By Gerry Prewett
Bristol Rovers start their 2021/22 season with a visit to the One Call Stadium to face Mansfield Town. The history of Rovers visits to the Midlands mining town can be split into two contrasting eras.
From 1946 until 1988 Rovers visited Field Mill (as it was then named) 14 times and secured a total of 3 points, 11 defeats and 3 draws. In all those games they scored 4 goals and conceded 31. Obviously not a happy place for the Pirates to be hunting the Stags!
By way of contrast from 2004 until 2015 (Rovers last visit) there have been 6 games with 3 wins and 3 draws, 9 goals scored and 5 conceded.
The first ever League meeting between the clubs took place on 19 September 1931 and ended in a 1-1 draw at Eastville. Bill Routledge scoring for Rovers and Ernie England scoring a penalty for the away team. The return match at Field Mill on 30 January 1932 saw Rovers run out 3-0 winners, ironically their best result at Mansfield, with Routledge, Ronnie Dix and Tom Cook notching the goals.
After a loss and another victory that horrendous run of 14 games without a victory started. In 6 consecutive games Rovers failed to score but did manage a 0-0 draw in one of them. Their worst result, a 5-0 defeat, occurred on 31 January 1987. Keith Cassells scored for the home team on 3, 9, 53 and 56 minutes with Neil Whatmore notching the other goal in front of a 2,719 crowd in a Division 3 game.
That hoodoo finally ended on 26 August 1989 when David Mehew scored in front of a 3,051 attendance to hand Rovers a 1-0 victory.
The Nottinghamshire team’s last win over Rovers was on 6 April 2002, when a team containing Craig Disley, scored goals by Adam Murray and Andrew White to secure a 2-0 home win.
A Junior Agogo double handed Rovers a victory on 7 August 2004. The following season saw the highest scoring game between the teams in Mansfield. On 28 December 2005, Nathan Arnold, Adam Rundle and Allan Russell scored for the home team whilst James Hunt and a Richard Walker double (including a penalty) for the visitors provided a thrilling 3-3 draw.
On 7 April 2007 ex-Derby defender Steve Elliott secured maximum points for Rovers with his second goal in consecutive 1-0 away wins, as Rovers headed towards Play-Off glory.
Rovers last game at Mansfield was a very feisty affair on 17 October 2015. Jermaine Easter gave the Gas the lead with a powerful shot from seven yards but was given red card right on half-time for raising his hands to home midfielder Jamie McGuire (his subsequent claim for wrongful dismissal was upheld and the red card withdrawn).
Krystian Pearce was dismissed for the hosts for an off-the-ball incident on the hour before Stags captain Nicky Hunt was sent off for a second bookable offence on 77 minutes (earning two yellow cards in 15 minutes)
Ryan Tafazolli levelled the scores from 18 yards in the 81st minute but Matty Taylor scored to win it for the Gas in the eighth minute of stoppage time.