 (old)
1993-94 2-1 1994-04-09 0-1 1994-01-01 Div 3
1994-95 2-2 1995-04-29 1-2 1994-10-15 Div 3
1995-96 2-0 1996-04-23 1-1 1995-09-02 Div 3
1996-97 1-2 1996-10-29 2-1 1997-02-18 Div 3
1997-98 2-2 1998-04-11 1-2 1997-12-02 Div 3
1998-99 2-1 1998-10-09 0-0 1999-04-05 Div 3
1999-2000 4-3 2000-01-03 0-4 2000-04-08 Div 3
2000-01 0-0 2001-04-14 2-2 2000-10-24 Div 3
2001-02 2-0 2001-10-23 0-0 2002-03-23 Div 3
2003-04 (at Plainmoor) 0-1 2003-10-21 Div 3

Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)

Details on scorers in some games and attendance figures courtesy of the centenary book


Latest | March 2004