Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Mansfield Town - Field Mill

Mansfield Town FC
Field Mill
Quarry Lane
NG18 5DA

Ground Number: 75
Saturday 11th January 2003
Mansfield Town 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Nationwide League 2


The club was formed in 1897 and were initially known as Mansfield Wesleyans, the name deriving from a local church. They changed their name to Mansfield Town in 1910. Their early years were spent playing friendlies before playing in various local leagues from 1902 onwards. Following the end of the First World War, Mansfield Town joined the Midland League. Despite winning the title on three occasions, they'd have to wait until 1931 to be accepted into the Football League. They generally found life tough, with a highlight being 2nd place in Division 3 North in 1951. Following the Football League scrapping the regionalised bottom-tier, the club would rise to the third tier in 1958, but just a couple of seasons were played there before a return to the basement division. The next half-century or so would see Mansfield Town alternating between the bottom two divisions of the Football League although the 1977/78 season would see the team compete in the second tier for the only season in their history following a league title the previous year. They finished second-bottom and well adrift of safety to ensure a swift return from whence they came. Following a number of indifferent league finishes, Mansfield Town were finally relegated to the Conference in 2008. They'd go on to spend 5 seasons in non-league football, finally returning to the Football League in 2013 after winning the Conference title. Results had been unspectacular since returning, but this season has seen them mount a playoff challenge and hopes are high for a return to the third tier for the first time since 2003.

Mansfield Town's best run in the FA Cup came during the 1968/69 season. After beating Tow Law Town, Rotherham United, Sheffield United, Southend United and most notably, West Ham United before a narrow 1-0 defeat at Leicester City in the Quarter Final. They had a day to forget in 1998 as they lost in the 2nd Round to non-league Southport. The League Cup Quarter Final was also reached back in 1976 as they lost 4-2 at Manchester City. The FA Trophy Final was reached in 2011 where Mansfield Town lost 1-0 to Darlington. The Football League Trophy was won in 1987, with a victory over Bristol City at Wembley Stadium by way of a penalty shootout. 


I'd been to Field Mill seven times before my latest revisit in 2018. They'd generally resulted in favourable results for Wycombe, but I would have to wait until my third visit for our first win. That game was played on a snow-covered pitch which no doubt nowadays would have resulted in a postponement. For some reason, I and my mate Paul had decided to go up by car and stay in Blackpool after. Why I don't know as Mansfield is nowhere near there and I wasn't into groundhopping at the time. We visited a few grounds to get pictures on the way up and I'd recently invested in a Sat Nav for my car, which made this sort of thing a lot easier. For some reason, I also remember going to PC World before the game as I needed a memory card for my camera. I paid £30 for a 32MB card (not GB) such was prices of memory at the time. I was rewarded for my efforts with an excellent 4-1 win with Steve Claridge getting a couple of goals. We went to Blackpool after as planned, getting there at around midnight after a less than idea journey across the Snakes Pass road. Our booked B&B had shut down, so a late night dash for accommodation was had. Even then, the disaster was not over as I parked in a random car park and got a £250 fine as the I didn't see the unlit A4 sized notice 15 feet up in a window warning that my car would be towed if I parked there. Subsequent visits were all with Wycombe, aside from a 2012 playoff game against York. I made my way up there with fellow groundhoppers Dale and Rob on the way to a game at Blackburn Rovers in the evening.


The below comes from my former blog, 'Chairboys Forever' which covered the games I visited during the 2007/08 season.

Wycombe enjoyed a comprehensive victory over a woeful Mansfield side at a rain-soaked and windswept Field Mill. I decided to go on the coach as I didn’t fancy driving home into the night after being up at 4am this morning. I’ve not won the coach sweepstake for what seems like an eternity but tonight I pulled out Scott McGleish and he came up trumps. The ex Colchester man, who has done so well this season added another 3 goals to his seasons tally. It would have been 4, but a Mansfield defender deflected the third goal over the line.

The big news for Wycombe going into the game was the signing of Leon Knight from Milton Keynes. Knight who scored plenty of goals for Huddersfield and Brighton had had a falling out with his manager Paul Ince and had not played since October. He came on with around 20 minutes to go and showed some nice touches, despite not seeing first-team action for a while. He could have even had a goal but a good save from Mansfield keeper Carl Muggleton denied him.

Mansfield were fresh from beating League 1 side Brighton at the weekend, recording a remarkable 2-1 victory at Brighton’s Withdean Stadium. Tonight was a different story thankfully. As with the nightmare at Stockport, exactly a month ago today, one side coped with the conditions and the other didn’t. Thankfully it was Wycombe that coped this time as they demonstrated why Mansfield are second bottom of the Football League. Every man in a red and white shirt played brilliantly tonight and were full value for their win. It could and should have been more but we failed to capitalise fully on some chances.

It is now 5 wins out of 6 games now for Wycombe. It would have been 6 in a row but for a bad decision by the linesman in the Barnet game. Wycombe must fancy their chances against Rochdale on Saturday before a tough game at Rotherham the following week. Even a delay on the way home due to an accident on the M1 couldn’t spoil the night, which will be remembered by all that attended the game.


FIELD MILL is a decent all-seater venue, though it does lack a bit of character compared to the old Field Mill. Sadly I have only visited the new version and it has remained untouched from my first visit to my last. Away fans have switched ends during this time, but it doesn't make much difference, as both are identical, all-seater affairs. The only difference being one has blue seats, the other has yellow. The 2 sides are vastly different though - one side is a 2 tiered all-seater stand, holding around 5000. The other is the Bishop Street Stand, a small stand holding around 1200. The rest of that side is disused terracing and on my later visits, the stand appears to have been boarded up and closed altogether.

I've not been to the bar at the ground, but the tea bar and club shop are as you would expect from football league venues - expensive and uniform. Food wise, you'll not go hungry in Mansfield, but I have no takeaways to especially recommend ahead of my latest visit. Pubs though, you are spoilt for choice. There are three Wetherspoons outlets, I was impressed with my visit to The Court House. Also worth a look is the Railway Inn, both these places serve good value food as well. Sadly no longer with us, according to my online research is The Beer Shack, which was an excellent Micro Pub with a decent range of cider, including takeaway options.

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