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Archived News from September 2004

9th September 2004 18:04

When Cambridge United had their first-ever taste of league football in 1970-71 after being elected at the expense of Bradford Park Avenue, they fielded two ex-Stags players. But none of them figured in Cambridge's first-ever league game, a 1-1 home draw against Lincoln on August 15, 1970.

The ex-Stags were two forwards: John Gregson (74+2 sub games for the Stags, five goals), who figured in Cambridge's first-ever league win, a 3-1 at home to Oldham on August 29, 1970, and Ivan Hollett, who started his league career at the Stags with 99 games and 40 goals to his credit before going to the arch-rivals Chesterfield (65 goals in 157 games for the Spireites). During the 1970-71 season, Hollett came to Cambridge from Crewe and was to be their top league scorer with 11 goals in 29 games. But those two players were no more on United's books when the teams faced each other for the first time in the 1972-73 season.

The Stags won their home game early on that season 3-1 (Stags: Fairbrother, Longhorn, Walker; Cambridge: Lill, attendance: 5,216) – and the return game at Cambridge was to be a promotion decider at Abbey Stadium.
No wonder then that the game on April 28, 1973, attracted Cambridge's highest home crowd that season, 10,542! At the end of that day, Cambridge won 3-2 (Cambridge scorers Walton 2, Ross pen, Stags scorers McCaffrey, Dudley Roberts) and gained promotion instead of the Stags.

But 12 months later, Cambridge were back in the basement and that 1974-75 Stags first-ever championship season also saw the only FA-Cup tie so far between the sides. A 3rd round tie at Field Mill saw the Stags through with a Ray Clarke strike in front of 10486 on January 4, 1975.. A brief view of the stats show that the sides had up to September 27, 2003, each won six home games each out of eight – and a draw and an away win each – and the last meeting prior to last season produced the most goals scored as Cambridge won their home game on March 20, 1999 with 7-2. Arjan van Heusden was the Cambridge goalie in that fixture.

After the 2-4 away defeat on October 5, 1985, the Stags won four games on the trot to go top of the old fourth division and the 2-2 draw at Field Mill on September 18, 1990, was the Stags solitary home point in the first seven games of the 1990-91 season .... and the Stags have scored in every league game bar one – the away game on February 28, 1998, against the 1989-90 and 1990-91 FA cup giant killers, reaching the quarter-finals on both occasions.

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

This was also proved in an epic encounter on September 27, 2003. The Stags had opened the scoring through Disley halfway through the first half. Then Christie and Day were red-carded before the closure of the first half. Many, including myself internet-checking the game while on my newspaper covering the final day of my local FA 2003 season, wondered if the Stags should hold on? Incredibly, they did. Two penalties were essential ingredients in the second-half mix. While Cambridge wasted theirs, Walker's kick saved by Pilkington, the Stags converted their spot-kick through Lawrence to 2-0 up with nine men! And the Mighty Stags won 2-1. And at Field Mill, Cambridge equalized by the help of an injury-time Tudor free-kick – after Mendes have given the Stags the lead an hour into that fixture.

The September result was typical of Cambridge's odd results last season. The “U's” lost ten home games last season, only surpassed on the final day by Southend - and won fewer at headquarters than any other side, while their away record was better than the ones achieved by two of the promoted sides, Torquay and Huddersfield – and on goal difference, one goal worse than the one of the Stags.

The Stags go into Saturday's game at Cambridge on a high after two 4-1 home thrashings – Yeovil and Northampton being the victims big style – seeing Mansfield in 5th position while Cambridge are well inside the bottom half – only one point off Conference relegation places – after just one win and three draws out of the first seven games – and four League fixtures without a win – the latest being lost 2-1 at Boston.

Another interesting fact is that both sides have had a Colin Foster in their league line-up. While the Stags had one during the mid-seventies Championship seasons and the 1977-78 solitary season in the old 2nd division, Cambridge had one some twenty years later.

Played for both sides: Neville Chamberlain, Efon Elad, Scott Eustace, Gerald Graham, John Gregson, Arjan van Heusden, Ivan Hollett, David Lyon, Neil MacKenzie, Colin Toon..

Stats file:

Home: P 9, W 6, D 2, L 1, GF 17, GA 11
Away: P 9, W 2, D 1, L 6, GF 14, GA 23

Season Home Date Away Date

1972-73 3-1 1972-08-30 2-3 1973-04-28 Div 4 (old)
1974-75 2-1 1975-03-07 2-2 1974-09-24 Div 4 (old)
1985-86 2-0 1986-03-08 2-4 1985-10-05 Div 4 (old)
1990-91 2-2 1990-09-18 1-2 1991-02-01 Div 3 (old)
1995-96 2-1 1996-01-23 2-0 1996-03-23 Div 3
1996-97 1-0 1997-03-01 1-2 1996-03-12 Div 3
1997-98 3-2 1997-11-10 0-2 1998-02-28 Div 3
1998-99 1-3 1998-10-31 2-7 1999-03-20 Div 3
2003-04 1-1 2004-04-03 2-1 2003-09-27 Div 3

FA Cup

1974-75 1-0 1975-01-04 (at Field Mill) FA Cup 3rd round

Details from various sources, i.e. the history CD, soccernet, the centenary book

Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)


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