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League Two Lowdown: Mansfield

27 July 2013

Our look at Pompey's 2013/14 opponents continues with the Stags

Meetings with Pompey
There have been just two league fixtures and one cup clash between Pompey and Mansfield.

Their one previous season in the same division was in 1976/77 – a campaign when the Blues narrowly avoided being relegated to the fourth tier, while the Stags won the Division Three title.

Two goals from David Kemp saw Pompey come from two goals down to earn a draw at Fratton Park, but Mansfield triumphed 2-0 at Field Mill.

It was a victory that confirmed the hosts’ promotion, while leaving the Blues still three points from safety. Ian St John was suspended from his managerial duties after the game, with Jimmy Dickinson taking the helm.

More recently, goals from Manuel Fernandes and Matt Taylor gave Premier League Pompey a 2-1 League Cup victory at Field Mill in 2006.

Mansfield history
The club were formed as Mansfield Wesleyans – named after the local church – in 1897 and after a series of friendly matches they joined the Mansfield & District Amateur League.

When the league dropped its amateur status in 1906, the church abandoned the club and they changed their name to Mansifeld Wesley, competing in the Notts & District League.

A further name change to Mansfield Town occurred in 1910 and they moved into Field Mill at the end of the First World War after the tenants, Mansfield Mechanics, failed to pay the rent.

Despite reaching the sixth round of the FA Cup in 1921 and winning the Midland League in 1924 they failed to win election to the Football League until 1931.

Mansfield were regularly in the bottom half of the Division Three (South) table and were fortunate not to be forced to seek re-election in 1947.

They soon started to make progress and in 1950/51 reached the fifth round of the FA Cup and became the first side to go 23 home games unbeaten, but still narrowly missed out on promotion.

Mansfield were relegated to the newly formed fourth division in 1960, but won their first ever promotion a couple of years later – although this was tainted by life suspensions being handed out to players Brian Phillips and Sammy Chapman for bribing opposing players.

They picked up their first trophy in 1987 after beating Bristol City on penalties in the final of the Freight Rover Trophy final.

Mansfield present
As Pompey were lifting the FA Cup in 2008, Mansfield’s 77-year residence of the Football League was coming to an end.

Managers came and went – including former Pompey star Paul Hall – as they adjusted to life in the Conference.

Mansfield reached the FA Trophy final in 2011, but a last-gasp extra-time goal saw them lose to Darlington at Wembley.

They were then beaten over two legs by York in the following season’s play-offs and were controversially knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool last term.

But the Stags won 20 of their last 24 games and on April 20 they beat Wrexham 1-0 to secure their Football League return.

Information for Pompey fans
Away supporters are housed in the North Stand – which holds around 1,800 – of what is now known as the One Call Stadium. 

The Sandy Pate bar at the ground admits visiting fans and The Talbot on Nottingham Road is about a 10-minute walk away.

The John Cockle pub on the A38 going into Mansfield serves good food and is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer guide, as is The Court House in Market Place.

Travelling by road
Postcode: NG18 5DA
Distance from Fratton Park: 205.7 miles
Estimated drive time: 3 hours 44 minutes

Leave the M1 at Junction 28, take the A38 to Mansfield and after 6.5 miles turn right at the crossroads into Belvedere Street, then right into Quarry Lane. There is no parking for away fans at the ground, but a private car park nearby charges £5.

Travelling by train
The journey from Portsmouth stations to Mansfield takes just over four hours via London St Pancras and Nottingham. A standard adult fare is £99 and the ground is a 10-minute walk from the station.

League Two fixtures
Mansfield v Pompey: Saturday, August 24 (3pm)
Pompey v Mansfield: Saturday, January 18 (3pm)

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