Mansfield visit on Tuesday 5th April. This is the 3rd attempt to play this game. Covid postponed the December fixture, then fog caused the 18th January match to be abandoned within minutes of a delayed start. So this is the first meeting between the sides this season and they will meet again in Mansfield in a month in the last game of the season.
Mansfield’s season has been down then up. They started the season with 2 wins, then went 12 games without a win. After this, they played the next 18 matches, winning 14 and drawing 3, with just one loss. This catapulted the Stags up the table and made them the division’s form side. Successive away losses at Tranmere and Port Vale slowed them down a little, before away victories at Rochdale & Oldham followed by an away draw at Hartlepool and a home win against Northampton. They are currently 6th in the table, level on points with the 3 teams above them, but with at least a game in hand over their rivals above them. They are 9 points behind Rovers, having played the same number of games.
Mansfield’s home form has tended to be better than their away form – 24 points from their away games compared with 42 points from their home games.
Mansfield’s formation seems to change every time they play. Recent formations have included 5-3-2, 4-3-1-2 and 4-1-2-1-2. But 4-4-2 isn’t unusual for them, and they’ve even played 3-5-2 and 3-4-3. Guessing how Mansfield will line up isn’t easy!
Who to watch?
Mansfield’s twin strike force of Rhys Oates (number 18) and Jordan Bowery (number 9) have scored 9 goals and 7 goals respectively. Danny Johnson (number 11) is a threat and has 4 goals to his name in a season where he has had injury problems. However, Johnson, who is now fit again, is usually preferred to lead the line with Oates.
One of Mansfield’s highest scorers this season is a defender/striker – Oli Hawkins (number 12) has 7 goals to his name and is a threat from set pieces. Mansfield do seem to have goals from all over the park with 15 different scorers this season. Like Oates, Hawkins sometimes plays as a defender.
Veteran left midfielder, Stephen Quinn (number 16), is another key player to watch in the Mansfield line-up.
Matty Longstaff (number 44) was signed from Newcastle on loan on deadline day. Longstaff had been loaned to Aberdeen at the start of the season but failed to make much of an impression, making only 5 starts. After making his first team debut for Newcastle the season before last (and scoring the winner against Manchester Utd), Longstaff struggled to push on. However, 3 goals and some assists in his 7 starts for Mansfield suggest he may be rediscovering his quality.
Oli Hawkins (number 12) has 7 goals this season. The 6ft 6 inch Hawkins can play as either striker or central defender.
Striker Rhys Oates (number 18) is top scorer with 9 goals, but can also play in defence.
Danny Johnson (number 11) has had some fitness issues this season but may be available up front.
Matty Longstaff (number 44) was a deadline day loan signing from Newcastle
The appointment of Nigel Clough as manager happened just before Mansfield came to the New Lawn in November last year. The appointment was something of a coup for Mansfield as Clough has some pedigree (14 England caps, and over 600 appearances at the top level with 131 goals). He had also managed Derby County, Sheffield United and Burton Albion before his arrival at Mansfield.
Clough’s arrival improved Mansfield’s fortunes and they went on a 5 match winning run. However, their form then dipped and they finished the season in 16th place, comfortably away from both the relegation and the play-off places. It was a season of mid-table consolidation for the club and, unless they can continue their run, there is a risk of it being a similar story this season.
Nigel Clough became Mansfield Town’s manager on 6th November 2020
A Rovers connection
Farrend Rawson in his FGR days……
Rovers fans will remember a familiar figure in the Mansfield squad – Farrend Rawson. Nottingham-born Farrend joined Mansfield in July 2020. Farrend has figured in most of Mansfield’s games this season and has scored once for the Stags.
Faz has been sent off a couple of times this season – coincidentally (?) both of these games have been against Barrow!
…..now in Mansfield colours
Mansfield play at Field Mill, which lays claim to being the oldest professional football ground in the world (used for football since 1861). Mansfield didn’t start playing at Field Mill until just after the First World War when their rivals, Mansfield Mechanics, were evicted from the venue for not paying their rent.
Mansfield started life as the Mansfield Wesleyans. But when the local league they played in (the Mansfield District Amateur League) dropped the word ‘Amateur’ from their title, the Wesleyan church turned their back on the club and forbade them from using the word ‘Wesleyans’. As an act of defiance the club called themselves Mansfield Wesley in the early 1900’s. This isn’t the only brush the club had with religion at the time – in 1909 their chairman Fred Abraham and secretary James Marples resigned, later to be banned by the FA for serious irregularities. They had committed the (then) heinous crime of signing a player on the Sabbath (the day of rest).
The club, like many, has had its ups and downs. Some yo-yo’ing between the 3rd and 4th tiers of English football, a spell in the Conference (National League) between 2008 and 2013, and controversies with their owners. The club, now owned by John and Carolyn Radford, seem to be sailing in calmer waters these days.
Mansfield is a former market town in Nottinghamshire, just east of the M1. In more recent years, brewing, soft drinks and coal have dominated the town but there is little sign of any of these industries in the town now (other than the fact many Mansfield streets have suffered from mining subsidence). Rebecca Adlington, Richard Bacon, and Lib Dem leader Ed Davey all come from Mansfield.
The current organization retains the legal name of Forest Green Rovers Supporters Society Ltd, with the popular name of Forest Green Rovers Supporters Club, and is constituted as Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Society. We continue to invest in FGR and remain an important focal point for supporters to demonstrate their support for Forest Green Rovers Football Club.