LOMAS ON STAGS: Chesterfield exit brought biggest smiles of the season for Stags fans

Mansfield Town's season may be over, but few Stags results over 2020/21 produced as many smiling faces in Mansfield as Notts County's National League play-offs quarter-final victory over Chesterfield on Saturday.

By John Lomas
Monday, 7th June 2021, 4:11 pm
Stags loanee Jimmy Knowles celebrates a Notts goal with Kyle Wootton and Michael Doyle.
Stags loanee Jimmy Knowles celebrates a Notts goal with Kyle Wootton and Michael Doyle.

Stags arch-enemies are now condemned to a fourth season in non-league and, with clubs like Grimsby Town, Southend United, the leading clubs that don't make it up this season and a Wrexham side backed with Hollywood A list money to contend with, it's not going to be any easier for the Spireites to return from exile.

Chesterfield, like the Stags, are finding out just why many consider this the hardest league to go up from in the football pyramid aside.

As a thank you to Notts, how many Stags fans will now want them to go all the way and get promoted to bring at least one local derby back on the calendar?

It was certainly another fantastic example of how good play-off football can be – full of twists and turns and incident.

County had to twice come from behind before Mark Ellis headed a last minute winner when Chesterfield's keeper, crocked since the hour mark and stuck on the pitch with no sub keeper on the bench, was unable to come out for a late free kick.

A decent weekend of football then continued with a look at some of the other England squad members and contenders in the 1-0 friendly win over Romania.

With one last place up for grabs in the final squad due to Trent Alexander Arnold's injury, it was Brighton's young player of the year, defender Ben White, who got the nod.

It was no great surprise a defender replaced a defender in the squad – he is also extra insurance against Harry McGuire not being able to prove his fitness.

But, although I thought it was a bit too soon for new boys Ollie Watkins and Ben Godfrey, I really feel for James Ward-Prowse and Jesse Lingard – and poor Patrick Bamford – who have shown this season they have every attribute to be part of the squad.

Boss Gareth Southgate will live or die by the decisions he has made and the bookies are certainly backing him, England remaining favourites to win a major tournament for the first time since 1966.