VIDEO: STAGS' GOLDEN GOALS '” Simon Ireland heads Mansfield Town League Cup winner at Leeds United
It is something that football fans of all clubs argue about. What is the the best, most memorable or favourite goal scored by your heroes?
Each week we are taking a look at some of the best to hit the net for Mansfield Town over the past decades. If you have a goal you would like us to feature, email [email protected] with brief details and your memories of the strike and we will try to include in a future article.
Among those suggested for future weeks are Matt Green’s winner at Hereford that set up promotion back to the Football League and an Iyseden Christie equaliser at Notts County.
Our latest golden goal, nominated on fans’ website Stagsnet by Beano, came on 21st September, 1994, in the first leg of the League Cup.
Gary McAllister, John Lukic, Lucas Radebe, Gordon Strachan, Gary Speed and Gary Kelly were just some of the star names in the team for then Premiership big guns Leeds United as they hosted Mansfield Town.
No one gave the Division Three side a chance, particularly as colourful manager Andy King had just 13 fit players to select from for the midweek match.
From the kick-off the Stags set up a terrific rearguard action, playing just one lone striker and utilising Paul Holland as a sweeper.
As expected they came under heavy pressure, but more than 1,000 travelling Stags fans soon had something to celebrate - a golden goal by Simon Ireland.
The winger’s £25,000 move from Blackburn Rovers the previous year had been a surprise. It is fair to say many fans had yet to warm to the player. But Ireland became an instant hero for what happened next at Elland Road.
Watch Simon Ireland score at Leeds Kevin Noteman struck a deep corner from the left, Holland headed the ball on and Stewart Hadley nodded the ball back across in the six-yard area. Ireland then flung himself forward and managed to nod the ball home past a defender on the goalline.
The goal came in front of the Mansfield supporters who celebrated wildly — and then watched amazed as the Stags held out for the rest of the first leg, and for all of the goalless second leg back at Field Mill.
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Mansfield boss King used the cup tie and Ireland’s goal as a confidence boost to inspire the Stags to the play-offs.
Ireland went on to make around 100 appearances for the Stags and scored 10 league goals, but none was as important or memorable as the winner at Leeds. He also had two seasons at Doncaster after leaving Field Mill.