Mansfield Town v Middlesbrough – a potted history

Mansfield Town take on the might of Championship high-flyers Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, which is expected to attract a huge crowd.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 2:42 pm
Jake Buxton of Mansfield Town heads the ball in to his own net under pressure from Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough to score an own goal during the FA Cup 4th round match on January 26, 2008 in Mansfield, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The sides last met in the 2007/08 FA Cup fourth round which saw Boro leave Field Mill with a 2-0 victory, and attracted a crowd of 6,258.

It was a game in which Stags deserved at least a draw, but their luck was out on the day.

After a David Wheater shot was blocked, Dong-Gook Lee steered home low on 15 minutes after the Stags failed to clear Adam Johnson's corner.

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Michael Boulding twice came close to levelling inside a minute as he hit the bar from 25 yards and also forced Mark Schwarzer into a fine save from his looping header.

However, Boro's passage was sealed three minutes from the end when, in trying to stop George Boateng's cross reaching Stewart Downing, home skipper Jake Buxton diverted the ball into his own net.

Robert Huth was also lucky not to be dismissed for a nasty challenge on Boulding.

The sides have only met nine times in total, three of those in 1966/67 and three of them in 1986/87.

The first ever clash between them saw real fireworks on Bonfire Night 1966 - an absolutely stunning game in which Stags were pipped 5-4 at home by a Boro side just relegated from the Second Division and destined to return there at the first attempt.

Stags scorers were Bill Curry (2), Phil Ferns and a Peter Morris penalty.

Two months later Mansfield gained some measure of revenge with a 2-0 home FA Cup third round victory thanks to Stuart Brace and Curry goals in front of a season' best 17,332 crowd.

Leaders Boro won 1-0 in their final meeting that season in April to cheer a 23,226 crowd at Ayresome Park.

Stags eventually finished ninth, six points behind Boro, who went up as runners-up.

It was to be almost 20 years before their paths would cross again after being drawn together in the 1985/86 League Cup first round.

Second Division Boro were beaten 2-0 at Field Mill before Stags managed an incredible 4-4 draw in the away leg to go through.

The 2-0 home advantage was lost within 20 minutes, but they fought back to be 3-2 up on the night at half-time and held on at 4-4 for the final whistle.

Neville Chamberlain and Mick Vinter netted in the 2-0 home win with Mike Graham, Chamberlain, Vinter and Mark Kearney on target in the dramatic away leg.

Promotion for Stags to what was now called Division Three at the end of that campaign saw the clubs cross swords again the following season.

Kearney scored in a 1-1 home draw in December while Stags were pipped 1-0 in the return in May.

But more significantly that season, Stags also travelled to high-flying Boro for the Freight Rover Northern Area semi-final en route to their eventual Wembley success against Bristol City.

Kearney scored the only goal of the game from the spot on 75 minutes after Keith Cassells had been brought down, but there was late drama as Gary Gill looked to have equalised at the death, only for an offside flag to be raised.

Stags will now be hoping to write another glory chapter on their clashes with the North-Easterners on Saturday in a game which will be played to the death with no replays, going into extra-time and then penalties.

Boro have sold out of their allocation of over 1,600 tickets and overall sales are over 6,600 so far.

The match will kick off at 12.15pm to allow for overseas TV coverage.