Following two unlucky defeats against playoff- and promotion-chasing opposition, the Stags now take on another side heavily involved in that mix, namely Bradford City.
This will also be a revenge mission, much needed, as the Stags’ final game in the calendar year of 2019 at Valley Parade ended in a 2-0 defeat thanks to two converted Bradford City penalties.
Now, this will be Bradford City’s first visit to Mansfield for little more than twelve years. Last time out, the sides played out the only goal-less Stags home draw that 2007-08 season, as the Stags missed a penalty during the game played on December 5, 2007.
The game at Bradford one months ago was the Stags game there on March 15,2008, ended in what was to be the Stags’ EFL away victory for five years, as goals from Nathan Arnold and Michael Boulding secured a 2-1 victory. And incidentally enough, the Bradford City goal then was netted by a player who the previous season had represented the Stags, namely Barry Conlon. From the then Stags’ line-up, THREE players have played in the EFL this season: Alex John-Baptiste for Doncaster, Jake Buxton for Burton and Will Atkinson for Port Vale, most recently against the Stags in the EFL Trophy a month ago. Atkinson had also had spells of playing for the Bradford City Bantams before returning to the Stags. The Bradford City line-up then included an unused sub, later to play for the Stags in their dark days, namely Kyle Nix. And the Bantams’ line-up in December 2007 included Paul Heckingbottom as well as Kyle Nix, both playing the full 90 minutes.
The Bantams were promoted to League One via a 3-0 playoff final victory against Northampton during the same 2012-13 campaign in which the Stags returned to the EFL. That season, Bradford City made EFL Cup headlines by reaching the final as a League Two outfit, beating top-flight sides like Arsenal, Aston Villa and the 2012-13 FA Cup winners Wigan, then in the PL, before losing the final against Swansea. Will Atkinson played for the Bantams in that final. After the EFL Trophy heroics, Bradford City made FA Cup heroics, too. On January 24, 2015, the Bantams produced one of the biggest FA Cup shocks in recent years. Being 2-0 down at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, the Bantams produced a sensational comeback by dumping Chelsea out of the FA Cup to a 4-2 scoreline. In the following round, Sunderland were kayoed to a 2-0 scoreline at Valley Parade. A couple of seasons later, Bradford City reached the League One playoff final, only to lose against Millwall. Since then, the Bantams had problems both on and off the field, culmating in relegation last season.
Yet, when Bradford City left the basement league in 1981-82, not to return for 25 years, their final game was an away one at Field Mill. On May 15, 1982, the Bantams, already having secured promotion, won 2-0, thus taking revenge for a 4-3 reverse at Bradford a few months earlier. On January 20, 1982, Lumby scored twice, Morgan and Parkinson once apiece in the 4-3 victory at Valley Parade in front of 3729, while the game at Field Mill attracted 3109. Incredibly enough, the sides faced each other in the League Cup earlier that season with exactly the same results as in the Division Four games! A Stags 4-3 win at Bradford but a 2-0 reverse at Field Mill. That was during a time in which some League cup rounds befor the semifinals were two-legged ones. Another memorable win at Bradford took place in the big freeze season which was to be the Stags' first promotion one. On April 3, 1963, the Stags won 3-1 at Valley Parade in a fixture which was Albert Scanlon's first as a Stag. He scored once but Ray Chapman scored twice in front of just 2776. This was the third of five consecutive Stags league wins within fourteen days. In these games, the goals flew in left, right and centre as the scoreline 21 for, 7 against, did prove big style. On the other hand, the Stags' worst-ever defeat at Bradford was a 6-1-mauling on March 10, 1962, when Ray Chapman netted the consolation in front of 5697. After that game, the Stags weren't hit for six for more than three and a half years. That happened at Swindon in a 2-6 defeat in the old Third Division on November 20, 1965.
At the very beginning of the 2000’s, Bradford City played Premier League football. On the final day of the 1999-2000 season, May 14, 2000, the Bantams beat Liverpool 1-0 to secure PL status for another season. And in the Bantams' first 2000-01 home fixture, on August 22, 2000, Chelsea were sent home with a 2-0 packing. But since then, Bradford City went downhill both on and off the field. Could any Bradford City supporter in 2000 imagine that the Bantams instead of playing PL heavy-weight likes of Chelsea and Liverpool were to be beaten by sides like Accrington and Morecambe in League Two seven years later? Relegation from PL in May 2001 were followed by another three years later, and after a 3-0 defeat at Chesterfield on April 28, 2007, the Bantams were condemned to the basement for the first time in 25 years.
But all the Stags' league and cup fixtures against Bradford City have taken place after the second World War.
The first-ever took place at Bradford on December 6, 1947, when Banks scored the only goal of the game at Valley Parade in front of 9322. And the first-ever Stags v Bantams league fixture at Field Mill was the last Stags' home fixture in the 1947-48 campaign. On April 24, 1948, 6799 saw Cooling score for the Stags in a 1-1 draw. That season, the Stags finished eighth, their then best-ever in the League, while Bradford City, then the second string there as Bradford Park Avenue (voted out in 1969-70) then played on current Championship level and there faced sides like Spurs, Newcastle and West Bromwich, finished six rangs lower in the old northern section of the third division.
Starting in 1947-48, the Stags were to face Bradford City for thirteen consecutive league seasons and only once during that time did the Bantams win at Field Mill. This happened on April 22, 1950, when 9915 watched a Stags 2-0 defeat. After that game, the Stags were unbeaten in 34 home games, the sequence ending with a 0-1 reverse against Hartlepools (as they were called then) on Boxing Day, 1951.
On two occasions, the Stags have hit Bradford City for five. On Christmas Day, 1957, five different players (Morris, Chapman, Keery, Watson and Mitten) scored in a 5-2 victory. 5-2 was also the result in the latest Stags home victory vs the Bantams. On September 12, 1992, Greg Fee scored twice. Holland, Stringfellow and Charles (from the spot) were the other Stags scorers. Finally, on March 10, 1973, the Bantams were hit by a Duncan McKenzie hat-trick when the Stags thrashed Bradford City 4-1 in a Division Four outing at Field Mill.
On one occasion, Bradford City have scored five at Field Mill. That was in the Stags v Bantams game producing most goals. On January 30, 1971 Bradford City won 5-3 thanks to four goals from Bruce Bannister, later to play for i.e. Bristol Rovers and Plymouth, while Dudley Roberts, Dai Jones and Phil Waller netted for the Stags. In that game, goalie Graham Brown was injured. That was also to be the start of Rod Arnold's long Stags goalkeeping career as Arnold's FL debut marked a creditable goal-less draw at Fulham the following Saturday, February 6, 1971.
For the record, five Stags v Bantams league fixtures at Mansfield have been goal-less as well as one at Valley Parade during the 1992-93 campaign. The one on April 6, 1974, marked the only home league game in which the Stags failed to score in the 1973-74 season. Compare that to only one 0-0 game at Bradford, on January 2, 1993.
Currently, the Stags have gone seven home games without a three-pointer, the longest such home run since the end of the 2017-18 season in which the Stags finished the home programme with five draws, most of them costly, and two defeats. Two home wins and eight defeats so far at headquarters is easily the Stags’ worst home record since 1990-91, when our first fourteen games also yielded just two three-pointers and eight defeats.
Meanwhile, Bradford City are sitting inside the playoff zone but have drawn quite many recently, six out of their last ten. Among those are a good 1-1 draw at Swindon and the most recent home fixture in which the Bantams let a two-goal lead slip against Scunthorpe. The Stags’ latest home fixture was undone by poor defending, and more importantly, dreadful usage of injury-time in both halves by the referee. Not for the first time in preview history (a game against Bristol City in 2002 springs to mind, enough said).
This Tuesday night, Bradford City faced a stern away test at Colchester and came away from the 1970-71 Leeds FA Cup giant killers (who have a new ground since then) with a goal-less draw, their third on the road in a little more than a month (previously at Leyton Orient and Carlisle) this term and seventh in fourteen away League Two fixtures. So the Bamtans will be a good test on Saturday.
Among those having played for both sides, Barry Conlon, Tony Ford and Carl Muggleton are to be named. Muggleton, playing AGAINST the Stags for Cheltenham in a 3-2 win there early on in our latest EFL promotion campaign, played four league games on loan to Bradford City that same 2001-02 season. Tony Ford is the one outfield player with the most league appearances, five of them for Bradford City in the 1993-94 campaign, but three seasons for the Stags. Ian Bowling, another goalie, as well as Gus Uhlenbeek (who also played for Halifax) are also to be mentioned. A couple of former Bradford City players played for the Stags in their Conf days. For full list, see below.
Played for both sides: Paul Anderson, Craig Armstrong, Will Atkinson, Michael Boulding, Rory Boulding, Ian Bowling, John Bramley, Lee Bullock (in 2007-08), Gary Chapman, Barry Conlon, Tony Ford, Barry Gallagher, Andrew Geddes, Paul Heckingbottom, Colin Hoyle, Luke Medley, Louis Moult, Carl Muggleton, Tom Naylor, Kyle Nix, Lenny Pidgeley, Ricky Ravenhill, Nialle Rodney, William Shaw, Alan Sheehan, Jake Speight, Mark Stallard, Adrian Thorpe, Solomon Tremelling, Gus Uhlenbeek, Michael Walker, George Williams, Chris Withe, Neil Woods.
Home games: 26, won 13, drawn 8, lost 5, Stags goals 41, Bradford City goals 25.
Away games: 27, won 7, drawn 8, lost 12, Stags goals 36, Bradford City goals 48.
1947-48 1-1 1948-04-24 1-0 1947-12-06 Division 3 (N)
1948-49 1-0 1948-08-30 0-1 1948-08-25 Division 3 (N)
1949-50 0-2 1950-04-22 1-2 1949-12-03 Division 3 (N)
1950-51 1-1 1951-04-07 3-2 1950-11-18 Division 3 (N)
1951-52 2-1 1951-10-06 1-2 1952-02-16 Division 3 (N)
1952-53 3-1 1953-04-25 1-2 1953-04-20 Division 3 (N)
1953-54 0-0 1953-08-31 2-2 1953-08-26 Division 3 (N)
1954-55 1-0 1954-09-27 0-1 1954-09-22 Division 3 (N)
1955-56 0-0 1955-09-26 2-4 1956-04-25 Division 3 (N)
1956-57 3-1 1956-09-03 3-4 1956-09-12 Division 3 (N)
1957-58 5-2 1957-12-25 1-1 1957-12-26 Division 3 (N)
1958-59 2-1 1958-09-01 1-1 1958-08-27 Division 3 (old)
1959-60 0-0 1959-08-24 1-4 1959-09-01 Division 3 (old)
1961-62 0-1 1961-10-21 1-6 1962-03-10 Division 4 (old)
1962-63 3-1 1963-04-29 3-1 1963-04-03 Division 4 (old)
1969-70 2-1 1969-09-06 1-0 1970-04-22 Division 3 (old)
1970-71 3-5 1971-01-30 1-1 1970-11-28 Division 3 (old)
1971-72 1-1 1972-04-29 2-2 1972-01-15 Division 3 (old)
1972-73 4-1 1973-03-10 1-1 1972-10-14 Division 4 (old)
1973-74 0-0 1974-04-06 1-3 1973-11-14 Division 4 (old)
1974-75 3-0 1974-11-02 1-1 1975-02-08 Division 4 (old)
1980-81 1-0 1980-10-11 2-0 1981-03-14 Division 4 (old)
1981-82 0-2 1982-05-15 4-3 1982-01-20 Division 4 (old)
1990-91 0-1 1990-10-20 0-1 1991-04-20 Division 3 (old)
1992-93 5-2 1992-09-12 0-0 1993-01-02 Division 2
2007-08 0-0 2007-12-05 2-1 2008-03-15 League Two
2019-20 (at Bradford) 0-2 2019-12-29 League Two
1954-55 1-3 1954-11-20 first round at Bradford
1958-59 3-4 1958-11-15 first round at Field Mill
1982-83 1-1 1982-12-11 second round at Field Mill
1982-83 2-3 1982-12-15 second round replay at Bradford
1984-85 1-2 1984-12-08 second round at Bradford
1981-82 4-3 1981-10-10 second round, first leg at Bradford
1981-82 0-2 1981-10-26 second round, second leg at Field Mill
1982-83 0-1 1982-09-01 first round, first leg at Bradford
1982-83 0-2 1982-09-13 first round, second leg at Field Mill
Freight Rover Trophy
1984-85 2-1 1985-02-19 second round at Bradford
Come on Mansfield!
Stockholm, July 4, 2008, 15.00 GMT. Good news came, K.H. gone. March 1, 2012. Ground purchased.