Stevenage v Mansfield Town: It's now eight seasons on the spin that we've had the Stags on our schedule; a fact that maybe dazzles us more than it should?
Photo: Mansfield Town FC

It’s now eight seasons on the spin that we’ve had the Stags on our schedule; a fact that maybe dazzles us more than it should? It all started with our initial and – frankly – goal-crazy intros in our Blue Square Premier days. But, like Northwich Victoria or Altrincham were back in our non-league times, the side from Field Mill have become a staple of our calendar. Is that good for us? Or yet one more reason of late to feel a sense of foreboding about this weekend’s assignment?

Mansfield Town? Yep, it’s that team again…

Stevenage v Mansfield Town

Lamex Stadium, Stevenage — 13 November 2021 — Sky Bet League Two

One other thing that strikes us more than it probably ought to is where the balance of power is between us. For some reason, we thought we were either shading it, or at least on par with the Stags. But, no. The Nottinghamshire outfit have won eight of our previous 17 encounters up to this point. For us, it’s six wins – leaving three draws. And it wasn’t until our 12th meeting that a winner couldn’t be found after 90 minutes of raw Stags-on-Boro’ action.

Then again, should we be surprised. Like almost everyone (it seems) now in this division, Boro’ have a pretty unconvincing recent record against the Stags. In fact, we’ve won just three of the 13 times we’ve played them in League Two. And that also means half of all our wins came from the four times we met in non-league times; a point in history where we found goals pretty easy to come by against them too. You can’t exactly say that about our most recent clashes.

Our first Stags dos…

Let’s take it back to 07 October 2008 to kick things off; the Stags coming to our gaff for the first time and Setanta’s cameras there to capture it. In an entertaining encounter, Boro’ won 3-2 and claimed the first bragging rights. Our first visit to Field Mill, meanwhile, came on the last day of term – 25 April 2009. Mitchell Cole saw red and Boro’ were beaten 2-1 on the afternoon. But the defeat didn’t stop us from making the playoffs.

Into the following campaign and a dramatic 3-2 away win on 12 September 2009 was perhaps the first inkling that we were onto something special that season. We had been two goals down just before the break. A remarkable turnaround against their 10 men, however, saw us take the points back home. We completed the league double on 09 February 2010; a 3-1 home triumph meaning that we’d scored three times in three of the first four meetings.

Us down, them up: The League Two years.

In 2014, we came up against the Stags for the first time in four years; them coming back up into the Football League, while we’d just been farted out of League One. Old habits died hard too; a 3-0 home win on 27 September 2014 keeping the winning run going – and the three-goal party trick too. But it was also the end of an era at the same time. After that, we lost our next three on the spin as the GW MK III era gave way to the Teddy and Darren Sarll eras respectively.

It was a run that we only managed to halt on 29 October 2016 with victory on the road; Charlie Lee and Harry McKirdy with the goals in a 2-1 win. A corner turned, right? Not quite. Once more, the Stags took a hold over us and – this time – went four games unbeaten against us. This does include what was a historic 1-1 draw on 10 April 2018; the first between us in 12 encounters. It is also a paltry highlight from that particular time between us.

Our recent woes and zeroes

And not for the first time, it was a 2-1 away win that stopped the rot. Ilias Chair’s late winner on 27 April 2019 kept our playoff hopes alive under Dino Maamria, while ending the Stags’ dreams of automatic promotion. It’s not the first time we’ve done that to another club and our fortunes afterwards haven’t always been great. Call it revenge, the aligning of the stars, or whatever you want. The bottom line is that, since that afternoon, we’ve failed to win in three straight fixtures.

We haven’t even scored.

OK, so two of them were goalless draws. But this game last season saw the struggling Stags bag an important 1-0 win. Can we break the hoodoo after three winless games as we’ve done before? Will it be another poor four for Boro’? Or are we now on course for five straight games without a win against the Stags before we get our act together. Something tells us we’ll get a much clearer idea of that come 4.45pm this Saturday afternoon. For better or for worse, like…

Head-to-Head-to-Date…

Pl W D L F A GD Pts* WR%
17 6 3 8 20 21 -1 21 35%

 

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Pete H is the head of the BoroGuide team; helping to keep the show on the road for the best part of two decades – all because of his love of Boro'. He was relatively late to the scene; first rocking up at Broadhall Way during the 1995-6 season. But that's mainly because he was too young to pledge allegiance before then. There have been more than enough highs (Easter Monday '96) and lows (Kettering '02) since then, however, to keep him occupied. Yes, and the 2010 title win...

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