Can the Stags steal top spot off Lincoln and return to League One for the first time since 2003?
The last time Mansfield Town played in the third tier of English football, Finding Nemo had taken the world by storm and Tony Blair was in his second term as Prime Minister. 17 years on a sequel for the movie has been released and the UK is preparing to leave the EU. The Stags, on the other hand, have been down to the Conference and have returned to League football. However, it seems Mansfield have found the winning formula to return to League One.
So far this season
So far this season the Stags have been in fine form with the Nottinghamshire-based side currently sitting in third place. The Stags have accumulated 64 points from 35 games. Mansfield also can boast the best defensive record in League Two with the Yellows only conceding 28 goals all season. Mansfield earlier in the season also boasted an impressive record of being the only team in England’s top four Leagues not to lose away from home. The Stags went 12 straight away games without defeat before losing 3-2 to Carlisle on the 5th of January. The Stags have also had a string of impressive results this season with victories over 2nd place Bury on Boxing day (2-1) and a (3-2) away win at Colchester where the Stags came from two goals behind to claim all three points.
One of Mansfield’s key players this season has been on-loan talisman Tyler Walker. Walker, son of former England and Nottingham Forest centre back Des Walker, has scored 21 goals in all competitions for the Stags this season. Walker has averaged a goal every other game for the Stags however is currently suspended due to dissent towards an official.
With Mansfield having one the strongest defences in the Football League it’s no surprise to see Krystian Pearce being touted as one of the key players for Mansfield’s side. Pearce, otherwise known as “The Chief”, has been ever-present in the Stags backline with the Birmingham-born centre back having played every League game for the Stags this season. Pearce, who won Mansfield’s fans player of the season last season, is surely again in the running for another nomination this year.
Experienced Midfield Maestro, Neal Bishop, has been a crucial cog to David Flitcroft’s side, with the 37-year-old providing a balance of skill and class on the ball. Bishop has also provided hard work and determination off the ball. Bishop, otherwise known as “Bish”, has also achieved promotion with local rivals Notts County in 2010 and will be looking to add his second promotion from the division after another stupendous season.
Recent form ( last 5 games) WLLWW
Mansfield have regained their form after two 1-0 losses to Newport County and local rivals Notts County. Since the defeat away at Notts, The Stags have won back-to-back Home games with the ‘boys in Yellow and Blue’ winning 1-0 against Forest Green Rovers and an emphatic 4-2 victory over Cheltenham.
David Flitcroft has 11 games left to seal Mansfield’s promotion to League One and faces a variety of challenges along the way. The Stags’ first game will be a tough away trip to relegation-threatened Port Vale where the Stags will be without top scorer Walker. Mansfield also has to play both Lincoln and Exeter City this month. With the Mansfield vs Lincoln game being broadcast on Sky Sports. April on paper looks to be an easier month with the Stags facing multiple mid-table teams. However, the final day of the season away at MK Dons could be the biggest game of Mansfield’s season with the Dons currently sat in fourth place.
Who do you think will achieve promotion from League 2?
Written by Tom Langford