Mansfield Town retro - Stags crush Scunthorpe United to win 1974/75 Fourth Division title

STAGS fans don’t often get to celebrate title-winning successes but in 1975 the Field Mill side clinched the old Fourth Division title in the grandest of styles.

By Stephen Thirkill
Wednesday, 25th November 2015, 6:09 am

Mansfield Town had topped the league table virtually all season after having hit the front in week 11, before going on to record win after win as well as goal after goal.

But, despite having already won 27 of their 44 matches, Stags went into round 45 of the 1974/75 season needing a point against bottom-of-the-table Scunthorpe to make the title mathematically secure.

It was a task that the rampant side, who were also protecting a season-long home record, were more than up to.

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And they even allowed themselves the luxury of missed chances before Mansfield embarked on their goal avalanche.

Stags opened the goalscoring on 20 minutes when Ray Clarke chipped past Mick Norris into the far corner of the net.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later after Norris fluffed a long Sandy Pate throw allowing Gordon Hodgson to poke home.

And the impressive performance still remains fresh in the memory of fan Steve North, who was a young boy of seven at the time of the game.

He said: “It was a very memorable game for me because it was my first season going to football. I went to the games with my granddad who had been going all his life so it was a fantastic experience to share.

“We had a very good team that year and it was an excellent season. Seeing Stags win in this way was simply wonderful.

“We were in the upper tier of the old West Stand, it was a night game and the atmosphere was fantastic.

“They had a real attacking and exciting style of play. The crowd was excellent that night and just shows that the Mansfield public will get behind the side. We just need to get back into the Football League and the crowds will start to come back again.

“For Stags fans of my generation, this is a game that we will never forget.”

Stags went on to turn in the performance of true champions in the second half with Terry Eccles raising the curtain with a stunning strike after 49 minutes.

It was 4-0 on 73 minutes as the flood of goals continued from the best attack in the Fourth Division.

Terry Eccles clipped home a John Lathan effort to turn it past the frustrated Norris as Stags went on to rack up their best-ever winning margin for 10 years, when QPR were hammered 8-1 at Field Mill on 15th March 1965

Clarke fired home his 29th goal of a highly successful campaign on 77 minutes after he latched on to a Jim McCaffrey corner.

Then John Lathan finally got in on the act with nine minutes to go with a superb solo effort.

Lathan ran 20 yards with the ball before unleashing a powerful strike from all of 35 yards with Norriss beaten all ends up in the Scunthorpe goal.

Four minutes from the end the rout was completed when defender Kevin Bird found the back of the net to wrap up Stags’s title victory in fine style.

Life-long Stags fan Roger Grayson said the game belonged to a bygone era and added: “Back in those days the fans felt a closer bond with the team and we felt closer to the action. It was like we were on top of the pitch.

“It was a superb atmosphere from a big crowd and was the perfect way to round off an already perfect season.

“We knew we were going to win the championship, but certainly not in that fashion. The entire season was summed up by that one game.”

MANSFIELD TOWN: Arnold, Pate, B. Foster, Matthews, Madden, Bird, Lathan, Eccles, Clarke, Hodgson, McCaffrey. Substitute: C. Foster.

MATCH: Stags 7 Scunthorpe 0.

VENUE: Field Mill 21st April 1975.