Mansfield Town
Field Mill

Ground No. 84
Visited - Saturday 21st January 2006
Result - Mansfield Town 1-0 Rochdale
Competition - Coca-Cola League 2
Attendance - 3018

I’d been looking forward to visiting Mansfield for some time, so when the opportunity to go there came up, I jumped at the chance, not just to get another ground done, but also to see a ground that always seemed to get good reviews from people who visited.

When the day came, I’d decided to go up early, and the journey was fairly straight forward, changing twice in Birmingham and Nottingham, arriving into Mansfield just before 11am. When you’re coming into the town on the train, you can’t help but see the ground out of the window, with the tracks running right past it on a large viaduct, giving you a perfect view.

On leaving the station, it was then a very short walk, over a bridge that led you directly from the platform to the retail park which backed onto the visitors stand. From the outside, unfortunately it doesn’t really stand out all that much. The main thing that draws your attention to it are the unusually tall floodlights, which despite being the modern, lights on a pole style, are fairly impressive. For the ground itself, the three new stands are all a little bland with grey sheet metal dominating the exterior, and there even being some exposed steelwork at the side of each ends. The fourth, older side, the Bishop Street Stand couldn’t be more different, being tucked away behind terrace houses, with the turnstiles sadly bricked up, making for a somewhat sorry sight.

When I got there, the gates in the away end were open, so with no one around I was able to walk straight in and go all round the pitch having a look inside. At both ends are two stands identical in structure, being medium sized and all seated, whilst not quite running the full width of the pitch. Other than a control box in the Quarry Lane End, the only way they differed was in the seat colours, where the North Stand (away end), was blue with yellow markings, the home end was yellow with blue markings! Dominating the ground, to the right of the away end is the West Stand, a two tiered modern structure, that unusually, where most similar stands have executive boxes between the two tiers it had sheet metal, which did look quite odd, and with the bare concrete above for the upper tier, in a way fairly cheap. Completing the picture at Field Mill is the Bishop Street Stand, a small all seated stand that runs about half the length of the pitch, and looks quite lost being centred on the halfway line in the shadow of its more modern counterparts. Unfortunately it hasn’t had the best of care taken of it, as although it isn’t obvious looking at it from a distance, when close up it really is in quite poor condition with a number of broken seats, and a huge hole in its roof. Also, with no backs on the seats, and rather narrow steps, if you sat there you would in fact be leaning back against peoples legs, so it was no wonder this stand was closed for the match!

After having taken enough pictures, I eventually left the ground, stopping off to buy a ticket first and then headed back into town, spending a few hours looking around, and taking time to have a drink in the White Hart Inn.

With time catching up, it was off on the short walk back to the ground, only to be hassled by a jobsworth steward whilst going in, before finding my seat in the North Stand, having chosen to sit with the Rochdale supporters.

The view was good, and with it being unreserved seating, I was able to sit anywhere. Rochdale had travelled in decent numbers, bringing 303 fans which was a bit more than I’d expected, however the home ends did seem very sparse, with a crowd of just 3018 in. As already mentioned, the Bishop Street Stand was closed, and the Quarry Lane End seemed particularly empty with most of the home fans congregating along the side of the pitch in the West Stand.

As the game got started, both teams looked up for it and eager to attack, with Rochdale going close on a number of occasions. Mansfield weren’t ready to lie down though, and as the half wore on they started to put pressure on the visitors, who were let off several times through poor finishing, until in the 40th minute, after a series of corners the home side took the lead through Danny Reet, who hit it home through a crowded area after a poor clearance had fallen at his feet. The goal deflated the visitors, and after the break they really came out looking like a different side, and allowed a poor Mansfield team to totally dominate the match. As the hosts attacked the Quarry Lane End of the ground, it seemed rare that the ball even came back up to where we were sitting, so with the clock running down, when Rochdale finally got their act together and came back at Mansfield it was surprising that they only needed one goal to equalise. As it was it would never come, and despite Blair Sturrock hitting the side netting, and a few late corners, it eventually finished 1-0 to Mansfield, with the result never having been in real doubt.

Despite the frustrating nature of the game, the Rochdale fans remained positive towards their team, and got behind them a fair deal until the very end when the referee blew his whistle, when there seemed to be a number of calls for the managers head. The Mansfield fans however were never quite as positive, with the only real noise coming in protest to their chairman Keith Haslam, so the atmosphere was never great unfortunately.

After leaving the ground and going back into the town briefly, I was soon back at the station waiting on the train back to Nottingham, which despite being late, eventually came, and got us back on time, ready for the train home to the West Midlands.

Overall, it hadn’t been too bad a day, I think I had expected more of the ground, as although it ticked all the boxes so to speak, it didn’t really have that je ne sais quoi that a ground needs to be great. Perhaps it was the small attendance, or the lopsidedness of it, or maybe the attitude of the Nazi stewards, but it wasn’t quite right. On the plus side, there was none of the intimidation factor that many away fans mention, and it certainly wasn’t a bad ground, so along with it being a fairly nice town to visit, I’ll be happy to go back there one of the days, just probably not too soon!

Welcome to Field Mill

Rear of the Quarry Lane End

Rear of the Quarry Lane End and Club Shop

Rear of the West Stand

Rear of the North Stand

Rear of the Bishop Street Stand

The West Stand

The North Stand

The Bishop Street Stand

The Quarry Lane End

The Bishop Street Stand

The Quarry Lane End

The West Stand

Field Mill Panoramic


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