Magpies & Stags – Down Memory Lane

As ‘the Nottinghamshire Derby’ approaches, we take a look at a little bit of history between two sides whose meetings can be traced back to approximately, ninety years ago now, and a 5-1 win for a Notts County side, against Mansfield Town, in the regions’ County Cup competition.

More competitively however, the first league meetings between the two sides arrived during the 1937-38 season, and in the very old, Division Three South, County achieving the upper-hand in earning victory in each of those matches, 2-0 at home, in front of a crowd of 13,362, on 7 October 1937, then, six months later, winning 2-1 at Mansfield, in front of 11,190, on 9 April 1938.

There wasn’t much to separate the two sides either, come the end of that season, had County not won those two matches, final placings most certainly would have been different, with both finishing in a mid-table position – County finished the higher of the two, in 11 place, just two points ahead of their ‘new’ county rivals, who finished in 14, they on 41 and 39 points respectively.

Despite their ‘lowly’ league finish, Mansfield’s Harold Crawshaw would finish the season and the Division Three South’s top scorer, notching 25 goals, including Mansfield’s score in that, 2-1 loss; hailing from the Greater Manchester area, Crawshaw didn’t play much professional football, registering just three seasons between 1936 and 1939.

During those three seasons he played for three clubs, Portsmouth (1936-37), Mansfield (1937-38), and Nottingham Forest (1938-39), going on to become a scout for Portsmouth, passing away just a day before his 60 birthday – during his two season spell in Notts, Crawhsaw netted over thirty goals in some sixty plus matches.

Throughout the histories of the two clubs, they have met each other in numerous competitions – surprisingly though, not the FA Cup – there’s been Division Three South, Division Three, Division Two, and, since the early noughties, League Two; cup-wise the two have met in that of the League Cup, Freight Rover Trophy, Sherpa Vans Trophy, Johnstones Paint Trophy, and the Football League Trophy.

Although it’s been just a couple of years since they last met each other, that coming in County’s 2018-19 relegation season (from the Football League), meeting have, on the main, yielded plenty of goals, and with a relatively even number of success for both.

The highest victory for both Notts clubs has been 5-0, County first hitting that score at the start of the 1988-89 season when in the League First Round, First Leg; there was five games between the two rivals that season, County winning two and drawing two, including this, where Ian McParland bagged a hat-trick.

The Edinburgh-born striker led a varied, much-travelled career, well after a near decade at County during the eighties that is from which he took in spells in England, Scotland, Malta, Hong Kong (in the early-nineties), and Northern Ireland (mid-nineties).

Of the remaining four games during that 1988-89 season, only eight goals were scored, two 1-1 draws, a 2-1 win for County, and a 1-0 win for Mansfield, David Hodges with two of the Stags’ four goals.

Mansfield eventually avenged that five-goal drubbing with one of their own, late in the 2015-16 season, in a League Two meeting in front of more than 6,350 spectators; Matt Green scored twice in that victory, once in each half, alongside efforts from Adam Chapman (now at Retford United), Reggie Lambe, and Mitchell Rose.

Green, who has also had a varied playing career, is currently plying his trade in the Ardal SE League, and the city where he began his career; beginning at Newport County in the mid-noughties, Green would have three spells at Mansfield (2011 on loan, 2012-13, and 2015-17), but had four at Oxford United, also appearing for the likes of Birmingham City and Grimsby Town.

Now in his-thirties, and ‘winding down’ his career, Green returned to Newport this year to play for the perhaps, lesser-known, Newport City.

On two occasions matches between the clubs have seen seven goals notched, both sides having also registered a 4-3 win, Mansfield winning the first of those, early in the 1958-59 season, in Division Three, and in front of a crowd of more than 16,500.

For the Stags that day, Stan Keery, who would go on to make more than 250 appearances when at Crewe Alexandra, netted, as did Terence Vaughan, Dennis Uphill, and a John Kilford own-goal!! Meanwhile, over four decades elapsed before the other, 4-3 score, this time County winning, and again theirs was in the League Cup, in August 2001.

Of the seven goals that night, in another, First Round encounter, six of the seven goals arrived in a hectic, first half; Chris Greenacre (2) and Andy White scored for the Stags, but they would be undone by Danny Allsopp, who helped himself to an eleven-minute, first half hat-trick, Steve Mildenhall with the other as County even finished the game with ten men, Richard Liburd seeing red with five minutes remaining.

Yorkshireman, Greenacre, joined Mansfield in 2000 following a successful loan spell from Blackpool; having begun at Manchester City he’d have spells with Stoke City and Tranmere Rovers before moving to New Zealand in 2009, to play for Wellington Phoenix, going on to hold numerous coaching roles at the club where he is currently manager of their reserves side.

Hat-trick hero, Allsopp, is an Australian-born international who had two spells with County (1999, 2000-03) and, as well as having played for Manchester City, has had spells in America, Qatar, and Australia, before retiring nearly a decade ago – he is Melbourne Victory’s second-highest , and the A-League’s all-time highest, scorer.

The last meetings between the two clubs arrived during the 2018-19 season, a one which saw Mansfield finish fourth and lose a play-off semi-final against Newport County, and Notts County relegated to the National League (they returned to Football League ahead of this, the 2023-24 season), finishing second-bottom and a point above Yeovil Town.

In EFL League Two, during that last campaign, both sides won their respective home encounters, Mansfield winning 2-0 on 8 December, and Notts County claiming a 1-0 success two months later 16 February.

In the December, CJ Hamilton netted either side of the break as the Stags won 2-0, his goals coming eight minutes, and eighteen minutes after the interval; Hamilton, a Republic of Ireland international, spent four seasons with the Stags before moving to Blackpool, where he currently plays, in 2020.

In the return, in mid-February, a goal from Craig Mackail-Smith midway through the first half afforded County a rare victory during their relegation campaign, and ensured back-to-back for the club for the first time in four months; a former Scottish international, Mackail-Smith began his career at St Albans City before enjoying lengthy spells with Dagenham & Redbridge, Peterborough United and Brighton & Hove Albion, between 2004 and 2015, joining County, on loan from Wycombe Wanderers, in 2019.

As for winning sequences, Notts County hold the Nottinghamshire derby there with six, successive victories, between 1989 and 2001 (2-1, 3-1, 4-2, 1-0, 2-0, 4-3; in-fact, County were unbeaten in nine matches in total around th3 period 1988-2002), Mansfield having knocked up three-in-a-row between 1958 and 1963 (4-3, 3-0, 4-0).

Victory for County, last time out, ended a run of seven without victory against their Notts rivals and, this Saturday lunchtime, with the two sides in fine form at the top end of League Two, both sides have a lot to gain, and a lot to lose, from the eventual outcome.

Notts County, leaders of EFL League Two, welcome fifth place Mansfield Town to Meadow Lane, for ‘the Nottinghamshire Derby’ on Saturday (14 October) lunchtime; just four points separate the two sides going into the 12:30 kick-off with the visiting Stags, the only unbeaten side in the country, and boasting a sixteen-match unbeaten streak (in all competitions).

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @DanWestwell a derby day scuffle is ensured between Notts County and Mansfield.

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