Records tumble in a season to remember for Mansfield Town

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Regaining their place back in League One for the first time in 22 years – particularly after the relegation to the Conference and the Wembley heartbreak of 2020 – is the main achievement of an amazing season for Mansfield Town.

But there have been some huge highlights and records broken along the way – and more could follow on Saturday at Barrow.

Manager Nigel Clough has not only set up his team to win football matches but also to entertain.

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Incredibly it was the 25th November before Stags tasted defeat of any kind in any competition this season, pipped in the third minute of stoppage time in a 2-1 defeat at Swindon Town.

A night to remember - Stags go on goals rampage. Photo by Chris & Jeanette  Holloway/The Bigger Picture.mediaA night to remember - Stags go on goals rampage. Photo by Chris & Jeanette  Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media
A night to remember - Stags go on goals rampage. Photo by Chris & Jeanette Holloway/The Bigger Picture.media

It was the longest unbeaten start to a season in the club's history and the defeat ended a run of five league wins on the trot.

Mansfield’s 17 league games unbeaten to start the season - nine wins and eight draws - was also the club record for the longest unbeaten start to a league season.

Mansfield and Portsmouth were the last teams to lose their unbeaten record in the Premier League, EFL, and National League (including North and South) - the top six tiers of English football.

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Including last season, Mansfield also went 18 league games unbeaten, the second best run in the club’s history and two short of the club record of 20, set in 1976.

Final Score following the Sky Bet League 2 match against Bradford City AFC at the University of Bradford Stadium, 16 Mar 2024Photo credit : Chris & Jeanette Holloway / The Bigger Picture.mediaFinal Score following the Sky Bet League 2 match against Bradford City AFC at the University of Bradford Stadium, 16 Mar 2024Photo credit : Chris & Jeanette Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media
Final Score following the Sky Bet League 2 match against Bradford City AFC at the University of Bradford Stadium, 16 Mar 2024Photo credit : Chris & Jeanette Holloway / The Bigger Picture.media

The Stags were happy to play on the front foot at home or away and went 14 away league games unbeaten, one short of the club record of 15, set in 2018-19

Nigel Clough was named Manager of the Month in an amazing February when Stags scored 20 goals in five games.

On 13th February Stags demolished Harrogate Town 9-2 at the One Call Stadium to equal the club record victory since joining the Football League in 1931.

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The scoreline equalled the 9-2 win over Rotherham United in December 1932.

The Stags had also beat Hounslow Town 9-2 in the FA Cup in 1962.

It was also the first time a Football League/EFL team had scored nine in a league game since Peterborough United beat Barnet 9-1 in 1998.

Free-scoring Stags had won 4-0 at Forest Green three days earlier.

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Then on 24th February they beat visiting Salford City 5-1 to finally go top of the league.

It was only the second time Mansfield had been top of the league since winning the Conference in 2013.

And the first time was just by virtue of winning at Notts County on a Friday night in 2015 in the second game of the season when everyone else had only played one game.

Stags also ended several bad runs against bogey sides, beating Accrington home and away after failing to beat them for 14 games.

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They also beat Harrogate for the first time after fruitless attempts, winning home and away. They won at Salford City and Sutton United for the first time ever too.

Amid all those results, few will forget Stags coming back from behind to win 4-1 away at promoted local rivals Notts County in October, winning by the same score at Harrogate in their next away game.

League One sides Sheffield Wednesday and Peterborough United were ousted from the Carabao Cup on penalties to seal a place in the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time since 1975 and only the second time in the club’s history before a 1-0 home loss to Port Vale denied them a quarter-final spot.

Scoring in 20 consecutive away League games from the start of a League campaign is also likely to be a record.

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As we went into March there seemed every possibility that Stags could not only go up but also be crowned League Two champions.

Previous results meant they could afford the odd slip-up.

But a classy MK Dons came and won at the One Call and Stags also lost by the odd goal at Tranmere Rovers.

A magnificent 5-1 awayday demolition of Bradford City had hopes high again.

But then came a sticky patch of only one point from three games as fans began to wonder if promotion itself was slipping awaway, especially after an unexpected off day – the only one of the season really – which saw them lose 4-1 at home to Crawley Town.

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However, a nervous 1-0 home win against bottom side Forest Green set up the result of the season, winning 4-1 away at chief promotion rivals MK Dons with the job polished off just four days later against Accrington.

Now Stags head to Barrow on Saturday looking to add more records.

Mansfield can still break their record of away goals scored in a single season.

They netted 47 in the 1962-63 season, scoring in their first 19 games before drawing a blank at Oxford on 27th April 1963.

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Stags need a single goal in their last away game at Barrow to equal that record or two to beat it.

Only Oxford (2015/16) and Bury (2010/11) with 47 goals have scored more away goals in a League Two season since 1999/2000.

Stags have only lost five away games this season.

The club’s Football League record number of fewest defeats away in a season is six in 1974/75.

So avoiding defeat at Barrow would beat that, having already equalled it.

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The club record number of away wins in a season in the Football League is 12 in 2022/23 and Stags can also equal that by winning at Barrow.

So Clough’s men will be looking to sign off in style at Holker Street on Saturday and round off a season of record-breaking achievements.