Following the dramatic, to print the least, home fixture against Cheltenham last weekend, won in injury-time, the Stags travel to Morecambe this weekend.
A Morecambe team now in their eleventh consecutive League Two campaign and have during their FL stay called upon just TWO 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 has remained in the Morecambe hot seat ever since. And he will remain there for a further three years, as he extended his managerial contract immediately after a home defeat against Crawley two months before Morecambe’s trip to the Stags just before last Christmas. Proof of not panicking when results go wrong.
Last season, the sides won their respective away games. On Boxing Day last year, 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 last year, when the Stags won 3-1 at Morecambe, all goals coming in the first half.
In the last two seasons respectively, Morecambe lost thirteen games at home, yet stayed up.
And one of Morecambe’s home defeats two seasons ago came against the Stags. The original game was due to being played on Boxing Day 2015, but was postponed due to poor weather. When that fixture was played, the writing below was appropriate prior to the Stags’ home fixture against the Shrimps.
“Sometimes you win in the 90th minute, sometimes you get a draw in the 90th minute and sometimes you lose in the 90th minute. These things are very appropriate when you talk of the teams playing at One Call Stadium this weekend, the Stags and Morecambe. And this will be the return of the one played at Morecambe a little more than a week ago”.
At Morecambe’s Globe Arena, 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’s 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.
Two seasons ago, 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.
Three seasons ago, 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.
Yet Morecambe are now in their eleventh FL season, having managed much on limited resources and low home gates. Stability at the manager post as their manager, Jim Bentley, now is the second longest-serving boss in League Two behind Paul Tisdale who has been Exeter boss since 2006.
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.
The current Stags boss, Steve Evans, bossed Crawley when they were victims of their heaviest-ever defeat as a League club, and this was a 6-0 reverse at Morecambe on September 10, 2011.
Although Morecambe never had met the Stags in any competition before the 2007-08 season, the Shrimps had reached the third round of the FA Cup on three occasions. The first one was way back in 1961-62 after beating Chester away in the second round. In the third round, Morecambe were drawn at home to another non-league side, Weymouth. In front of a record crowd, over 9000, at Christie Park, the South Coast side went through by the only goal of the game and were rewarded with a good fourth round tie at Preston, losing only 3-1. Little did Morecambe and Weymouth know then, that the sides were to face each other chasing conference points some 44 years later! During the 21st century, Morecambe have reached the third round twice and on both occasions been drawn to Ipswich, one at home and one in Suffolk.
The sides have yet to draw a League fixture.
Just before last Christmas, the Stags ran out 2-1winners thanks to a late Danny Rose strike a few minutes before full-time. Then, harsh on Morecambe, who earlier this week drew 1-1 at Newport and have lost just once in their five latest League Two fixtures. So a tight game is to be expected. Come on Mansfield!
Played for both sides: Dave Artell, Simon Grand, Kevan Hurst, James Jennings, Keith Kennedy, Fraser McLachlan, Vadaine Oliver, Adam Rundle, James Sutton, Brian Thomson, Neil Wainwright, Laurence Wilson.
Previous FL games:
Home games: P 6, W 3, D 0, L 3, GF 7, GA 7
Away games: P 5, W 3, D 0, L 2, GF 8, GA 7
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 2016-12-16 3-1 2017-03-25 League Two
2017-18 2-1 2017-12-23 (at Mansfield) League Two