After having started 2019 with two away games, the first at Grimsby being won, the second at Carlisle which ended our 17-game unbeaten League Two run last Saturday, the Stags are at home now. And the opponents are Yeovil Town, who we drew to a 2-2 scoreline down in Somerset last August, all goals coming inside the first twenty-six minutes at Huish Park.
Then, Yeovil looked a good side, which was to be proved in away routs of Notts County to a 4-0 scoreline and at Newport to the tune of 6-0 in mid-September. Then, it looked like Yeovil were to avoid the bottom-half struggles of recent seasons. But since the convincing win at Newport, Yeovil have won only once (1-0 at Carlisle last October) and lost seven out of their ten latest League Two fixtures, also kayoed out of the FA Cup at home to Stockport, now in National League North.
A little more than two years ago, the game at One Call Stadium early on, became ranked among the most heroic Stags games the previewer has ever checked, ranking among the Cambridge one in September 2003 and the AFC Wimbledon one in December 2014. The reason for that is that the Stags in those games had players red-carded, still won. In the case of the Yeovil game at One Call, the Stags had a player sent off after just eight minutes, yet managed three points thanks to a Matt Green penalty, a stonewall one, converted midway through the second half.
During Yeovil’s second FL season, they were scoring goals left right and centre, also conceding quite a lot. The Glovers then netted 90 times, but also conceded 65, three more than did then relegated Cambridge during the 2004-05 season, which gave Yeovil their second championship within three year as the Glovers had won the current National League in big style just two seasons earlier. No wonder that Yeovil played no goal-less fixture in their second FL season.
The feat of scoring and conceding goals left, right and centre was proved in the Stags v Yeovil fixtures during the 2004-05 campaign. Early on that season, Yeovil travelled to Mansfield on a 2004 August Bank Holiday Monday and succumbed to a three-goal blitz inside six minutes midway through the second half. After the goal blitz, Adam Murray, who managed the Stags by the time of last season’s home fixture, came on as sub.
At Yeovil later on that term, it was the Glovers’ turn to score three times inside ten minutes to win 5-2 at Huish Park, a scoreline that was harsh on the Stags. A few weeks later, Yeovil were crowned champions.
Last season, the sides played out a dour goal-less draw at One Call Stadium.
The Yeovil promotion to the FL then was long overdue as the Glovers for years had been one of the leading sides outside the FL, renowned for FA Cup giant-killings over the years.
Before their entry into the Football league in 2003, Yeovil were known as FA Cup giant-killers big style. On more than twenty occasions did the Glovers dump a league side out of the Cup. And the most memorable day in Yeovil’s glorious Cup history was as far back as January 29, 1949. On this day, the Glovers kayoed the then First Division eight-placed team Sunderland 2-1 in the fourth round at home, and this result must surely rank among the greatest FA cup giant-killings of all time! And to top that, the Yeovil winning goal was secured by an ex-Stag. Eric Bryant sent whole Somerset wild by netting the winner. Bryant had previously scored 17 goals in 35 league fixtures for the Stags, 15 of them in the 1946-47 season when the Stags finished bottom of the old div 3 (S).
In the previous round, Yeovil had disposed of Bury, then playing in the old 2nd division, at home to a 3-1 scoreline. Other teams that have been kayoed by Yeovil over the years include Crystal Palace, Fulham, Blackpool and Colchester, the latter two in the 2000-01 season when the Glovers nearly accounted for Bolton in the third round.
Last season, Yeovil reached the FA Cup fourth round and were kayoed at home by Manchester United, and five years ago, Yeovil reached their FL peak by beating Brentford 2-1 in the League One playoff final, earning the right to face sides like Leicester, Burnley and Huddersfield in the Championship. A huge achievement.
After the departure of Paul Sturrock, Darren Way, who played in both fixtures against the Stags in 2004-05 just like he did in the Glovers’first-ever FL campaign and as a player oversaw Yeovil’s march from the current National League to League One in over 200 games, took over the Glovers’ managerial post. And he extended his Yeovil stay in mid-November. Proof of sticking to a boss when things go tough.
Three former Stags players starred for Yeovil this term: Daniel Alfei, Oscar Gobern and Alex Fisher. Before this season, a Yeovil player travelled the other way: Otis Khan. And another of this season’s Stags new recruits,
Craig Davies, played for the Glovers on loan from Brighton on four occasions, two as sub, during the 2009-10 League One campaign, while Yoann Arquin, scorer of a magnificent injury-time equalizer for the Stags in a classic 4-4-draw against Accrington in February 2017, is now playing for Yeovil.
Interestingly enough, the Yeovil goalie in the first-ever FL clash between the sides almost fifteen years ago, Chris Weale, played for Derby County U 23 against the Stags in the Football League Trophy almost two years ago.
Played for both sides: Daniel Alfei, George Anderson, Yoann Arquin, Fergus Bell, Kim Book, Eric Bryant, David Coles, Craig Davies, Derek Dawkins, Alex Fisher, Oscar Gobern, Martin Gritton, Fred Holbeach, Henry Jones, Jake Kean, Otis Khan, William Kirk, John McClelland, Paul McLoughlin, John Mitten, Kenneth Murray, Kieran Murtagh, Gary Roberts, Jack Roy, Brian Thompson, Paul Warne, Jonathan Worthington. And apart from the above-mentioned Bryant, the Stags’ first-ever international John McClelland is best known. He played a couple of games for the Glovers at the end of their 1993-94 Conference campaign. Jake Kean was Yeovil goalie on loan during a handful League One games three seasons ago.
Home: P 5, W 2, D 1, L 2, GF 5, GA 3
Away: P 6, W 2, D 3 L 1, GF 9, GA 10
Season Home Date Away Date
2003-04 0-1 2003-09-20 1-1 2004-03-27 Div 3
2004-05 4-1 2004-08-30 2-5 2005-04-09 League Two
2015-16 0-1 2016-05-03 1-0 2015-10-21 League Two
2016-17 1-0 2016-08-16 0-0 2017-02-28 League Two
2017-18 0-0 2017-12-16 3-2 2018-04-28 League Two
2018-19 (at Huish Park) 2-2 2018-08-11 League Two
Will the Stags bounce back now? Remains to be seen. Come on Mansfield!