While the Stags managed a dramatic 99th (!) minute equalizer at Notts County last weekend, our next opponents, Forest Green Rovers lost last Tuesday at Crewe to a 3-1 scoreline in a fixture which saw two ex-Stags, namely Lee Collins and Chris Clements, in the FGR starting line-up.
This will be the Stags’ first trip to the New Lawn in League Two as all previous visits to that ground took place during the Stags’ five seasons outside the FL. Add to that, a First Round FA Cup game there during the same period of time.
The Stags’ latest visit to FGR took place nearly exactly five years ago. Before that game, the Stags had broken their record of consecutive league victories by beating Grimsby to a 2-0 scoreline at headquarters. Three days later, the Stags travelled to the New Lawn and recorded an important hard-fought 2-1 victory on the way to the title. The Stags’ line-up then on March 15, 2013, included a player who two seasons earlier had starred for Forest Green and had played in both games against the Stags, including the game which was to be Dave Holdsworth’s last as Stags boss on November 13, 2010. The name: Luke Jones.
Earlier this season, the Stags ran out as solid 2-0 winners at One Call Stadium. That was not only the Stags’ sixth home win out of six against Forest Green, also the first-ever FGR League Two defeat.
And in each and every home game during this stage against Forest Green, the Stags ran out as winners. The most recent one of those was a very late crucial one. An 89th minute Matt Rhead header in front of just 60 FGR fans sealed the tie in the Stags’ favour. And that was in fact the highest FGR turnout at Mansfield during these years, a turnout that was more than doubled as 147 FGR fans watched the first-ever Forest Green away FL fixture in their history and also, as noted above, their first-ever Football League defeat.
Fact is also that Forest Green have yet to play a goal-less FL fixture despite drawing seven games, five of those away. And FGR are still in danger of being the first club promoted to the FL to go straight down. But after the Stags home game, they will face sides like Barnet, Chesterfield, and on the last day, Grimsby Town. Could be decisive as also other relegation rivals Barnet and Chesterfield face each other. While the Stags should at least make the playoffs.
As Forest Green won the promotion playoff final against Tranmere Rovers last term, they no longer were the
longest-serving National League side. They made their debut way back in 1998-99, then playing against i.e. Doncaster and Hereford, and were reprieved from relegation on two occasions, 2004-05 when Northwich took voluntary relegation and again in 2009-10, when Salisbury were thrown out for the first time at the end of that season.
There has been some player traffic between the two clubs in recent seasons. Since the end of the 2009-10 campaign, Forest Green had Craig Armstrong as player coach as well as Luke Jones, who scored TWICE against Forest Green in a man-of-the-match-performance when the Stags overturned a half-time 1-0 deficit into a convincing 4-1 victory at The New Lawn on January 30, 2010.
In the 2008-09 season, the Stags faced Forest Green for the first time ever. Below a rundown of those fixtures:
In the away fixture on November 22, 2008, the Stags were unlucky to lose by the only goal of the game, while the home one on March 14, 2009, was to be a record-breaker as the 3-0 home victory then was to the Stags' sixth consecutive home fixture without conceding a single goal. The stats, then included on the Stagsnet latest news page, showed these figures:
* 1-0 against Crawley on January 17, 2009
* 0-0 against Rushden & Diamonds on January 28, 2009
* 1-0 against York on February 7, 2009
* 0-0 against Kettering on February 17, 2009
* 1-0 against Lewes on March 7, 2009
* 3-0 against Forest Green on March 14, 2009
In total, it was to be 656 minutes, between the 37th minute in the home game against Burton on December 29, 2008, and the 63rd minute of the home game against Torquay on March 28, 2009, when Blair Sturrock (later to play for the Stags) equalized for the Gulls in the 1-1 draw at Field Mill. This was also in the spell of fifteen Field Mill games without defeat at Field Mill under David Holdsworth, ended by very controversial officiating by the most hated official ever in Mansfield (name not included here, print no more) against Stevenage a few weeks before the BSP 2009-10 home fixture against Forest Green.
More details on previous Stags v FGR fixtures are found in the Match Centre.
Here are some facts about Forest Green:
Two successive promotions in the late nineties enabled FGR to play in the Conference from 1998-99 onwards.
First in 1996-97, winning the Southern League Southern Division title, and in the following campaign, the championship of the Southern League Premier Division. And Forest Green's first-ever Conf game ended in a 2-0 defeat at home to Rushden & Diamonds on August 15, 1998. But Forest Green's first ever Conf three-pointer was gained on September 5, 1998 at, of all places, Doncaster! This was in Doncaster's darkest hours following their relegation from the Football League in 1997-98.
Most of Forest Green's National League campaigns were those of avoiding relegation. But in the 2007-08 season, they finished a then best-ever eight, and started the 2008-09 campaign very well. After six games, Forest Green were inside the playoffs position. But a number of injuries contributed to FGR plummeting down the table into the relegation zone after playing twelve BSP games without winning before the home game against the Stags. But Jim Harvey, formerly long.time boss at Morecambe, did steer his side into the third round of the FA Cup for the first time ever. Well there, Forest Green were rewarded with a plum home tie against the 2007-08 season's PL whipping-boys Derby County (yet all the Rams' last seven PL games were sell-outs!!!) and made a very good account for the BSP by only going down by the odd goal in seven. In that game, Derby were really on the brink of crashing out in front of a very good crowd, 4836. Beat that, some League Two sides! In the end, Forest Green stayed up due to a large number of away draws, ten in all.
Yet a few players have appeared for the Stroud side as well as for the Stags. Best known are Ryan Williams and Jefferson Louis. Both players also starred for Weymouth and came from the Terras to the Stags, Williams was in his second Stags spell before leaving for Gainsborough, while Jefferson Louis while at Wrexham hit his best-ever scoring run for any club he has played for, he has now played for more than a dozen clubs having appeared in the BSP in previewing history. Louis and Williams played for Forest Green in the 2004-05, but not together. Another one, found while doing the preview of last season's home fixture, but not found in November 2008, was the late Matt Gadsby, whose last BSP station was Forest Green, also in 2004-05. Gadsby played 66 games in two seasons for the Stroud side, and together with Louis and Williams. Luke Graham, who as a Luton player who caused the penalty which on the rebound sent the Stags to Wembley in 2011, has had two spells at Forest Green. And the first-ever player to play for both sides in the FL is Lee Collins, who played the full 90 minutes of Forest Green’s first-ever FL game on an opening day which saw a staggering amount of 50 goals scored, including Yeovil’s highest-ever FL defeat, 8-2 at Luton, while last season’s National League winners, Lincoln, managed a 2-2 draw at Wycombe. The second player to have played FL games for both the Stags and FGR is Chris Clements, eight FGR games on loan from Barrow.
All the players who have been traced playing for both sides are listed below. Here they are:
James Alabi, Tomi Ameobi, Craig Armstrong, Michael Brough, Jon Challinor, Chris Clements, Lee Collins, Ross Dyer, Matt Gadsby, Luke Graham, Guy Ipoua, James Jennings, Luke Jones, Marcus Kelly, Paul McLoughlin, Gary Mills, Jefferson Louis, Aaron O’Connor, Mark Preece, Richard Smith, Matt Somner, Thomas Stanton, Paul Stonehouse, Alex Sykes, Sam Wedgbury, Ryan Williams.
Home: P 6, W 6, D 0, L 0, GF 11, GA 1
Away: P 5, W 2, D 1, L 2, GF 8, GA 6
2008-09 3-0 2009-03-14 0-1 2008-11-22 BSP
2009-10 1-0 2009-10-03 4-1 2010-01-30 BSP
2010-11 3-1 2010-08-14 1-2 2010-11-13 BSP
2011-12 1-0 2012-01-07 1-1 2011-10-01 BSP
2012-13 1-0 2012-10-13 2-1 2013-03-15 BSP
2017-18 2-0 2017-08-12 (at Mansfield) League Two
2009-10 1-1 2009-11-07 1st round at The New Lawn
2009-10 1-2 2009-11-17 1st round replay at Field Mill
About time to end the 1-1 sequence and win again. Come on Mansfield!
Stockholm, July 4, 2008, 15.00 GMT. Good news came, K.H. gone. March 1, 2012. Ground purchased.